Do Video Games Make You Violent? An In-Depth Analysis

By Jos · 81 replies
Jan 17, 2013
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  1. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,739   +3,757

    Your premise is correct, but I have a difficult time agreeing with your conclusion.

    Here's my argument: Children are exposed to ideas and concepts throughout their development. While it is true that parents cannot exert an absolute control over what their children are exposed to, they do exert a primary influence by (1) choosing the dominant culture that their children are exposed to, (2) identifying positive and negative influences and attempting to eliminate the latter, and (3) teaching their children effective coping skills through both direct and indirect communication (which enables them to effectively handle peer pressure, cultural and interpersonal conflicts, emotions, etc.). As a result, effective parenting plays a major role in shaping non-genetic cognitive factors; most significantly, as it pertains to the discussion topic, the the ability to empathize and establish a rational sense of morality.

    Does this mean that parents can simply mold children's minds into whatever they deem desirable with proper shrewdness and savvy? No. Outside influences are too numerous to effectively mitigate and "ruling with an iron fist" would undermine individuality and likely cause the child to rebel, both points you've touched on. Moreover, genetic factors are completely uncontrollable. If someone is born with a sociopathic personality, you won't be able to deprogram it by showing them how great altruism is or by going full medieval and quite literally beating Jesus into them.

    Nevertheless, parenting still plays the lead role in early childhood and adolescent development because effective parenting nurtures beneficial cognitive skills and mitigates negative ones. As such, it is not a trivial aspect of the problem. By contrast, video games are a trivial influence because they do not attempt to exert their influence upon users, they just provide a consumable (fantasy). How that fantasy is digested depends on individual cognition, which we've determined is highly affected by parenting.

    Therefore, blaming bad parenting for producing bad apples is not silly, as is the practice of blaming the crop on video games. The criticism isn't faultless by any means, but it is far more worthwhile to investigate than this tripe about violence in media.
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,738   +3,706

    I agree with you, my comment was for the guest above, making a black and white statement that bad kids come from bad parents. There are so many variables, you simply can not point a finger at any one variable without knowing the facts of each isolated case.
  3. Nefertiti

    Nefertiti TS Rookie

    If video games do induce agression in some people, I would tend to think that is is in a very short-term manner (perhaps just a few minutes until the person winds down). There are so many ways these days to trigger agression (bad drivers anyone?), blaming one thing would be ridiculous. Maybe people with psychological problems would be more easily affected by video game violence, but then wouldn't they be more prone to react to outside stimulus as well?

    There's even other studies which suggest, on the contrary, that violent games stimulate certain brain parts and are generally beneficial when measuring brain performance. There is a TED presentation on this and it's really worth taking a look:
  4. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    I don't believe for a second that violent video games make their targeted audience of adult players violent, however there are a TON of impressionable underage players I believe they do affect. In my opinion, the only ones to blame for documented cases of video game violence are the bad, irresponsible parents that buy their bratty kids whatever game they want in order to electronically babysit them.
  5. jcarr11

    jcarr11 TS Rookie

    Its not video games its these ***** parents these days not teaching their kids values and morals and disciplining them when they need to be taught a lesson. Parents these days let their kids run wild and control them. Ive played just about every violent video game and I dont plan on going on a killing spree. Yes I get extremly frustrated at any kind of game but because I am such a competitive person I cannot accept losing. My parents kept me in check and taught me values and morals. Every problem these days the media and people blame something else and make that the scapegoat while the real reason is todays society parenting is a joke. The family has become a joke and kids are not being brought up in the right atmosphere and values. That kid that shot up that school showed signs of instability yet his parent didnt do anything to get the help he needed. Media and government is using games as a scapegoat instead of facing the real reason head on because its not poltically correct to say parents discipline your goddam spoiled kids.
  6. PinothyJ

    PinothyJ TS Guru Posts: 460   +22

    "Michael Ward: Yes, I've always studied telecommunications, internet and what they call ICTs in general, and videogames seemed like some place that had not been done very well very much by economists yet. And so I also have children who play video games, they thought it was really cool that their dad was studying what they were playing.

    So the first thing I did was got a proxy for demand for video games in different areas of the country, which is the number of video games stores, and related that to the amount of crime in each of these areas. And I found that when the number of stores increased in an area, the amount of...a number of different measures of crime actually fall. That [raises] the question; why does this happen?"

  7. otester

    otester TS Rookie Posts: 43

    I got Unreal when I was 8 and I haven't killed any one yet...
  8. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,000   +1,320

    Im not saying these people go out and kill people, im saying that every kid I know that plays COD is typically more violet than others. Violent in a sense that they are willing to pick fights with people over pride and such..I played some FPSs early on and it hasent affected me horribly, but its really the other gamers people are exposed to. Tell me, when you were 8, was unreal your primary past time? thats whats happening to kids now, cant wait to get home from school and COD it up. Every day.
    Wendig0 likes this.
  9. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,046   +680

    The lazy "parents" are to blame, not the developers. End of story.
    Wendig0 likes this.
  10. momir

    momir TS Rookie

    What game is the one on the cover of this article on the main page of Techspot? The one with Unreal engine and a mini-gun?
  11. momir

    momir TS Rookie

    Nevermind,I found it through google images,Bulletstorm :) on topic,games do not make me violent,period.
  12. $10m to decree that if you are mentally unbalanced its probably not a good idea to play games that depict killing.

    Add that to the list that already includes smoking pot, taking acid, watching porn and most other exciting American activities.

    There, I just wrote their executive summary for free.
  13. otester

    otester TS Rookie Posts: 43

    Yeah I've always been very reclusive, can't wait to get back to play Unreal or later Half-Life.

    I'd agree CoD players tend to be more violent, but I generally associate CoD players with douche bags, they were douche bags before they got the game though.
    Wendig0 likes this.
  14. Tygerstrike

    Tygerstrike TS Enthusiast Posts: 827   +93

    I agree that video games and violent movies CAN cause a short term increase in aggresive actions. Mainly because we are violent creatures. BUT we are also creatures who THINK. That being said, I personally blame the parents if they let thier children play the violent video games. Ive been playing video games since pong. Guess what, I havent gone out and killed anyone. Never had the thought "Hey maybe I should shoot up some place". In fact, I use the video games to curb my violent nature. I know what im seeing on the screen is not real. So I feel no shame or remorse in blowing away that zombie with a shotgun. If the parents chose to not accept responsability for the fact that they plop their children in front of a TV instead of dealing with them, then thats on them. My parents raised me right. They taught me right from wrong and the differences between real and fake.
  15. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TS Booster Posts: 322   +65

    Video games? Nah, not in my case. :D I suspect the only thing that would provoke a violent reaction from me is if I am -- or if anyone I love is -- physically attacked. Fortunately, the chances of something like that actually happening are highly improbable, given present circumstances. I am very thankful for that.

    I play a lot of video games -- and most, if not all, of the games I play have rather vivid depictions of violence. But I have never physically harmed anyone in my life -- not even as a child, I think. To me, games are what they are -- games.

    I pray I never have to be in a situation where actual violent action against another person is necessary. In all honesty, and all jokes aside, I don't think I'd do very well under that kind of pressure.
  16. Techgamer,

    Please re-read what you have posted. Where did you go to school? If this is what happens when someone devotes their life to gaming we're in trouble.
    Wendig0 likes this.
  17. Just a bunch of garbage!
  18. I can save them the money right now. Let’s look at the data, to see if there is a strong correlation between violent video games and violence in real life:
    Using COD as an example, which sold more than 5.6 million copies, 4.2 million in the U.S. and 1.4 million in the UK within 24 hours of going on sale. And after six weeks, it made over a billion in sales (Wikipedia). This is only 1 video game. If there was a direct correlation, then there should be a huge increase in violence worldwide. But overall, violence seems to be going down (just based on news articles worldwide e.g. Stockton, CA police report a slight decrease in violence, GPD (Greenville, MS) reports decease in violent crimes in 2012, etc. – I’ve read several other articles in different cities stating a decrease in violence).
    Video games are the latest scapegoat of a broken system. There was a time that it was thought that ‘violent’ music leads to violent people. Then it was violent movies and now it’s video games.
    Besides, I used to play Duck Hunt for hundreds of hours, and I never felt any animosity toward ducks.
  19. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Addict Posts: 248   +110

    People should stop giving so much credit and realize that there are people out there who are more violent and angry than others. Scream 1 quote : "Movies don't create psychos. Movies make the psychos more creative." Same thing goes for video games lol.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  20. TS-56336

    TS-56336 TS Addict Posts: 609   +109

  21. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,738   +3,706

    Crimes will be committed regardless of whether games are played. Games only influence the style of how crimes are committed. If the person by nature is not violent, the game will have no influence.
  22. NTAPRO

    NTAPRO TS Evangelist Posts: 809   +102

    Wasn't there a similar thing about music making people violent? How did that turn out?
  23. If the things you see and hear have no affect on you, why do companies spend billions on ads?
  24. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,673   +413

    If pac man makes me violent, I wasn't aware of it. :D
  25. Ridiculous, look at the history of mankind. Wars as far back as we have recorded history. Especially look at the last century, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and so on. No video games there. The world now is an armed camp. Look at Africa today, Hutu against Tutsi, warlords cutting peoples arms and legs off for intimidation, no video games there.
    Violent video games are a product of a violent species, not the cause of violence. We have the cart before the horse on this one.
    davislane1 likes this.

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