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Hypnotron

Video Games Cause Kids to SNAP!

32 posts in this topic

Violent games cause violent behavior is a no win position.

 

There are alot of very smart people working in games. But I think too many defense mechanisms kick in on this issue particularly when the argument is worded in this typical way. "Violent games cause violence" is designed to cause a bunch of wheel spinning and goings to nowhere.
 
I prefer to look at the influence of games in the same way as I do the influence of all mass media. There are not only opportunity costs to consuming frivolous media. There IS a learning of concepts that are of dubious value or worse. Money and guns give you dominance and power. Violence solves problems (no blowblack, no real consequences). Diplomacy has little to no value. Empathy is for sissies. Shortcuts ftw. It's not about how you play the game. Winning is all that matters. Points! High scores! The opposition is one dimensionally evil, they are dumb and they are inferior. Civility is weakness. Females are sex objects. Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like Lara? Being and behaving in an intelligent manner is lame. Getting drunk, high or stoned is cool. Turning your brain off and learning to enjoy stupid tv/games/films is good. Get a Roku. Debate is another word for a yelling match where the last man standing wins. Torture gets results. You're not stupid, everyone else is. Stupid only counts if you're broke and powerless. If you're as unsophisticated and stupid as the bum sitting the in the gutter but you have a fat bank account, you are winning. Vice is exciting. Virtue is for idealistic morons who don't understand how the real world works. Etc, etc, etc.
 
The games industry will never have anything to fear reguarding the "violent games cause kids to snap" argument. It's one of those arguments that will channel us all down a pointless dead-end series of conversations. Go us.
 
Much of the media we consume, much of the media we make will not result in the betterment of humanity nor the world we live. That's just a fact. Indeed it has helped us all become masters of hypocrisy. Hey brother and sister, consume my mind shaping garbage but if you forget to check in with the personal responsibility region of your brain (you know, that region we were all born with) and you end up ignorant, saddled with vices, mental health issues, etc... well that's on YOU.

BLAME YOURSELF AND YOUR PARENTS because that is who I will be blaming. I had nothing to do with it. Our marketing department didn't hold a gun to your head making you buy our product even though we denied that it would cause you any harm whatsoever and even though we fought tooth and nail against legislation that would force us to label it as such. (Although if we have to, we'll settle for PG-13, R, M for Mature because they don't adequately describe the depths of the harm and the ratings board will just tally up tits and swear words which are heavily discounted because we've all seen and heard them anyway!!! WHeeeeee!) We just wanted to give you enjoyment and this is how you repaid us? Now excuse us while we brush our teeth without gazing at our own reflections in the mirror.
 
Alas, if only we had all eaten from a tree of knowledge of good and evil and we magically understood in the deepest sense, what made good beneficial and evil destructive. No joy. We have to teach each other.
 

Edited by Hypnotron
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Because, clearly, distinguishing whether any form of message - be it coming from a video game, some advertisement or just mass media in general - conflicts with your own values is difficult, right? I've played violent games for years, and I've never killed or even voluntarily harmed another human being under normal circumstances. If people can't make the difference between a game and the real world, they have some serious issues.

 

Frankly, I don't give two craps about what happens in my virtual game world. If I want to play as a ruthless gangster and chop people's hands off because they look funny that way, or swap hospital vaccines with STD's just because I can, so be it. It's fun to experiment and see the results of my imagination. But does that mean that I'm going to start acting like that in real life? Of course not.

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1) Violent games cause violent behavior is a no win position.

 

2) Games are no different from all other forms of media.  The depths of their harm (specifically talking about frivolous entertainment that pander and only care about making a buck) on our culture and on young people's views on the world in particular is much deeper than the lightweight born loser argument that violence in media cause kids to go BOOM!"

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@Bacterius

 

I specifically refuted that position.  I'm not saying games cause people to become violence.  Incidentally anecdotal personal accounts don't say much.  But as I said that is beisdes the point.  The whole violent games cause violence in people is a LOSER argument.   Your reply exemplifies why I think this argument is a loser. 

 

I am saying that instead of falling into that trap, we should not be looking at games specifically, but all mass media (particurlarly mass entertainment) in terms of the messages they send us.  I think they reinforce alot of negative views and attitudes.

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[quote name='Hypnotron' timestamp='1358007619' post='5020733']
I am saying that instead of falling into that trap, we should not be looking at games specifically, but all mass media (particurlarly mass entertainment) in terms of the messages they send us.  I think they reinforce alot of negative views and attitudes.
[/quote]

Uhh, my post was centered around video games because your thread title has "video games" in it. Substitute with whatever form of mass media you want, and the point still stands. I fail to see your argument.

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I should have added, and that they are harmful / damaging in THAT way.  It's a much more subtle argument than "games cause kids to go boom!"  I'm saying frankly, our willingness to make entertainment products that sell FIRST and that educate and instill virtue LAST is harmful.

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@ Bacterius: well you will have to be more specific on what it is you do not understand.  I am trying to work with you but you seem to be ignoring things I've said in previous posts.  What do you fail to see exactly?  I have not said once anywhere that games cause kids to go boom.

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I think I understand what is causing the confusion so I will put a stop to it right here and now.

 

I used a provocative title.  My title suggested that I was persuing the argument that violent games cause kids to go snap.  That is not my argument, but it's clear to me now why people would think that it was (especially if they didn't read the content of my post).

 

To be honest, i used that title because that is what is lately in the media "OMG, GAMES MAKE KIDS SHOOT UP THE BLOCK!"    To be honest, I just assumed people would read the content of my post first and see that I was using it sarcasticly.

 

Anyway... my position is that friviolous and rather "base" games just like frivolous and "base" tv/film/comics/etc, are all harmful and that as creators we might think about this on a conscious level.  You may disagree and that is fine.  But maybe it clicks for others.  Our media does affect us.  As creators we can ignore it, but first we must have the choice by acknowledging that there is an effect.

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I should also clarify when i say they ARE harmful, I mean potentially  harmful to some in the sense that they can instill or reinforce negative values.  Now if it is your (whoever you are) personal oppinion that such values are not negative, then so be it.  Truthfully in my own sense of morality they are and that is why this entire series of post is my opinion.  We are here sharing ideas.  I am here sharing my ideas. 

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@ Bacterius: well you will have to be more specific on what it is you do not understand.  I am trying to work with you but you seem to be ignoring things I've said in previous posts.  What do you fail to see exactly?  I have not said once anywhere that games cause kids to go boom.

 

 

 

I am saying that instead of falling into that trap, we should not be looking at games specifically, but all mass media (particurlarly mass entertainment) in terms of the messages they send us.  I think they reinforce alot of negative views and attitudes.

 

Your point (one of them) is that video games should not be treated any differently than any other form of media. But they are not - there isn't some big crusade against video games, you just feel targeted because you play/make video games or because of some headline in the MEDIA. When a shooting occurs, people don't just go questioning whether the guy played GTA, there's a lot more arguments floating around which you just don't see: did the shooter use facebook, was he social, did he smoke weed, was he into heavy metal music, was he influenced by advertisement such and such, ... shall I go on?

 

The bottom line is, any human being is capable of deciding for himself whether he should do X or not, based on his beliefs and value system. It's called free will. Now whether this value system was corrupted by mass media, I don't know - I suppose it would have been, for people who had not been instilled core values by their parents, after all, mass media is designed to influence people. But it's certainly not just because of games, and people are not specifically targeting games. The MEDIA is sometimes targeting games, because it's the latest trend, something new to hate on, etc... look again in a few weeks and you'll find another headline pointing the finger at something completely different.

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@Bacterius

I doubt you will find much support that video games are NOT treated differently than other forms of mass media.  I think they SHOULD NOT BE.  But they are.  But i think this entire line of discussion is outside of the point i was making.  Vice President Joe Biden just met with "representatives" of the video game industry and the NRA.  These have been headlines in the last few days.  It did not say that he met with members of tv, film, video games, music, etc.

 

As for your second paragraph, my original post addressed all of those issues.  You call it free will, i referred to it by it's second cousin "personal responsibility."   Free will in the sense you use it does not exist.  If it did, there would be no such thing as advertising.  Free will requires first of all, that people are fully concious of all the positives and negatives of all their actions.  They are not.  This is logical because we are not perfect decision making people not just because we are "weak of will" but also because we are ignorant of consequences.  Parents are too.

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@Bacterius

I admit that when I started this topic somehow I assumed everyone knew this topic stemmed from the recent news headlines about the Vice President meeting with the NRA and Representaives of the Video Game Industry.

 

That is the launching off point of my article.  My point is that why single out video games, why single out video game violence and why this silly argument that videogames cause kids to SNAP!  But that is what has happened here.  I'm saying we need to avoid that trap and instead talk about all of the "tropes" that frivolous mass media is perpetuating.. not just violence, but women as sex objects, and everything else.

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and don't forget, there was recently a California law that attempted to regulate sales of violent video games to children.  That is jsut another example of how they ARE treated differently.   We will not mention the escapades of Jack Thompson.  But again, its entirely besides the point I'm making!

 

But again, I will take alot of the blame for the misunderstandings here.  I made alot of assumptions that in retrospect were not obviously apparent.  That is my bad.

Edited by Hypnotron
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[quote name='Hypnotron' timestamp='1358009576' post='5020749']
As for your second paragraph, my original post addressed all of those issues.  You call it free will, i referred to it by it's second cousin "personal responsibility."   Free will in the sense you use it does not exist.  If it did, there would be no such thing as advertising.  Free will requires first of all, that people are fully concious of all the positives and negatives of all their actions.  They are not.  This is logical because we are not perfect decision making people not just because we are "weak of will" but also because we are ignorant of consequences.  Parents are too.
[/quote]

Yes, so what? We are not supposed to be perfect. It's part of being human to make mistakes. I made mistakes in life. You did, too. Everyone on this forum did. We will make more. But it's only human. Do you somehow think we would be better off if we were all somehow engineered with an intrinsic sense of right and wrong? I doubt so. We can inform people all we want, but ultimately, it's up to them to make their own choices ("responsibly") based on what they have been taught, by the media, their peers or family, whatever. And I agree that media has created some bad preconceptions and ideas, but when it comes to the most elementary, core values of an individual, mass media has very little effect on those except in pathological cases. Sure, we can change media (assume we can) to provide better messages and improve quality of life to some extent. I doubt anyone will argue with that, apart from the fact that changing popular culture isn't done overnight. Your point is self-evident. What discussion are you looking for?

 

Your second point - again, you're tunnel-visioning. The reason video games are being targeted at this precise moment in time is because everything else of interest has already been dispatched. Smoking? You've got those distasteful warnings all over cigarettes. Drugs? Most forms of psychedelic drugs are illegal or for medication only. Women as sex objects? Well, there's the whole feminism movement going, but let's not get into that, as it's a whole different topic altogether.

 

You see? Video games are treated no different than all those other things were treated in the past. Video games are just the "hot thing" right now. And whether some legislation will pass to condemn any form of violence or display of prostitution in video games (perhaps depending on the rating), I don't know, I doubt it. There isn't enough traction to warrant it. Perhaps some token action will be taken, and it will be forgotten when people get bored of it.

History repeats itself. So again, I ask - what discussion are you expecting to stem from this thread? Perhaps we've been arguing for the wrong reason.

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Ok I'll answer you ultimate question first.  I wasn't expecting any "discussion."  I'm sharing my ideas.  The only discussion I'm involved in are with people replying to my post.

 

But I dont understand why you think i'm tunnel visioning.   If you don't think games are treated differently when... THEY ARE by virtue of oh... i dunno.. the media or politicians or law makers or parents TREATING or ATTEMPTING to treat them differently as is quite obvious, then I don't know what to say. 

 

You have broadened your definition of "treated differently" to have no meaning frankly. Everything is persecuted therefore it's all the same. Well OK then sir. If it makes you happy, I WILL CONCEDE THE POINT that games at one time or another have been treated unfairly just like anything else. THIS IS BESIDES MY POINT. I don't care about this point at all. It's completely irrelevant to my original post.

 

Cigarette labels are hardly analgous surely you see this.  I don't know why you brought them up.  We are talking about the much more subtle and undetermined influences of mass media... not on scientifically proven issues of public health.  This is why I wrote my opinion.  If I could cite scientific articles of fact, I wouldn't need to write an opinion.

 

Further we are not talking about the past, we are talking about the present.  And my position is that ALL MEDIA needs to be questioned on the messages they are sending.  This was in my original post.  This is still my original point.  Somehow you keep reverting to some disparity I hold about video games.  And if you think i'm somehow harping on the mistreatment of video games compared to mass media, I msut say, you manufactured this entire line of argument.  I'm merely stating that TODAY in the current media cycle, games leading to violence is a major topic and im saying WE SHOULD NOT FALL INTO THAT TRAP and we should revert to an argument that centers around ALL MEDIA.

 

You seem to agree with me but yet, you don't really want to hear what I'm saying.  This is all just minor bull... read what I wrote in my original post.  I said quite early one, we should not fall into this trap, we should look at games as we do all other forms of media.

 

My goodness.

Edited by Hypnotron
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But maybe now is a perfect time for people in their own free time to contemplate THEIR meaning of free will and personal responsibility.  And then, when they've finished doing that, they can contemplate the meaning of those terms as OTHER people use them. 

 

Because if you logically consider the implications of these concepts, they beget a ton of questions.  Does a newborn baby have freewill?  Does it have personal responsibility?  At what point in time does it have either?  Do those things exist purely, intact and unbiased throughout the life of that individual?  If the baby's personal responsiblity / free willed-ness as he progresses to adulthood can be influenced by members of society (parents, peers, teachers, media, etc) then does this not denote a multi-shared responsibility? 

 

If not, why not?  In other words, are we or are we not our brothers' and sisters' keepers?

 

Oh boy.....

Edited by Hypnotron
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I can't resist, I must reply to this topic. First, I play video games since I was 2 years old, and I never was violent let alone because of video games. Until now I played many many video games and 90% were considered violent or ultra violent. Mass media spins this crap about video games making people violent to prevent their doom. But on the other hand they forget that they brodcast wars and murders and various news in 2 p.m. (primarily cable networks). You do know that any kind can turn on the TV and see CSI or some sort of news showing uncensored corpses. That can change some people especialy those that are below 13 years old. Until I hear REAL case of someone going crazy and starts killing people because of video game, and not because the person was already insane, I will just point finger and laugh.

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@proanim

 

Thank you for your reply. 

 

Personal anecdotes you may know of course do not prove anything.  However, they do reinforce certain positions.  It is quite understandable.  Either way I'm not proving or disproving anything.  Again for the record, I think focussing on violence of video games is silly.  It's a mental trap.  We need to focus on media in general and the messages they propogate. 

 

Media is apart of our culture.  Media shapes our culture.  We must understand this concsiously.  How much of your understanding of the world comes from the media?  It's impossible to know these days because you wind up asking "How much of my parents understanding comes from the media to which they bestowed upon me?" 

 

That is why I advocate that we be very open and honest and we seek to better humanity and not simply make media that seeks to earn a buck at the expense of society.

 

Also to be clear, I don't advocate legislation to this affect.  I advocate advocacy and teaching each other and letting this sort of change happen organicly if it will.

Edited by Hypnotron
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That's not going to work for me, unfortunately. I'm on the other side of the fence saying that the video game industry NEEDS to be responsible for what they show to kids. Because this isn't just watching violence anymore. Video games are an interactive media. It's no different than placing a real gun in a kid's hands. The sounds are real. The graphics are real. The experience is real. To say that video games of this nature do not influence violent behavior is ignorance on the game industry. If anyone takes a real gander at who do behavior studies, it's actually professional behavior analysts, which no one in the game industry is. Behavior analysts study the effects of what causes behavior patterns and affects it, and violent media is one of those causes. So if some of you were more informed, you would realize that this simply saying that video games are part of the problem.

 

"But we should focus on all media, too."

 

They do. Video games is just another media added to the mix. They aren't focusing entirely on video games, but that's where a lot of adolescent boys' attentions are these days, if not on television watching cartoons or wrestling. So of course a lot of people are going to be concerned about it. I wish some of you would look past your short temper and question WHY they might say this instead of THAT they said it.

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@Zido_Z


I'm on the other side of the fence saying that the video game industry NEEDS to be responsible for what they show to kids.
Because of this there are few rating sistems in place, so when parents or anyone wants to by the game they have indication of what's in it.


It's no different than placing a real gun in a kid's hands
I must say I don't agree with this. There is nothing close to real thing like a real life weapon in video game. They only look relistic to the eye. They don't act in any way similar to the real thing. Edited by proanim
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Thank you Zido_Z

 

I can't really confirm or deny what you've said.  I can only say that in my opinion, focussing on video game violence as a causal factor in the sorts of shooting rampages we've seen is not the type of discussion game developers want to get involved in. 

 

I think the scope must be expanded A) To all media B) to all  negative media messages.

 

I just feel that would be more productive in terms of spurring broader research and the stopping of the scape goating of games in particular.

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Oh my god...First: Did you look on the back of a game you buy? There's a rating right there,specifying the appropiate age.What does that mean? Well..the same goes for porn movies.You have a little sign that says 18+ right?<br /><br />So what you are not seeing,is that you let your kids play gta and kill people ingame,even if they are ten.Is that the fault of the game,or the fault of the parents? I think it's the parents for sure. Edited by noatom
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noatom: making parents ultimately responsible would be a good first step.  But at least in the US, this is not the norm.  Most children who commit crimes (for example) serve time in juvi or jail or prison on their own.

 

The reason parents are not held responsible is because it would be the first chink in the armor of the "personal responsibility" doctrine.  It would open up discussions about things like worker pay that results in both parents working and children seeing their teachers and peers more than they do their own parents during K-12.  Then of course refusing to deal with the pay issues, you'd have to blame the next adults on the totem pole... teachers.  Otherwise we'll just have it your way and do nothing and let the kids rob and kill the people you know.But we'll blame the kids and throw them in jail and that should make up for your loss.

 

noatom:  I don't know how to ask this question without seeming antagonistic.  But how do you know your view of "blame the parents" is not just a product of media indoctrination?  What is the basis for the position of parents in our society being the be all and end all of child guidance?  There are societies past and present in humans and non humans where all members of the tribe or society rear the children for the benefit of the society.

 

Children are influenced by so many things, it's really a cop out in the end to just say "parents are responsible!" or "personal responsibility!"  Even if you judge that the parent(s) are MOST responsible (besides the fact you're now opening the door to mutliple responsiblities) is that any excuse for the rest of society to ignore the welfare of children that aren't theres?  We already know that is not the case.  So the question is how far does that responsibility for other children of the society go?

Edited by Hypnotron
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I must state my point of view on the topic of "games causes violence". I think it depends on a person. I have played some agressive games when I was pretty much young (actually i still consider myself as VERY young, so let's say that I mean when i was 10-13). I am that kind of person that wouldn't hurt a fly, I wouldn't even kick a dog if one would attack me... But I also know people with opposite influence from games. Every coin has two sides. Media and parents always shows that bad side, but I consider it as just an excuse for their own mistakes. I don't think it's that hard to look at the game cover and see signs that says "Violence", "Bad language", "Sex", "Drugs" etc. I remeber how my father reacted when he saw me playing such games. He didn't shout at me, he didn't take the game away. Instead he started talking with me. And I believe that's best approach, there's nothing better to talk with own child. Nowadays parents don't have time to explain things and talk with their kids.

 

I would also add that I lerned from games that you should always pursue your dreams and never give up. One can learn that, other that guns and drugs are fun.

 

Oh I also noticed that:

It's no different than placing a real gun in a kid's hands

So don't do that! If a parent won't buy a game, the kid can't play it. For me it's just simple as that o.O

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