Are Violent games really blameless?

The people who (generally) are raising kids are the ones who shouldn''t be, or if they do, they need to bring the kids up to make the world a better place!

I know... makes me think of licensed parenting more and more...

"Lester_King" wrote:
The people who (generally) are raising kids are the ones who shouldn''t be, or if they do, they need to bring the kids up to make the world a better place!

I know... makes me think of licensed parenting more and more...

The legal and moral ramifications of that are staggering. I don''t see it happening, and I would be against it if they tried. I''m just for holding parents accountable so they realize it''s THIER job to raise thier kids, not the media/goverment/lady down the street/god forbid mex...

The legal and moral ramifications of that are staggering.

Probably should be a P&C topic, but the point can easily be argued either way.

SommerMatt, I can totally see where you''re coming from.

Of course, in my case it''s not children that are likely to commit a crime or something along those lines, but whenever I get to listen to 10-14-year-olds talking about videogames during a bus or train ride, it''s about whatever violent title is just ''the rage''.

And they''re never talking about how they found a different approach for that one mission or beat that boss, it usually it is something like ""Ever seen what happens if you shoot the characters in the head?"" or ""I set them on fire. Man, that was so rad!"" I have no doubt that they actually could be enjoying the game for what it offers beneath its ''brutal'' shell - but whenever they''re exchanging their thoughts on it with their buddies it''s pretty clearly the ''coolness'' of violence portrayed and shining by playing something they''re not supposed to play to dominate the conversation. (Of course, it''s pretty much the same about horror movies or porn.)

And the point that did play those games naturally indicates that there''s at least one family with parents not knowing or caring about what the kids consume. Oh and - to tell a story I''ve already mentioned several times *cough*gramps-style*cough* - an old buddy of mine happens to run a videogame store. Based on my experiences most minors tend to get games they''re not supposed to have in their hands through their mothers or - more often - grandmothers. They usually enter the store, handing over a note stating ""My son/grandson told me to get this."" And since that guy has at least a bit of responsiblity he then will point out ""You are aware that this game is M-rated and features [such and such content]?"" However, 9 out of 10 of these particular customers don''t care about that and purchase the game nonetheless, apparently being afraid of not able to fulfill the wishes of their breed.

And once again I''d like to point out the idiocy of the ESA claim that 96% of all parents are aware of what kind of software their children are consuming. Yeah, right.

There are a huge number of factors influencing violent behavior by kids in modern, western society. Violence in games may very well be one of them, but it doesn''t exist in a vacuum. Saying ""my son butchered his friend because he played Manhunt"" is idiocy. By claiming this you also claim your son is a brainless zombie so impressionable he duplicates whatever he sees. If this isn''t true, then the game can''t be solely responsible. If it is true, your son would have done something insane sooner or later just by being exposed to the modern world.

Violence is all around us, and games are merely the latest (and thus most easily culpable) example. Violence is on TV. In the Movies. In the newspaper. In books. On the radio. In games. In comics. Personally I feel one of the biggest culprits in proprogating columbine style youth violence is the media itself--the kids who engage in such activities become instant celebrities. A depressed, frustrated, socially angry teenager doesn''t care about other people, and the chance to be seen, to be heard and recognized as someone important can be overwhelming. Many teens feel powerless and trapped. By lashing out at those around them, they gain a sense of power over others and instantly make a name for themselves. Notoriety is as good as fame, and the news media will make you a celebrity if you kill people.

I think violence beyond a certain point in games (and in movies/tv as well) is certainly distasteful (I''ll never buy GTA3 for example), but I don''t believe violent games create violent kids. Rather, disturbed kids react to violent games, and if it wasn''t a game it would be a movie or TV show that set them off.

Also, take GTA3 as an example. It sold how many millions of copies? And how many incidences of violence have been blamed on it? Just a few. That''s an incident rate of less than 1 thousandth of 1 percent. Which happens to be far below the rate of violence in the general population. If games caused people to become violent, there should be thousands of incidents associated with GTA3. Tens of thousands.

Blaming youth violence on video games is nothing more than media propaganda and parental irresponsibility. The media is happy to make a big deal out of anything that will get them viewers/readers, and parents are happy to shift the blame onto something they don''t understand anyway.

If your child creates a plan to steal weapons, attack a school, and kill other children there''s something much more seriously wrong than the fact he played Postal 2 the night before.

"Paladin" wrote:

If your child creates a plan to steal weapons, attack a school, and kill other children there''s something much more seriously wrong than the fact he played Postal 2 the night before.

... and the night before... and the night before... and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...and the night before...

I''m not reading all these other posts because it''s 2 in the morning and this page length is like 10x that of any OTHER page... that said, here''s my opinion... (like how I try to get you to read my ideas without reading yours? hehe, I''ll catch up on this tomorrow, but I want to put my thoughts down while they''re fresh)

I''m a 19 year old guy. I''ve been playing video games since before I could even read. I TAUGHT MYSELF to read to be able to read my game manuals and finally beat my dad at Super Mario Bros. I''ve played as many games as I could get my hands on during the NES, SNES, Genisis, Playstation reigns, and now and forever, the PC.

I played Wolfenstein 3D back in my old house... and that was during 3rd grade. I played Doom the day it came out at my dad''s place. I played Quake and Quake 2 and Half-Life and Jedi Knight and the sequel with the gore value maxed.

I have yet to kill anyone. I have yet to even be in a friggin'' fight! I am not overly aggressive. I am not even that angry most of the time... mostly just quiet and reserved in my own thoughts. I don''t think about killing people all day long and yet... I''ve been raised with the industy''s most violent through out my life.

Blaming video games is an EXCUSE. You can say that these teenagers were lead to kill by video games, but in all these cases, the kids were TOO DAMN YOUNG to buy them on their own. The parents didn''t supervise them and didn''t pay attention to them. THAT was the problem. I''ve grown up in an increidbly well parented home... as such, even though I regularly exhibit violent behaviors in a VIRTUAL world... I never let those ideas and actions cross over into reality.

If these kids can''t tell reality from fantasy, then they shouldn''t be playing games like Manhunt or GTA. And the only person who can''t be blamed isn''t some programmer or rock artist... it''s the dumbass parent who isn''t paying attention to their kids.

Thanks for the thoughtful posts addressed my way.

just a few follow-up points:

#1) PS2.IGN.COM has posted updated info on the new GTA:SA, and I have to say the the almost fetishistic language of the interviewee at Rockstar North in regards to gangs and gang culture really manage to somehow creep me out even more than I thought possible.

http://ps2.ign.com/articles/534/5346...

#2) Every time this issue comes up, be it online or in print, the same story gets whipped out which is supposed to be the be-all, end-all argument:

""Well, hey, I''ve played [insert violent game here] all my life and I''ve never [insert violent act here] anyone yet, so don''t blame the [insert adjectival form of swear word here] game!""

Seriously... this isnt an attack on the poster above. I''VE used this argument... we all probably have, one time or another. But the thing is, we need to get PAST this.

I think we can ALL agree that it''s not the game''s fault, per se. I think we can also all agree that it SHOULD BE a personal choice and personal responsibility issue. From my point of view though, parents AREN''T being responsible, and these games ARE getting into the hands of kids who shouldn''t have them.

So what do we, as a society, DO? Do we just say ""it''s the parent''s fault"" and move on? Do I really WANT a generation of young adults to be spending ""150 hours"" of gametime in the GTA:SA world? Do I think it''s a great idea to show them the ""softer, cooler, social aspect"" (see article link above) of gang life, as Rockstar seems to want?

Look... I think i WANT to play this game. And as an adult, that''s my right. But I don''t want this, and other games like Manhunt, to fall into the hands of millions of pre-teens as we all pretty much KNOW will happen (don''t we?).

Do games cause people to do bad things? I don''t think so for most people. Was their violence and gangs BEFORE video games? Of course. Do I, as a teacher, want my students to learn about how cool it is to join a gang when they so very easily CAN in real life? Of course not.

So what is the answer?

I have no idea.

But it keeps me up nights.

I''m not saying that my post is the end all be all of this arguement, but it''s hard to say that ONE violent game caused this.

Now, admittedly, I haven''t played Manhunt. The ads I saw for it weren''t particularly impressive to me. But, I find it hard to believe that unless there was already something wrong with the kid (which the parents must have been missing) then it''s unlikely that the game so viciously twisted his psyche that it caused him to kill someone...

That, to me, will always be an excuse. An excuse for what? POOR PARENTHOOD. Unless this kid''s mental problems are self-sustaining to the point where they hid from everyone until the moment he killed his mate... a LOT of people were missing something there. Parents, friends, teachers...

I mean, I know teacher''s have a lot on their mind... I''m training to be one... but even people i''m indifferent to like the jerks and elitists of my school... are asked if they''re ok when they''re looking downtrodden. I''d have to imagine something was definitely ignored here... but maybe that''s just me *shrugs*

"Demosthenes" wrote:

I''m not saying that my post is the end all be all of this arguement, but it''s hard to say that ONE violent game caused this.

Now, admittedly, I haven''t played Manhunt. The ads I saw for it weren''t particularly impressive to me. But, I find it hard to believe that unless there was already something wrong with the kid (which the parents must have been missing) then it''s unlikely that the game so viciously twisted his psyche that it caused him to kill someone...

That, to me, will always be an excuse. An excuse for what? POOR PARENTHOOD. Unless this kid''s mental problems are self-sustaining to the point where they hid from everyone until the moment he killed his mate... a LOT of people were missing something there. Parents, friends, teachers...

I mean, I know teacher''s have a lot on their mind... I''m training to be one... but even people i''m indifferent to like the jerks and elitists of my school... are asked if they''re ok when they''re looking downtrodden. I''d have to imagine something was definitely ignored here... but maybe that''s just me *shrugs*

I totally agree, however I do think that Manhunt probably made a contribution, however small, that may have pushed an already unstable mind over the edge. However it was unstable in the first place because of the morons around him who observed and did nothing.

Am I the only person who saw the reference to the fact that the killing was likely drug related - ie he killed his ""friend"" because he wanted to rob him and pay off a drug debt. I couldnt find a mention of the drug the murderer was on, but it seems to me this is a ""barrister''s"" grab at a defense - pure and simple... As most people have posted it is a matter of parental responsibility and perhaps there may be some parents who should feel the sting of litigation for the actions of their child. As a whole society has moved away from ""personal responsibility"" for one''s actions and circumstances to blaming someone else or something else for ""whatever"". The individual is 17 (would most likely be treated as an adult in the States) and committed and adult crime should be subjected to whatever penalty England has to offer for the crime - case closed. While the game should not have been sold to a minor - where was the parent, the supervision, the guidance, the love, and the framework for instilling in the child both a sense of personal worth and a respect for others...

- Spy

Woah, I missed the whole drug thing...

Well screw that then... I mean, there''s probably a point of bad parenthood... not teaching good decision making... economics or the whole... no drugs thing...

But that was his freaking fault then. Pft.

I know I''m gonna be in the minority here, but I certainly think that violent games played constantly by kids have a profound effect on them. It''s the old adage ""garbage in, garbage out"" that we used to say in computer programming classes when we had data cards. Lots have to fall on parents'' shoulders for allowing it, but if kids play things like Vice City and Doom 3 (can''t wait, but I''m 42 and turning 43 Thursday), then that is violent information going in their brain, info that they were an active participant in.

Parents may not always know if their kids are taking drugs, but they should certainly know what video games they are playing in the family living room!

it does make me wonder what these types of games do to the minds of young people.

IMO, it should make you wonder how a young man could be influenced enough by a flavor-of-the-month game to commit murder.
Did his parents talk to him in general? Did they talk to him about games? About what was going on in his life? Their lives? Did they play games with him? Did he and his mate have an argument? Over a girl? Money?

In essence, two very important questions, neither of which the parents can be expected to be trustworthy in replying.
1) Was there a parental/familial void that left this child succeptible to media influence, or a possible mental imbalance in the child?
2) Are the parents and the child ""close"" enough and are the parents clinically knowledgeable enough for the parents to be able to diagnose an obsession with a game? Did they communicate well and often enough to actually know this? If so, it raises questions of why the situation was allowed to persist.

Yes, it''s a roundabout way of saying ""where were the parents?"" but I think these are important questions to be asked in any situation where parents feel that their children or their children''s friends are unduly influenced by any medium, not just games.

but if kids play things like Vice City and Doom 3 ... then that is violent information going in their brain, info that they were an active participant in.

Sorry to d.p., but here goes...
This argument, to me, has always been silly. You might as well say:

but if kids play things like Cops and Robbers and Cowboys and Indians ... then that is violent information going in their brain, info that they were an active participant in.

or:

but if kids read things like The Hobbit and Grimms'' Fairy Tales ... then that is violent information going in their brain, info that they were an active participant in.

or:

but if kids watch things like Bugs Bunny and Star Wars ... then that is violent information going in their brain, info that they were an active participant in.

In my examples, I''ve purposely dropped the age in question to around 7-10 for the violent media, but it only gets more violent as we move up. I don''t agree with the idea that playing a game is any more engaging than reading a book or watching TV/Movies, and therefore don''t buy the ""active participant"" theory. When I read or watch movies(and to a lesser extent, TV), I am often fantasizing that I am there, participating, not merely observing, consuming. For this reason, I don''t believe you can segregate gaming from the other media psychologically. Physically, yes, but mentally/psychologically, no.

And why doesn''t anyone ever complain that it''s because of the war coverage on TV, or those darned Cops and Robbers sessions, eh? You don''t get much more visceral than the war coverage and you can''t get much more active than cops and robbers/cowboys and indians.