Computer Games are too violent for school children: Argument against

A study undertaken by Oxford University suggests that playing violent video games is no more likely to be damaging to young children’s behavior than those considered harmless.

The research that looked at primary schoolchildren found that the amount of time the children spent actually playing the games could have more of an effect on their performance at school and on their behaviour than the content of the video game, although their findings show that the length of time young people spend playing games has a slight detrimental effect. The survey interviewed slightly over 200 children 10 and 11 years old about their game playing habits that included questions like ‘How long each day they spend playing games’ and ‘what types of games they enjoyed’. The teachers of the children were also asked to assess the children’s’ behavior, academic engagement and ability to problem solve.

Of the children who took part in the study two-thirds said they played video games every day, boys were found almost two more likely to do this than girls. 1 in 10 played a video game more than 3 hours a day and once again the boys were more likely to do this.

The children who played for less than an hour each day had displayed a lower chance of having problems in school with aggression than those who never played the game. The children who played more than three hours a day had a higher likelihood of displaying problems with aggression and a lower academic engagement.

The conclusion of the study is that the fears around a generation of young people growing up and having their development affected or impaired by the current level of exposure to the violence in these video games are no more likely than what has previously been said from the effect of television, movies and other media.

“Taken together, this suggests that quantity may play a larger role than the quality of games played — a counter-intuitive finding for many focused on the violent contents of some gaming contexts,”

They found that the children who played these games in multiplayer mode, online and linking up with other players had a slightly less likely tendency to have social problems, like relating to other children, than the ones who played in just story mode or played alone. Those who played in the solo mode were found that solitary gameplay had better academic performance and displays of aggression were less likely, even so slightly.

“These findings do not support the idea that regular violent gameplay is linked to real-world violence or conflict.”

Previous studies that had linked violent video game with aggressive behavior hasn’t always compared them to other non-violent video game that has a similar level of complexity and difficulty, therefore the results aren’t as reliable.

The lead author Dr. Andy Przybyski, said that even though the study didn’t find any evidence that linked real-life aggressive behavior and the violence in a video game doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, it just means that academic are divided about the possible effects, as are the general population. A The website Debate.org has been running a pole on whether video games are too violent 19% agree that they are while 81% say no. Showing the majority of the general public don’ think they are too violent. Some of the comments on the sites are:

  

 

“Your argument is invalid…

 

First of all, saying that violent video games are the cause of all violence in today’s society is the equivalent of saying, “The sea should be off limits because some people are drowning”. That is irrational and plainly pathetic as an argument. Notice as I said SOME in my example because not everyone who plays violent video games has a mindset of pure malevolence. Secondly, another example which will affect all parents who oppose these games is this:” Because some men rape women, ergo, all men are rapists” or “Because some women are strongly obsessed with make-up, all women are obsessed with make-up”. These claims are clearly false and are over-generalizations of the truth. Rather than focus on what the criminal does as a hobby, why not address his or her mental conditions or financial situation? If we are a society of rational people, then why are we debating over the surface of the situation, rather than the root of it?”

 

 

“Are you seriously thinking about this?

I’ve played violent games since I was seven. Only the people who are not mature enough to play these things and have a sound mind are those who break. Take a look at the amount of kids who play these games and have a great social life. And now for a quote by some famous guy… “Guns do not kill people, only people who wield the weapon kill people”

 

 

Dr Any Przbylski said,

“Some are of the position that there is no reason to believe that video games are any different from any other kind of media and then there are those who are very concerned,” he said.

“I think the jury is out.

“But if you look at the evidence it looks like when violence is in some [other] form of media like film it actually might be much more influential for those who consume it compared to games.”

He added: “There are lots of reasons why a young person might be playing video games so much.

“It might be that there is something really fun going on the in game or it might be that there is something going on in the young person’s life.”

 

In January 2013 The American Psychological Association (APA) Task was formed with the purpose of looking at any scientific literature for any links, if any, between playing video games and anti-social behavior. This was set up in the wake of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the USA, in which 20 students and six adult staff members were killed. A 20-year-old, Adam Lanza, the shooter, was said to have spent most of his time playing both violent and non-video games alone in his home. Some of his favorite video games include Super Mario Bros and Dance Dance Revolution.

Dr Mark Appelbaum, who chaired the APA task force, said:

 

“Scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than two decades but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent videogames cause people to commit acts of criminal violence.

 

“However, the link between violence in video games and increased aggression in players is one of the most studied and best established in the field.

 

“We know that there are numerous risk factors for aggressive behavior. What researchers need to do now is conduct studies that look at the effects of video game play in people at risk for aggression or violence due to a combination of risk factors. For example, how do depression or delinquency interact with violent video game use?”

The conflict of findings shows that the myth that video games can because violent behavior is undermined. FBI statistics in the US show that youth violence has gone down in recent years while the sale of computer game and video game has risen and the popularity of the more violent first person shooter type game that are regularly blamed have soared. There is no claim that the increased popularity of games has been the main factor of the decline, but the evidence makes a good argument to the suggestion that video games cause violent behavior. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared: “The state has not produced substantial evidence that … violent video games cause psychological or neurological harm to minors.”

Source: “Chasing the Dream,” Economist, Aug. 4, 2005

 

Researchers have been searching for a link between playing video games and acts of real world violence for decades, without much success. In the paper Psychology of Popular Media Culture Violent Video Games and Real-World Violence: Rhetoric Versus Data the author Patrick Markey says,

“We always have to be careful with correlational data. Correlation doesn’t mean causation. But we haven’t just looked at sales of games and violent crimes. We have taken into account trends in the data. We remove stuff that typically happens, like a spike in murders during summer and high sales of games near the Holidays, and it’s still negative. To me what is most amazing is that is never positive. It is always statistically negative.”

A game like GTA 5 can sell tens of millions of copies in a short period of time, and take up dozens of hours. These games tend to be played by the same demographic that features prominently in violent crime, that being young men. If you take millions of young men out of the social milieu for a few days, it might well have a negative impact on crime statistics.

If violent video games are causes of serious violent crimes, it seems probable that serious and deadly assaults would increase following the release of these popular violent video games,” states the report, which compared the release of big Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty games against crime data. In fact, “aggravated assault… and homicide showed a decrease after the release of these games,” and the effect last for up to three months.

Markey said that the huge popularity of these games “effectively removes [people who enjoy violent content] from the streets or other social venues where they might have otherwise committed a violent act. In other words, because violent individuals are playing violent video games in their homes, there may be a decrease in violent crime when popular violent video games are released.”

 

 

Bibliography

Anderson, C. (2000). Violent video games increase aggression and violence: Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the impact of interactive violence on children. Retrieved from http://www .psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/caa/abstracts/ 2000-2004/00Senate.html

Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: A meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychological Science, 12, 353–359. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00366

Anderson, C. A., and B. J. Bushman. “Effects Of Violent Video Games On Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, And Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review Of The Scientific Literature”. Psychological Science 12.5 (2001): 353-359. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.

Bingham, John. “Study Finds No Evidence Violent Video Games Make Children Aggressive”. Telegraph.co.uk. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.

Bushman, B. J. (2002). Does venting anger feed or extinguish the flame? Catharsis, rumination, distraction, anger, and aggressive responding. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 724 – 731. doi:10.1177/0146167202289002

Campbell, Colin. “Do Violent Video Games Actually Reduce Real-World Crime?”. Polygon. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.

Debate.org,. “Are Video Games Too Violent?”. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.

Ferguson, C. J. (2013). Don’t link video games with mass shootings. CNN.com. Retrieved from http:// www.cnn.com/2013/09/20/opinion/fergusonvideo-games/

Gallagher, Michael. “Video Games Don’T Cause Children To Be Violent”. US News & World Report. N.p., 2010. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.

Gentile, D. A., & Anderson, C. A. (2003). Violent video games: The newest media violence hazard. In D. A. Gentile (Ed.), Media violence and children: A complete guide for parents and professionals (pp. 131–152), West Port, CT: Praeger.

Markey, P. M. (in press). Video games and mental health. In H. Friedman (Ed.), Encylopedia of mental health. Elsevier Ltd., Oxford, UK.

 

Markey, P. M., Markey, C. N., & French, J. E. (2014, August 18). Violent Video Games and

Newcomb, A. (2013). Game over for man who allegedly went on ‘Grand Theft Auto’ crime spree.

ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/ blogs/headlines/2013/09/game-over-for-man-whoallegedly-went-on-grand-theft-auto-crime-spree/

online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ppm000003

 

Puiu, Tibi. “Do Violent Video Games Make Children More Aggressive?”. ZME Science. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.

Real-World Violence: Rhetoric Versus Data. Psychology of Popular Media Culture. Advance

Sciencedirect.com,. “Playing Violent Video Games, Desensitization, And Moral Evaluation In Children”. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.

Videogames.procon.org,. “22 Charts & Graphs On Video Games & Youth Violence – Violent Video Games – Procon.Org”. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.

Virginia Tech Review Panel. (2007). Mass shootings at Virginia Tech. Retrieved from http://www.governor .virginia.gov/TempContent/techPanelReport.cfm

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