President Obama Asks for Research Into Game Violence

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j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Fappy:

I have absolutely no problem with people doing legitimate research regarding video games and it's affect on mental health, but I don't feel it should be funded by federal taxes and I am disappointed that it's existence is basically being fueled by blind fear.

If you want research done without bias or preconception, tax-funded research is the way to go. If you want proof- every single government funded study on drugs done here in the UK has resulted in the scientists involved arguing that some, if not most, drugs need to be legalised. The government subsequently chose to ignore them, but that's neither here nor there. Tax funded research has accountability.

You know who funds most private research? Companies with an axe to grind, or an agenda to promote. Climate change research done by oil companies. The effects of medication research done by pharmaceutical companies. The research done thus far on vidoegames has largely been done by private companies, and therefore it has mostly been highly suspect as a result. If a group with a name like Mums For A More Moral America (or similar vapid title) come out with a study on games and violence, the bias is already there for all to see. A tax-funded study at least has the chance for accountability, for even-handedness, and therefore for actual conclusive results.

And it's not as if research is all that expensive. America is currently still fighting two land-wars in the Middle East, and trading with most of the known world. You can afford one scientific study.

This is my contention as well.

*drops 2 cents into a jar*
President Obama has a laundry list of Exc. Orders he wants to initiate, but he also wants credible and "neutral" evidence he can point to for backup. Almost every study regard video games and violence has had some sort of bias accusation throw at it and it's findings deems "inconclusive" or refutable in some way, but if anyone has accused the CDC of biased research, I don't know of it (if I'm wrong, evidential correction would be appreciated).

That's all I got. :P

I think it would be honest to do the same research with movies/tv shows, paintings, comic and books... Though video game has something that no other form of entertainment has, interactive immersion, that alone means games do deserve a serious research to end the debate once and for all.

"We don't benefit from ignorance. We don't benefit from not knowing the science on this epidemic of violence."

Legitimate question: What epidemic of violence?
I thought youth violence is some of the lowest it's been in the last seventy years.

Mr. President I'd like to direct your attention to Jim Sterling's Jimquisition video on the subject.
Also video games have a fucking rating system in North America and in other regions so young minds shouldn't even be exposed to excessively violent video games unless they have irresponsible goddamn parents, so why is this still a bloody issue???

Does this really have to happen every time someone under the age of 20 goes on a rampage? Never seems to be looked into when someone older goes off the deep end.

Even if violent video games increase non-trivial violent tendencies in children, Mature games are already being policed. I work for a retail store that sells video games and we're required to check IDs and obtain parental permission when little Timmy brings Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty up to the counter, as well as give parents of young children a heads-up on the content, generally by just reading why the game's rated M, which the parent/guardian could easily do on their own. That said, how many people under the age of 10 do you think I've seen walk out of the store with some of the most hardcore Mature-rated games of all time? And do note that this is a policy held by every major retailer I've worked for - if you never encountered it, they were supposed to do it and just couldn't be bothered. The point is that parents obviously don't care, so why should the government?

jsims85013@gmail.com:
if anyone has accused the CDC of biased research, I don't know of it

Do you mean 'anyone' as in other scientists/science organisations or as in 'everyone, including batshit conspiracy theorists'?

The CDC has been accused of conducting government coverups by the tinfoil beanie brigade too many times to bother counting.

Not being funny, but maybe it is actually something to do with the availability of guns http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States

AC10:

"We don't benefit from ignorance. We don't benefit from not knowing the science on this epidemic of violence."

Legitimate question: What epidemic of violence?
I thought youth violence is some of the lowest it's been in the last seventy years.

Going by these stats, you appear to be correct--violent crime would appear to be decreasing. That being said, going by the FBI numbers, there are still over 1.2 million violent crimes committed per year (as of 2011, at least) and homicide is still the leading cause of death for black males age 15-34 and second-leading cause of death for all males age 15-24 (albeit in 2008--the most recent data they have available), I'd still argue it's an issue (and worth figuring out if/how we can reduce the number of people being hurt or killed).

...strangely(?), wikipedia seems to offer a very different picture, although I honestly cannot find where they're getting their numbers from, exactly (as I failed to locate any stats dating back to 1960 on the Bureau of Justice Statistics site.

Sheo_Dagana:
Even if violent video games increase non-trivial violent tendencies in children, Mature games are already being policed. ... The point is that parents obviously don't care, so why should the government?

If parents don't care, that's their own (and their kid's) issue. If video games do/can have negative effects on children, is it not in all of our best interest to know it, though? If we don't do the research, we can't know, one way or the other.

Assault rifles ban should be completely unquestioned, assault rifles were designed as an ultimate all purpose killing machine and citizens (or police really) shouldn't have access to them. The video game violence research will definitely be unbiased because they don't have an agenda, they don't want either outcome (proving or disproving a link) they only want look into it. Don't know about those universal background checks though...

It's not games, it's boys. It's masculine culture in America. Not a single one of these shootings were perpetrated by a girl, but no one ever remarks that it is ONLY males that are committing all this violence. Instead media comments on kids killing kids. No, it's BOYS killing kids. What is it about our idea of masculinity and how "Real Men" are to be that causes this?

Hey I could be wrong here but uhm...haven't there been numerous studies about video games and violence before hand? Haven't there been relatively long studies too about prolonged exposure as well?

Agow95:
You know what? I'm kinda glad this is happening, because we all know that games do not cause violence, and this can be an official report to tell the ignorant why they are wrong.

I feel the same way. I can't quote or point out any studies but I know there have been some. Maybe something this mainstream will finally shut the more stubborn people up (although we know THAT won't happen).

I think I shall partially withhold judgement until I see where the funding for these studies go. And withhold the rest of my judgement until I see the results. We all know that some of the so-called researchers who ply similar studies use questionable methodology, even if they don't straight-out gear their studies towards achieving particular conclusions. I hope that whatever the result of this initiative, we can do better than that.

I hope. But I'm not confident.

Why are we even researching this? I've been playing violent video games and watching violent movies since I was 5. 17 years later after being exposed to the same, I haven't committed one violent crime. Period. I am also not desensitized to violence, or at least dead people. One time my summer job involved going to the Medical Examiner's and they had a dead guy out for an autopsy. I felt sick and I most defiantly did not want to be anywhere near that.

Now, to expand from the personal story. How many people buy violent video games? A lot. How many tragic shootings are there? Not nearly as many.

Again, there are much bigger worries than restricting what people can buy to use and defend themselves with and researching a non-issue.

I've got no issue with this. Not like we have anything to hide, video games have no unique impact on violent development. I do however hope that age certificates now somehow become a staple of law and not a simple guideline like they are now, as a result of this. Then the whole "violent video games are bad" argument would become mute, since the children who shouldn't be playing them in the first place, won't be playing them.

TL;DR
I'm glad Obama is covering his bases and I'm confident nothing negative will come of this.

Good. Do your studies!
One of two things will happen.

1) They'll discover that video games aren't a major cause of violence in young minds and it's not worth going any further with.

2) Video games will be seen as a means of insighting violence in young adults (and anyone else) so ratings for video games will become stricter. As in some games with be rated R18, which I agree with. That Call of Duty game where you gun down civilians.... Rate it R18. The only reason they didn't was because the younger generation was the target audience.

I have faith in Obama. He's may not be the president of MY country but he is the president of perhaps the most influential country when it comes to the media.

I think we're becoming too desensitised. If a game has the stomping on zombie heads R18! If you gun down innocent civilians R18. If you kill aliens with guns that make the noise 'pew pew pew' give it a less harsh rating, because we all know Halo isn't responsible for any of this. No one practised a massacre by killing people on Halo!

I have faith that this examination into Violence in video games with only be positive. Maybe it should be looked into. Maybe it's just a fluff to passify all those that claim it is video games to blame for all our troubles.

And would harsher rating on video games really be a bad thing? I know that when I finally have kids (some fifteen years from now :P..... that makes me 20!) I don't want my children playing a game where they stick their thumb into a victim's bullet hole (Far Cry 3) or watch a man's eye be pulled out with a corkscrew (Call of Duty) or place glass in a man's mouth and punch him (Call of Duty Again).

((On a side note: Obama's doing something about guns.... Good! Suck it RTA you ignorant f***))

Well shit. How long do you reckon we have?

In all honesty though, with something like the CDC, it has a fifty fifty chance of being either an honest, complete, unbiased study, or a load of graphs that basically say "Videogames cause violence because fuck you, we needed a scapegoat and seeming as nobody gives a shit, you'll do".

I don't need to say which one of those would be the right thing to do, but we all know how many bullshit studies there's been before carried out in such a way as to actively suggest a link no matter the actual meaning of the results.

I think this is great, and gamers should be embracing it to see once and for all if the effects of violent video games is there or not. People can spout "hurr durr, i play violent video games all the time and IM not violent" well great, but thats not empirical evidence.

And as talked about in this Cracked article by Robert Brockway (I know its Cracked, but its a great piece of witing), the political response is pretty standard compared to other attacks on media.

So lets just see how this plays out.

The research is actually to our benefit unless the research firm's statistical analysis is biased towards violent outcomes. However, a bias in that regard should be fairly easy to spot if someone looks at the process by which the firm arrived at the conclusion along with the data. The unfortunate thing is that this wont stop people from pointing fingers at video games. -_-;

EGtodd09:
Assault rifles ban should be completely unquestioned, assault rifles were designed as an ultimate all purpose killing machine and citizens (or police really) shouldn't have access to them. The video game violence research will definitely be unbiased because they don't have an agenda, they don't want either outcome (proving or disproving a link) they only want look into it. Don't know about those universal background checks though...

I'm still rolling around laughing whenever someone says assault weapons ban. Can we just call it what it is? Firearm Attachments ban maybe?

I really hope publishers take notice of this. I am all for shooting games and simple minded fun. But some games take marketing in the wrong direction (we have seen the shock ads before). Focusing on the gore, the 'fun' in murdering a person etc etc. If we want games to be taken seriously, we (publishers, marketers and gamers) have to present it as serious. And not take it to extremes. A study would be welcome [assuming] it would reflect the truths of the industry.

I think this is awesome. More studies on this subject are welcome and necessary. Now, I also think the amount of money thrown at this entire project is laughable. The studies should also fall under the ability for third parties to corroborate the findings and check the work done. Not for nothing, while the CDC does fine work, they are are still paid by a government who's members have a vested interest in finding a strong connection to video games and violence (tax revenue).

Good on him though. It's rare, but he does occasionally do something I agree with. He is about on par with the laughably infamous George W Bush by my count, though he is ultimately far more likable than that jackass ever was.

You know what? I'm OK with this. This is what science is about. We don't really know how things work. So we test. And then we test again later to see if it's changed. And later again. And of a 23 step plan, only one of them involves video games, this sounds like a plan that was made with all the factors in mind (or at least as many as they could get).

The thing that really gets me is when politicians and moral entrepreneurs cling to the violent video game argument like a damned magic bullet. And I don't think this is the case. Research away guys, I'm confident you won't find anything that links video games with real violence.

Really isn't that big a deal; the biggest deal I can think of is that they either come out with RIDICULOUSLY unbiased results, or that it could be inconclusive and be seen as a 'waste' of public spending.

I am honestly surprised how little knee-jerking there is in this thread. Usually when a news story like this pops up, people immediately jump out and start screaming "Waste of money!" and "So pointless!" and all sorts of things that just devalue the topic that we should be discussing. Good job guys, you're actually trying to see both sides of the argument here.

Frankly, so long as these studies will be done with as little bias as possible, and with more stringent methedoligies, I will be very interested in what they will find. There is no solid evidence one way or the other as to how video games, or any violent media for that matter, affect people, whether positively or negatively. Like it or not, video games and media in general have an affect on our populace, and while they will never be causatory, they may certainly have some some of correlatory effect on people.

I recently felt as though the Aussie Government had a few screws loose when they legalized religious based hate speech (or right to be dicks to 'sinners', i.e. everybody), but it's reassuring to know that when the biggest dogs do the most stupidest things to get the nanny goats off their asses.

How many times have they done this "research" to only end up with pointless information that sets them straight back at square one? If you want to resolve gun violence, do something about the guns.
I'm not usually one for conspiracy theories, but if the games industry was lining their pockets instead of the NRA we might see this sort of crap unfold differently.

Can anyone say "appeasing the asswipes"?

cerebus23:
17 trillion in debt, social security and medicare going bankrupt to the tune of 4 or 5 trillion dollars, the midwest aquifer going bone dry in the next 30 years, and our government printing money like it is paper, which is darn close to being.

but spending money to study video games and to ban guns that are already illegal in this nation. yep yep we sure do have our priorities straight.

Umm sorry to burst your insane little bubble but Obama is not trying to ban anything that is already illegal. The assault rifle ban wore off sometime around 2004 and it has been legal to buy them every since. Obama wants to reintroduce the ban as well as limit magazine capacity and other much needed regulations. A lot of the regulations he is trying to introduce and very much needed to help reduce violent crimes and limit access to firearms.

MrHide-Patten:

How many times have they done this "research" to only end up with pointless information that sets them straight back at square one? If you want to resolve gun violence, do something about the guns.

The thing is it cant be done. Due to the American constitution they really cant do anything meaningful about guns. There only solution is to wait it out until all the gun nuts kill each other off.

The problem with this issue is that no one will ever believe a result that doesn't support their worldview... like any "study" on a controversial topic ever. Gamers will never believe, even if all the government and independent studies showed it that their favorite toy has any long-lasting effect on mental health (I'm not saying they do, I'm just saying it as a hypothetical). Conversely, people who are dead set on blaming games will never believe any study that says the opposite, that they have no effect.

As far as I know, there is no real serious push to ban such video games, only to stop the sale of them to minors (which is already done by the industry for the most part). As far as I'm concerned, a push to decrease the number of boring gritty unrealistic "realistic" military shooters is just fine with me. Hell, I'd be fine with fantasy games that have me killing monsters instead of killing hundreds of bandits/"bad guys" that end up being 100x the non-bad guy population. Video games before Half-Life weren't so bad were they?

You know, I'm actually kind of happy about this. Up until now basically all the studies have been done by groups with an agenda, so it'll be nice to have one done by someone that's A) Somewhat neutral, and B) Actually has some authority.

If violent video games do have a direct correlation between them and violent behavior than violent crimes would be up dramatically concideing with their explosion on the gaming scene, since violent crimes are actually markedly down doing the increase of popularity of the fps shooter, there clearly is zero link between video games and violent behavior, in so much that they cause people to behave psychotically.

lets get over it. and if any parent or grandparent buys into this b.s. please for the love of god remind them what their politicans and media did to their rock and roll, and jazz music, and movies, and books, because psychos suprise read and do stuff within society and like some things.

The problem with this, is that there is absolutely no guarantee it will be non-biased.

Good, damn near every study into the subject has had some sort of flaw which prevented it from being widely accepted. The most common problems were clear study bias, inconclusive results, and flawed methodology. If we can finally prove this conclusively, then maybe we can finally stop using games as a scapegoat (I said maybe, not likely).

Its not about video games, its about studying gun violence.

The mention of video games is just a political thing.

EGtodd09:
Assault rifles ban should be completely unquestioned, assault rifles were designed as an ultimate all purpose killing machine and citizens (or police really) shouldn't have access to them. The video game violence research will definitely be unbiased because they don't have an agenda, they don't want either outcome (proving or disproving a link) they only want look into it. Don't know about those universal background checks though...

On the contrary, an "assault" rifle ban is the most questionable part. If it were focused on things like magazine capacity and rate of fire it would make sense, but the definition of what is or isn't an "assault rifle/weapon" always ends up being a box-ticking exercise of irrelevant details like bayonet lugs (is there a bayonetting problem that needs to be addressed?), flash hiders (are mass-murderers going to be deterred or stopped by impairing their night vision) and pistol grips (??).

The result is to waste everyone's time and money fucking with people who own rifles that look scary or have military pedigree, but ignore countless other weapons with almost identical capabilities.

Cade Aponte:
Science has repeatedly shown that video games do not contribute in any non-trivial way to real violence. This shouldn't worry any gamer.

You know what worries me? That decisions will be made despite science.

But more to the point, that elected officials are spending money on this while there is a Congressional ban on research into firearms of almost any kind. What research is done on the government dime cannot be publicised, ostensibly because they don't want to prejudice people against firearms with facts or statistics.

This is not a healthy response.

Fappy:

DVS BSTrD:

Fappy:
I really wish our elected officials didn't throw our money around like this -_-

Then what would they waste it on?
Education? Healthcare? Disaster relief?

I think we need to fix the education system before we dump more money into it :(

Though, I suppose you'd need to dump money into it to fix it. Conundrum!

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Assault weapons ban? Fucking finally....

Fappy:
I really wish our elected officials didn't throw our money around like this -_-

Into funding actual research into the psychological effects of violent videogames, without resorting to hysterical bullshit and preconceived biases? This to me sounds like Obama and Biden are keeping as open a mind as it is possible to in the current situation, and for that at least, they should be applauded. If this were the Republicans in charge, they wouldn't even have bothered with research, they'd have just gone straight into the blame game.

Just because someone else would have handled the situation worse doesn't make them anymore right. It's just politics. They're doing it to look good. None of them actually give a fuck about what the research will find.

EDIT: More to the point they are trying to take some heat off of the gun supporters because they're pissing too many people off. Research like this also improves the parent vote. Think of the children!

Ah, correct me if I'm wrong though but Obama is already serving his second term. So no matter what he does he's not going to stay in the white house. He's only got eight years and next election he's used them up. Really he doesn't have to worry about votes anymore. He could go tap dance on the Lincoln memorial and nobody would care. Unless he does something so illegal as to be impeached for it he's fine.

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