Majority of Americans Believe Games Contribute to Violence

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Majority of Americans Believe Games Contribute to Violence

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A new Harris Poll has found that 58 percent of Americans believe there is a connection between videogames and violent behavior in teenagers.

It was heartening to hear U.S. Vice President Joe Biden insist that the government wasn't reflexively pointing fingers at videogames in the wake of the Sandy Hook mass murder, but a lot of people expressed dismay at the mere presence of videogames in the conversation. Why, they asked, are we talking about videogames when guns, violence and mental health are the obvious issues?

The findings of a recent Harris Poll may offer some insight into the situation, and why games are likely to remain a hot topic for some time to come. Despite years of research finding zero correlation between the two, a survey of 2278 Americans found that 58 percent believe videogames contribute to real-life violent behavior in teenagers. Furthermore, a whopping 47 percent said they are not at all confident that ESRB ratings will "keep mature games out of the reach of kids," yet 38 percent claimed they knew nothing about videogame ratings and 33 percent said they just let their kids play whatever they want.

"The findings underscore the lack of awareness Americans have about the videogame rating system, as well as the confusion in the market," Harris Poll President Mike de Vere said. "They also factor into a larger discussion playing out across our country and on a political stage around how violent games impact our youth, with President Obama recently announcing his desire to look into ways to fund research examining the impact of violent video games on children."

Respondents also expressed greater confidence in the MPAA rating system to protect children from mature content than ESRB ratings, 49 percent to 32 percent, despite the FTC consistently finding that ESRB ratings are adhered to far more stringently than any other media rating system in North America.

Source: GamesBeat

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A majority of Americans that are polled for this shit are idiots too, nothing surprising there. This shit is really apparent when you account for the public's view and this:

Respondents also expressed greater confidence in the MPAA rating system to protect children from mature content than ESRB ratings, 49 percent to 32 percent, despite the FTC consistently finding that ESRB ratings are adhered to far more stringently than any other media rating system in North America.

I really do hate people sometimes...

To be fair, I don't think that ESRB ratings keep mature games away from kids (not that providing content ratings is a bad idea, it just doesn't work).

I know battlefield convinced me that I needed an Rocket Propelled Grenade for personal safety. Thanks to the NRA though I was able to get one fairly cheap, now if anyone steps on my land and I don't like it I can blow up them and the piece of my land they tainted with their presence.

I'd of totally been on the fence about getting an RPG if it wasn't for Battlefield, it let me practice using one, and get a feel for it. So now I can feel confident about hitting something with it with out having to waste lots of ammo practicing with it.

RPG ammo is expensive but Battlefield saved me a lot of money by letting me trained in it's perfectly simulated virtual killing environment.

I understand that they've extrapolated the data to say this, however 2278 out of 3 hundred million (rounded to nearest hundred million) is not really a good test in my eyes. Really, all you've said is that 58% of the 2278 Americans are idiots.

So we killed two birds with one stone by also using this poll to show American stupidity. Thanks. I'm sure people were in the dark about the common americans observance and intelligence.

Well spank my ass and call me Green Day,
because I wanna be a mi-nor-it-y.

yes, and a majority of Americans think video games are more dangerous than guns. People don't know what they're talking about.

Thunderous Cacophony:
To be fair, I don't think that ESRB ratings keep mature games away from kids (not that providing content ratings is a bad idea, it just doesn't work).

They don't, but that's not the failing of the industry or the retailers. The study itself confirms this. A third of people just let kids play whatever they want.

Wonder why movies arent blamed any more? I think movies have more violence now with a lower certificate. Even twilight had wolves biting off heads. Wolverine was stabbing the shit out of people in X2. Even Indy Raiders of the Lost Ark is rated a 12 cert and that has a nazi having his face melted off.

But then i also think if gaming really was an issue with violence, there would be way more proof out there. As in many more deaths by gamers. Thousands of them.

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I know most of it is pretty stupid, but what gets me especially is the 47% said they're not confident the ESRB will keep them out of the reach of kids. Assuming that some of these people surveyed were parents, it's you that are ignoring these ratings and getting them for kids!

Sadly, this is not a response that would particularly surprise me; we have a tremendous ability as a nation to look for simple solutions to complex problems, especially in the face of emotional urgency (see the "War on Terror", among other things.) But I have to wonder exactly what questions were asked and how the polling pool was selected, and I'd also like to know how those cited statistics overlap (do the people who don't know about the ESRB rating system correlate to the ones who think it doesn't work, etc.)

Andy Chalk:
Furthermore, a whopping 47 percent said they are not at all confident that ESRB ratings will "keep mature games out of the reach of kids," yet 38 percent claimed they knew nothing about videogame ratings and 33 percent said they just let their kids play whatever they want.

Translation: "I can't be arsed parenting my own children, make the government do it."

america. thank you for giving me a laugh each and every day

a majority of Americans also believe in angels. the Majority is allowed to believe things that been proven to be false. it will not make them right though.

This is so sad I won't do a Hitman joke.

"The best argument against democracy is a 5-minute conversation with the average voter."

another piece of evidence showing the majority of america is stupid

Thunderous Cacophony:
To be fair, I don't think that ESRB ratings keep mature games away from kids (not that providing content ratings is a bad idea, it just doesn't work).

Of course not, but it's not a failing of the rating system. It's failing of those that don't bother to pay any attention to it.

Personal responsibility does not exist in 'Merica. It's always someone else's fault. Kid shoots up a school because he's tormented by bullies or has a mental condition and isn't treated? Video Games. Kid easily acquired an assault rifle? Surely it's video games and not gun laws. It's completely backwards.

The fact that we all spend quite a lot of time on The Escapist might be why we find this so surprising. We're surrounded by people who hold similar, if differing on the small stuff, views. We only really hear the sorts of things we ourselves will entertain, and considering the nature of the site, it's not often against our chosen medium. Offline I know a lot of people who at least seriously entertain, if not completely hold to, the idea that games cause violence and that's just in England; we still have a long way to go it seems.

The media is obviously winning.

Well, that's new. I never thought a topic on a discussion forum could smell of malt shakes and old jukeboxes...

Yeeaah. I'm not surprised. Gaming is still a young medium. What we need is for some of us to make it to Congress or the Parliament (if you're Canadian) and start changing outlooks there. Most gamers are anywhere between 25 to 35 years old, nowadays, with a sizable few hailing from even earlier in the medium's history. Little by little, we're integrating the political system.

It'll take time, but this will eventually fade away the same way the outcry against Rock music faded away.

Far more americans believe in far dumber things, 58% is surprisingly low considering the major news networks (Not just Fox) continue to talk down to gamers and speak like games are still a kids toy.

The worst part of this article is the part where the parents rip on the ESRB, ignorance of studies relating to video game violence is one thing but the fact that basically all kids with M games were supplied by their parents really gets me.

I was at a Gamestop recently, and there was a mother and a boy, I am not good at guessing ages but my guess is that he was single digits of age. He and his mom walked in to preorder what ever Call of Duty was coming out at the time.

I was ten when I first played an M game, it was at my older brother's friends house and it was GTAIII. The violence really bothered me, I had a couple nightmares and I didn't play another M game until I was a teenager. This is the only scenario I can think of where a kid could play an M game without their parent's approval. I knew I wasn't supposed to play the game and I learned my lesson. So yes, some kids can play M games without their parent's knowledge. However, that applies to anything, minors always break the rules, its part of childhood. I haven't met a parent who blames the beer companies for not regulating beer properly when their son comes home from a highschool party drunk. Probably because the parents have the same beer in their fridge

I think this way of thinking will die with any pre-80's generation. Parents who play the violent games will know they aren't appropriate for their kids and therefore will be less likely to give them to them. The current generation of parents wants the digital babysitter of video gaming without researching who they are inviting in to their home.

MiskWisk:
I understand that they've extrapolated the data to say this, however 2278 out of 3 hundred million (rounded to nearest hundred million) is not really a good test in my eyes. Really, all you've said is that 58% of the 2278 Americans are idiots.

Totally agree.

However with that small poll in mind, what I get out of these findings is that parents are still uninformed about content in games, despite measures such as the ESRB ratings system. Is there a way that we (or the games industry) can put together a massive education initiative for this very purpose? At this point, I think that's the best option we've got.

IamLEAM1983:
Well, that's new. I never thought a topic on a discussion forum could smell of malt shakes and old jukeboxes...

Yeeaah. I'm not surprised. Gaming is still a young medium. What we need is for some of us to make it to Congress or the Parliament (if you're Canadian) and start changing outlooks there. Most gamers are anywhere between 25 to 35 years old, nowadays, with a sizable few hailing from even earlier in the medium's history. Little by little, we're integrating the political system.

It'll take time, but this will eventually fade away the same way the outcry against Rock music faded away.

This. Pretty soon people will start complaining about braindance (its pretty fucked up).

Also, a lil sad to see the cheap shots against america. We're all gamers here, how about a little solidarity?

I had no idea that the USA had only 2278 people in the country... I do have a biased and perhaps ignorant view that most USA citizens are stupid and can't think for themselves, but 2278 people doesn't count for poo...

Huh I thought the US had a population of over 315 million, but it turns out there are only 2278 Americans living there. No wonder immigration is such an issue :P

Yeah what more can you say, a limited study that shows that a small number of people are poorly informed about violence and videogames.

I'd like to point out that the people that take these surveys are the dregs of the country as they have nothing better to do while the rest of us hang up on them.

I personally find the posts in this thread amusing as they are the first to hide when their own countries post polls of what their stupid people find important. Human stupidity is absolute, not national, the only difference is that the world apparently has nothing better to do then watch what America is doing in the realm of opinion polls.

Video Games are part of American culture. America's culture is very violent. Denying that our culture influences our youth is foolish. Maybe you Escapists posters are all the exception but denying it is the mark of a fanboy. Before you try to slam me as some kind of anti-gamer know that this is a symptom of our culture in general, not specific to video games.

Andy Chalk:
Majority of Americans Believe Games Contribute to Violence

This is the same America that gave Obama a second term, right?

WhiteTigerShiro:

Andy Chalk:
Majority of Americans Believe Games Contribute to Violence

This is the same America that gave Obama a second term, right?

No. It's the same America that gave Bush a second term. Seriously, fuck my country's populace sometimes.

Not this time, though. I mean, I understand you can't sample everybody, but they are drawing conclusions from .0008% of the population. That...is pathetic.

MiskWisk:
I understand that they've extrapolated the data to say this, however 2278 out of 3 hundred million (rounded to nearest hundred million) is not really a good test in my eyes. Really, all you've said is that 58% of the 2278 Americans are idiots.

Thank you for being one of the only few people to notice that the SAMPLE SIZE is amazingly small and honestly this is just ANDY doing more sensationalist journalism again.

I am getting really sick of him misrepresenting information in titles. It should read something like, In a recent poll of 2278 people, 58% believe game violence contributes to violence.

Instead we get this sensationalist garbage that frankly makes me not want to visit the escapist. If Jim sterling or yatzee ever leave the escapist I would be hard press to come back.

/angry rant

Really? Because it seems like the majority of Americans are the ones who play video games.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2012/0318/Video-game-nation-Why-so-many-play

In short, I don't buy it.

erttheking:
Really? Because it seems like the majority of Americans are the ones who play video games.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2012/0318/Video-game-nation-Why-so-many-play

In short, I don't buy it.

^ Good point.

I followed the Harris "poll" and most of the people that took it were over 50(apparently they target Florida)................ So they are scared of games to begin with....... All those flashing lights and buttons.

Id be interested to see who was polled. If its certain groups i can see why this came out this way.

and to be honest, I agree I dont think the ESRB keeps m rated games outof kids hands cause parents by them for their kids and then blame the ESRB for themselves not reading the box or caving in to a child crying.

EDIT: for the people saying that this was a small number, yeah, thats the point. its called a sample. Of the 300+ million people living in the US right now, how many of those are people under legal age, or under reasonable age to poll (say 13 or less). Probably a good portion. So even taking them out, you then have to send a survey to everyone, and how many people actually do them (or even see them if its electronic and it just goes straight to spam). this is what tehy could/wanted to afford. it would just be better if tehy said 58% of people polled believe video games cause violence and all those other questions, not make a blanket statement.

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