Common Sense Media Polls Finds Fear of Violence Running High

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Common Sense Media Polls Finds Fear of Violence Running High

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Media watchdog group Common Sense Media says parents believe that violent videogames are as much of a contributing factor to real-life violence as easy access to guns.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the Common Sense Media group, perhaps best known to gamers for its enthusiastic support for California's failed effort to legislate the sale of violent videogames to minors, commissioned a study into what parents believe are contributing factors to violence in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, a full three-quarters of the 1050 respondents said that violent videogames contribute to real world violence, putting them neck-and-neck with easy access to guns; what is a bit surprising is that both videogames and guns rank lower than just about everything else on the list.

The highest-rated contributing factor to real-world violence, cited by 93 percent of the survey respondents, is a lack of parental supervision, followed by bullying, which was cited by 92 percent. Real-life crime was listed by 86 percent of parents, followed by violence in television and movies, which came in at 77 percent. The only contributing factor ranked lower than games and guns were "violent toys," which were listed by 64 percent of respondents.

Also interesting is that after seeing video of both, 84 percent of parents said that an advertisement for the M-rated game Hitman: Absolution "is inappropriate to show on TV at a time when children are watching," while only 63 percent said the same thing about the R-rated movie Gangster Squad. 88 percent of respondents said they wanted television networks and the videogame industry to adopt policies similar to those that prevent ads for alcohol being aired "during programs viewed by large numbers of children."

In a letter to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Common Sense Media Founder and CEO James P. Steyer called for a "voluntary moratorium" on ads for violent games and movies when children are likely to be watching, more prominent displays of ratings for games, movies and television and a restriction on preview trailers in theaters that would limit them to the same rating as the movie being shown. But he also made a rather baffling allusion to a connection between the gun and videogame industries, writing, "Common Sense Media recommends that the FTC require the gun industry to explicitly and transparently reveal all product placements and other marketing practices and tie-ins with the videogame industry."

The full results of the latest Common Sense Media market research study are available at commonsensemedia.org.

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This is getting out of hand. It's mind boggling how so many people can be so wrong.

Ok, parental supervision, bullying, fair enough. But games as much as actually having guns? What?

I can understand people being concerned about what kids are being brought up with, especially if parents/whoever aren't around to teach them right from wrong, fantasy from reality (and this is a major problem with every form of media and more or less every problem, so many people are eager to believe thwta they see on TV), but there's things other than games that have a much greater impact, surely.

The reason that people are scared of violence is because you're perpetuating the belief!

The top 3: Bad parenting, bullies and real-life crime. It's not perfect, but it's progress.

Fiction literature is the source of all degenerate behavior. I take that back, it's actually Jazz music. No wait, it's really moving pictures. Oops, I mean comic books. Did I say comics? I meant violent TV shows... wait... uhh Rap music? Maybe not. Hrmm... I guess I can say definitively, I has to be video games. I'm sure about it this time, I have a good feeling. Yeah, video games are certainly to blame for all degenerate behavior...

Should read: Common Sense Media polls find lack of Common Sense running high.

Andy Chalk:
Media watchdog group Common Sense Media says parents believe that violent videogames are as much of a contributing factor to real-life violence as easy access to guns.

Better stock up on videogames before the government decides to take them all away.

Wait, video game product placement of guns? If it's not either Generic Rocket Launchers Inc. or Bolt Action Snipers Co. I don't think they're getting their money's worth. I don't think I could name a specific brand of gun I've used in any games I've played.

... more prominent displays of ratings for games, movies and television and a restriction on preview trailers in theaters that would limit them to the same rating as the movie being shown.

Uhh... they pretty much already do that Mr. Dipshit Letter Writer. For most video game commercials, when it starts, there's a big ass ESRB rating with a loud voice over declaring "Rated _ for _", and typically the rating will be present throughout the commercial in the corner.

Movie trailers already act the way you want them to. You go to the theater to watch some Disney movie, you're going to see trailers for kids movies. You go see some PG-13 action flick, you're going to see trailers for similar films. Go see a horror film, you're going to see horror trailers. It's a whole "if you want to watch this flick, than may we interest you in these flicks?" thing. In other words, BASIC MARKETING 101!!! You are not going to see any motherfucking R rated film advertisements during a fuckin' kids' show, or movie, or ANYTHING, because there's no market for it!!

If only it was easy to change people's minds, but alas we live in a world where it is not. It is equally disheartening to know that many of those that hold such outdated and ignorant views on the video game industry are the ones in the position to actually do something about it. I often wondered if maybe some kind of video game protection movement could be effective in somehow spreading the idea that video games don't cause violence, but considering we still live in a world were many of the older generations still view games as something only children play, such a movement wouldn't be taken seriously in the slightest.

I really hope this dies off soon, otherwise if it keeps going, I don't see any viable way gamers could protect their hobby other than relying on the companies that make them and their bucket loads of money...which hopefully will be enough.

Andy Chalk:

But he also made a rather baffling allusion to a connection between the gun and videogame industries, writing, "Common Sense Media recommends that the FTC require the gun industry to explicitly and transparently reveal all product placements and other marketing practices and tie-ins with the videogame industry."

This is easily the most important part of this story. This guy literally thinks there is a conspiracy going on between the gun industry and the video game industry.

Yet another ignorant group starts blaming things they shouldn't without reason...

And us gamers are in an unfortunate position ourselves, with our image being quite skewed from multiple angles.

Captcha- "Whole Shebang"

I guess you're with me, captcha?

I understand the fear of Zombies is at an all time high. We better take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from Zombies; even though they're at historically low levels.

I really don't like this group because they're idiotically working against themselves. Their website alone has a section where they've assigned their own unofficial ratings to video games, which are determined by users, and then practically hide the actual ESRB rating for the game at the very bottom of the page. Yet they want to stand around and bitch about how the rating system for games is confusing, it's not and going about making up your own that parents won't see in stores isn't helping the situation.

Also what's this nonsense about promotional gun tie-ins? Don't most game companies make up their own near-miss copyright infringement guns to avoid having to pay royalties to makers of said guns? Me thinks these numbskulls need to adjust the tightness of their tinfoil hats.

Hmm parents fear fake violence in wake of high profile real life violence? You don't say. [insert own common sense joke here]

Just because parents believe something does not mean that it is true. Of course this response was likely to come from parents given the recent events and given the fact that parents have a tendency to react emotionally rather than logically when it comes to their children's safety.

To be fair they are pointing out bullying and lack of supervision as well, but really? Games are right up there with access to real guns, but toy guns are the lowest on the list?

Huh, well the majority of people still think that violent games makes people violent in real life, but a surprising large minority doesn't see it that way. Assuming that the vast majority of people are ignorant, this is a major statistical victory for video games!

Actually I don't see what would be bad about not showing 'violent', i.e. mostly M rated games, during more kid friendly movies and TV blocks. These games shouldn't be marked to kids, they are rated M for a reason.

All tie-ins between guns and video games? You mean that one time where a website for a game linked to an actual gun makers website and almost immediately they were blasted for it and took it down? Yeah I think your big list of all gun tie-ins in the history of video games would be about half a page long, at best.

Oh, I'm sorry, did these blame game playing assholes think I gave a shit?

Well, I don't. I don't give a shit. I'm beyond giving a shit now. Go ahead you stupid fucks. Have your guns. Refuse to believe that people can have mental problems all by their fucking selves. See how well that works. Just remember that if you go down this road, blame everything that you don't understand to feel like you did something to prevent this sort of thing, the next time it happens, you've officially lost your right to bitch about it.

Fuck these guys. They don't want to listen to a rational argument, I'm finished coming up with one.

Wait a minute,

They performed research into violent behaviour that pinpointed Lack of Supervision and Bullying as the most likely things to contribute to violence, so to combat this they recommend reducing advertisements of videogames?!?

Where are the letters to Joe Biden asking for more to be done to encourage parental supervision, more focus on successful anti-bullying methods, less glorification of real life crime, censorship of TV and movie violence to children, and ways to restrict a childs access to guns, all of which this report highlighted as larger problems than videogames

This is what happens when you conduct research with a predetermined motive. It discovered 5 problems larger than videogames, but ignores them to focus on their own prejudiced crusade.

Not that I would call it a very scientific report, based solely on parental conjecture and perceived values. An equally scientific report could be done by holding a seance with deceased school shooters asking them why they did it.

Yeah...

I'm not going to take any company called Common Sense Media very seriously.

The very fact that they feel the need to call themselves that shows that they're clearly lacking it. If you ever need to point out that you have common sense then you're obviously lacking it.

It's called common sense for a reason, you're supposed to have it, that's normal.

This is the equivalent of calling yourself "Totally Not Deceiving You Media", with the slogan "We never lie! For real! We promise!".

Wow all these misdirected posts. Maybe if the article had started with the top three, then worked their way down the list, instead of putting the sensational information on the top and squeezing the rest into the middle right after most people stop reading and start writing angry posts?

But I guess I really shouldn't be telling yall how to do your jobs since it's just about the hits amirite

Andy Chalk:
Unsurprisingly, a full three-quarters of the 1050 respondents said that violent videogames contribute to real world violence, putting them neck-and-neck with easy access to guns; what is a bit surprising is that both videogames and guns rank lower than just about everything else on the list.

Now, I'm not an expert, but isn't a group of 1050 way too little for a country as huge and as varied in both beliefs and culture as USA? As far as I know, USA isn't a one big happy, united family where everyone agrees with each other. Considering the massive area that needs to be covered in order to be able to present that this data applies to the entire country, this is far too little. If this study is supposed to represent the opinions of parents in a certain state, then it'd be fine, but they claim it to be nationwide. It kind of feels dishonest.

Kuredan:
Fiction literature is the source of all degenerate behavior. I take that back, it's actually Jazz music. No wait, it's really moving pictures. Oops, I mean comic books. Did I say comics? I meant violent TV shows... wait... uhh Rap music? Maybe not. Hrmm... I guess I can say definitively, I has to be video games. I'm sure about it this time, I have a good feeling. Yeah, video games are certainly to blame for all degenerate behavior...

you forgot dungeons and dragons in your list. that was a huge one in the 80's blamed for everything from human sacrifice to driving people insane

something horrible and horrific happens and people want something to blame, anything at all they can hold up and say "this causes it". they need something simple they can latch on to so they can do something.. anything so they dont feel helpless, they need a boogeyman to blame for it.

video games are that latest boogeymen for them, as were movies, tv shows, comics, rock music, etc the list goes on and on.. there is no simple one size fits all answer as to why these people do this. each case needs to be looked at individually and to see what went wrong. was the person bullied? was there a history of mental illness and easy access to firearms?

weirdguy:
Wow all these misdirected posts. Maybe if the article had started with the top three, then worked their way down the list, instead of putting the sensational information on the top and squeezing the rest into the middle right after most people stop reading and start writing angry posts?

But I guess I really shouldn't be telling yall how to do your jobs since it's just about the hits amirite

Yeah, because why would a videogame culture based site want to focus on the videogame part of the story? And all those posts that do actually acknowledge the whole article are clearly misdirected.

For the most part, i don't disagree with their suggestions, even if their source data is most likely skewed (who did they poll, where were the people from that were polled, how were the questions on said pole framed? See P&T's bullshit for a good example on how poling questions can be phrased to get the answers you want)

But, being in australia, i am unsure on the advertising practices and regulations in the US.

In Australia, the only game advertisements i remember seeing on TV are WoW, CoD, Battlefield, Halo, and GoW. I honestly can't remember seeing any others, and i saw them during prime time. That being said, i am not often in front of the TV at any other time besides 2am, where there is only infomercials as ads.

Anyways, In Australia, a trailer for a film is not rated as what the film will be rated. It is rated on it's own based on the content of the trailer. Most of the time, the film has not been rated yet, allowing for all sorts of screening shenanigans.

I saw the trailer for killing them softly at a PG film for instance... just one example, and i don't think this is a good idea personally. But that's this country.

Maybe the US should start making age restrictions on media legally enforceable as they are here... might be a good idea, just to discourage people from buying inappropriate content for small children. I dunno, just speculating.

But... tie ins with real gun makers? LOLOLOL... nothing else to say on that.

They made some common sense advise to the distribution of violent media, which is fine, but they do seem to have an agenda, which is not.

This is not at all surprising. The mass media is absolutely set on making people afraid of all sorts of things in order to further their agendas. The drug wars, the wars over seas, restrictions on games, even regular political elections. All of these are pushed along by fearmongers - if you legalize drugs, EVERYONE WILL BE ON HEROIN! If you don't bomb the middle east, THE TERRORISTS WILL MURDER YOUR KIDS. If you don't ban violent games, KIDS WILL EMULATE GRAND THEFT AUTO IN REAL LIFE!

The same with politics. Vote for me, even though I have bailed on many of my promises and virtually am indistinguishable from my predecessor, because OOH SCARY LOOK HOW CRAZY/SOCIALIST MY OPPONENT IS! It's all about fear - nothing is positive anymore. The media CANNOT let a tragedy go to waste, and will make as many people as scared as possible so they will go along with a fearmonger's agenda.

Ah yes, the very ironically named "Common Sense Media." Ironic because between the lot of of 'em they have about as much common sense as a conspiracy theorist on crack. _

It is mid boggling that news people cannot fact check, and cannot stop glorifying the killers over the victims. welcome to the world of political spin and media manufactured hype.

just video games are new scapegoat over marylin mansion and even tho were have tons of data showing that neither movies or video games or books have any more or less propencity to cause violence and statistically speaking books lead i think both movies and video games by far when you look at the actual numbers, add to that these kids links to games some of them were very weak to say the least and any amount of actual looking at the "facts" as they are there would have been alot more questioning of many of the statements that are floating around.

facts like prescription drugs are the leading killer of people in this country, far leading baseball bats involved in violence, and then guns. and i am sure the majority of all violence is more along the lines if crimes of passion or crimes of money and not random asshats looking to go out in a blaze of glory by shooting innocent children.

and the acts of one random psychopath and some copycat wannabees are pushing a debate fueled by the media and your beloved politicians, on banning video games banning guns and blaming everyone but the media for the glorifying the killers in these things.

Kuredan:
Fiction literature is the source of all degenerate behavior. I take that back, it's actually Jazz music. No wait, it's really moving pictures. Oops, I mean comic books. Did I say comics? I meant violent TV shows... wait... uhh Rap music? Maybe not. Hrmm... I guess I can say definitively, I has to be video games. I'm sure about it this time, I have a good feeling. Yeah, video games are certainly to blame for all degenerate behavior...

There weren't any drive-by shootings before the invention of the horseless carriage. Coincidence?

ERMEGERD, These people think video games cause violence!?

Well, I'm sorry, I didn't realize. I'll just go burn down my local Gamestop and stop playing all games with violence in them. Damn, I really wanted to know how Bastion ended.

Alright, everyone, I guess this is it. Video games have been fun and all, but it's time to burn 'em all. Because these people's opinions have an effect on us and the entertainment we like.

[/obvioussarcasmisobvious,modspleaserealizeiwasmakingapointanddon'tflagthisreplyasspam]

EDIT: Also, "common sense" media. Yes.

And yet, no mention of the glorification and overexposure of such tragedies on the news media?

Seriously, those fucking 24/7 TV News channels love violence - massacres and such are a ratings gift for them, and they'll pontificate over the causes and whatnot, meanwhile repeatedly showing footage, and exploiting victims for comment.

Aardvaarkman:
And yet, no mention of the glorification and overexposure of such tragedies on the news media?

Seriously, those fucking 24/7 TV News channels love violence - massacres and such are a ratings gift for them, and they'll pontificate over the causes and whatnot, meanwhile repeatedly showing footage, and exploiting victims for comment.

There's some people out there who send flowers and show sympathy/empathy to the victims that are alive and need the support, but overall there's a lot of work to be done. It seems sometimes that it takes a tragedy to make people actually care for each other and make life a happier place, albeit in the shadow of a painful situation.

I cannot stand the 24/7 news. I completely feel made to believe that if I leave my house, I'll wander through a wasteland of murders, horrific accidents, rapes, and that any second evil people will try to blow me up. That shit does in fact occur, but they go out of their way to sensationalize and drill the evils of the world into our consciousness. We could do so many constructive and helpful things with a 24/7 information channel, but that probably wouldn't get ratings and contribute to the circle of cash wank. The sad thing is that if the "VIOLENCE, you're not safe!" approach is what gets the ratings they want, then clearly that's what the people are eager to hear about. People.

(Sorry! This was a double post due to my mistake of hitting quote instead of edit and failing to catch that mistake.)

soren7550:

... more prominent displays of ratings for games, movies and television and a restriction on preview trailers in theaters that would limit them to the same rating as the movie being shown.

Uhh... they pretty much already do that Mr. Dipshit Letter Writer. For most video game commercials, when it starts, there's a big ass ESRB rating with a loud voice over declaring "Rated _ for _", and typically the rating will be present throughout the commercial in the corner.

Movie trailers already act the way you want them to. You go to the theater to watch some Disney movie, you're going to see trailers for kids movies. You go see some PG-13 action flick, you're going to see trailers for similar films. Go see a horror film, you're going to see horror trailers. It's a whole "if you want to watch this flick, than may we interest you in these flicks?" thing. In other words, BASIC MARKETING 101!!! You are not going to see any motherfucking R rated film advertisements during a fuckin' kids' show, or movie, or ANYTHING, because there's no market for it!!

Incorrect, that may seem like common sense, but projectionists generally don't take Marketing 101 classes. During the last summer I watched G-Rated animated movies with kids in my family and a field trip I chaperoned. I remember watching ads for HBO programs including the very non kid friendly Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones that preceded the trailers and immediately remarking to my company how inappropriate it was. Of course there are restrictions on on what can be shown in the ads themselves such as nudity on graphic violence but a lot of that was teased. Also during the previews of the PG-13 Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises there were ads for the M-Rated Max Payne 3.

Can we once not have knee jerk reactions or yellow journalist spins to every cause celebre? Nowhere on the articles on Common Sense Media's website does it advocate for censorship or come to the conclusion that they believe that media is to blame. The link found in "the Common Sense Media group, perhaps best known to gamers for its enthusiastic support for California's failed effort to legislate the sale of violent videogames to minors" presents nothing that proves that Common Sense Media, a website made up of user submitted content supports such a ban.

In fact on Common Sense Media's Mission Page, the first thing you see is this:

Common Sense Media:
Our 10 Beliefs

1. We believe in media sanity, not censorship.

To those who actually read the articles let alone the survey reports, that's all misinformation. All Common Sense Media did was publish the reports of two surveys they held. The recent one showing that most parents believe that violent media influences violent behavior and another one showing that most parents support a law restricting the sale of M-Rated games to minors. I trusted The Escapist for fact based critical video game related news, but not any more. The Escapist should be ashamed for it's Faux News style sensationalist headlines, scapegoating, and spin. I guess the only gaming news source I can trust now is the Penny Arcade Report.

But of course it's easier to shift blame and attack a certain group than to look at things reasonably right? It's also too tempting to make jibes at a a seemingly ironic name for a group that advocates parental involvement and personal responsibility.

I frequent Common Sense Media a lot, and find it to be a valuable resource. This may seem extremely evil, lazy, or shocking to those of you who are young but not everyone responsible for children has enough time (or a sanity threshold) to screen every piece of media for a child. And you can't just sit and think that "Oh it's on Nick or the Disney Channel it should be age appropriate" because you can not believe the inane shit those networks get away with from racist caricatures that belong in the 50's to shallow messages of vanity on popular tween shows like Jessie and Shake It Up. Furthermore, it's not just great for finding out information about what's appropriate for children but other adults. As a guy who sat through 157 uncomfortable minutes of Lust, Caution with his parents it's great to know what you're walking into.

I bet all my money i hawe on me at this time that 90% of those who said that wideo games ar the ones to blame for shootouts(and not sub-relligious nut jobs) hawent actually played anything more sofisticated than solitare or tetris... I can say that i realley hate Justin Biebers music because i hawe listened 2 disks from a to z at friends girlfreinds house and I hate him... They hawe no right to unjustley blame something that is out of theyre level of comprehension

Oddly enough, the United States has cut their violent crime rate in half over the last twenty years (great job by the way!) So violent crime goes down and fear of violent crime goes up? It's also interesting that nobody wants to bring up the drastic crime drop, apparently that's not newsworthy.

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