Saturday, October 6, 2012

Journal Entry #1 Violence in Videogames

It seems we have ruled out the argument that violence in video games trains us to be murderers. One of the games that people point to in favor of the argument that video games condition us to kill is GTA. "Your son, or husband or whoever, can hire a prostitute, have sex with her, and then beat her to death with  a baseball bat," states conservative Glenn Beck. Now, will someone go do these things after long exposure to this game? Most likely not. Though I do wonder at the same question that Glenn Beck asks, which is, "whatever happened to Pong?"

The claim that these violent video games train children to be murderers in the same way soldiers in the military shoot at the silhouette of a human being on a piece of paper for target practice is a pretty far stretch. Psychologist Chris Ferguson has this to say on the issue, "Many of the games do have morally objectionable material and I think that is where a lot of the debate on this issue went off the rails," he said. "We kind of mistook our moral concerns about some of these video games, which are very valid — I find many of the games to be morally objectionable — and then assumed that what is morally objectionable is harmful. 

Here's the full article for reference:

What I am still curious about is, how do these violent video games affect us? I do not believe that we can play games like GTA for five to six hours every other day and walk away not absorbing something of what we just experienced. Though we may not end up going on a killing spree, I am curious to see how such video games affect our behavior and attitudes towards other people. Psychologists Brad Bushman and Chris Ferguson said this:

"You know most of the debate now is really on to these minor acts of aggressiveness. You know we're talking about little children sticking their tongues out at each other and that sort of thing...Playing violent video games probably will not turn your child into a psychopathic killer, but I would want to know how the child treats his or her parents, how they treat their siblings, how much compassion they have."

Of course it is impossible to come to an agreement with such a subjective issue so I open the floor to anyone who has something to say about it. Personally, I do think video games have the power to influence people strongly in many ways, though it seems this has to be studied on a case by case basis and cannot be a conclusion applicable to every individual. I think Billy Mitchell would be a good model to examine when studying the extent to which the mindset someone approaches video games with trickles down into other aspects of daily life, but then again, not everyone takes video games this seriously. Thoughts? Disagreements? Outraged opinions?

- Matt

1 comment:


    I found this link to an article that discusses a meta-study of video games and links to violence and anti-social behavior. The gist - inconclusive. The article points out that the effect that video games have have vary greatly depending on many different circumstances. It also brings up an interesting counterpoint: what if violent video games act as a safe outlet for aggressive behavior? The article mentions some instances in which playing violent video games calmed people's moods, and I know that there are studies showing that video games relieve stress.