Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The video game debate

Another day, another tragic story implicating violent video games in actual physical harm.

In this case, an American teenager is claiming that playing the game Halo 3 made him so perturbed that when his parents took it away from him, his only response was to shoot them.

The boy's father, who was shot in the head, survived, but his mother tragically did not.

You can read the story here

The Judge in the trial has rejected the claim, saying that the youngster had planned the attacks for weeks.

The press has a long history of using the Hypodermic Syringe theory to claim that violent video games inject their ideologies of aggression into those who play. Of course, this is a hot potato, but there's as much evidence for either side as there are proponents and opponents of each corner.


Don said...

I just read about STDs are on the rise in the USA. The press paints it as an economic issue (less access to health care) and an issue of education (if "they" only knew what was good for them). What none of the mainstream press (nor government - Center for Disease Control) are willing to say is...

Maybe personal choice is an issue.

Blaming the system (Halo 3, poverty, and health care education, or even access to guns) isn't the answer. That's a small part of the problem.

The larger problem is more likely in the areas of self-control, self-determination, and who-knows-what.

Dan Felstead said...

My wife and I are on different sides of this issue. Our 23 year old son plays all of them..Halo, Fallout, Half Life etc. My view on this is that the reaction to the violent games is totally dependent upon the personality of the participant. Some are more vulnerable to the stimulation than others. One person can play and move on with life...the next will act out the scenarios in life.
Parents should be aware of how vulnerable the child is...if very impressionable, they should not play the game.

TesoriTrovati said...

Hi Sacha-
Interesting argument. Is it nature or nurture? I would argue both. I agree that it comes down to your personal choice and self-control and not a 'blame-game'. There is not enough personal responsibility for your actions in our society today. I think that there are some that are more impressionable and susceptible to the suggestive nature of the violence of these games, but being around that sort of violence, particularly in a 'play' situation dulls your capacity to see that violence is violence no matter where it is. We have chosen to not allow gaming systems in our home. Our children would love to have it, but our preference is that there are so many more wonderful things to do in the world than sit around and
respond to a tv screen. We send our kids outside to play and to read and to exercise their own imaginations (gasp! the horror!) rather than depending on some gaming console to do it for them. I am particularly disgusted by the violence that appears in games, and in the tv commercials for it. Why? Is it 'fun' to shoot at virtual people and watch virtual blood splatter? Is it 'entertaining' to participate in virtual theft and destruction as long as it remains on the screen? No way. I don't agree that there are any redeeming qualities to them. But if it is your choice to allow your kids to do it, and they have the maturity to separate fact from fiction, I cannot argue. The sad thing is that I see parents of 7 year olds buying them Grand Theft Auto at Target. Makes me wonder what it is like at home...

Jerome.cant@gmail.com said...

halo 3 isn't even that violent, the kid should have claimed it was GTA....

on a serious note though why are videogames always blamed for any violent acts carried out by children? is it that the reporters like having something to blame for these atrocities? i bet if you looked through the collection of films the Kid had there would be violent film there, are films not more realistic than games? In a game you are driving the story forward and you actions have the outcomes, but in films, many of the violent acts are carried out by the child's idol and the amount of money thrown at the films make them far more believable than games ever could be. i.e. my sister used to truly believe that people actually died in films, but in the games she saw me playing she clearly understood the element of fantasy in them. The media putting a bad label on games is ridiculous, it creates insane campaigners that haven’t even completed a game like ‘GTA’ or the even more controversial 'man hunt' the fact that one or two children 'blame video games' for their violent acts is probably created by their lawyer so the penalty of the crime is not as heavy. An example of this is two American kids who armoured themselves up and killed most of the children in an elementary school. at the time this was blamed on the game 'GTA3' as the kids had it, and of course the media jumped on a chance to condemn it. Weeks later sadistic videos of the boys were found, and it turned out they were devil worshipers. i can't find a link but my point is still valid, and if anyone can point to me how films are less realistic/suggestive than videogames id happily accept that point.

sorry for the long reply again, in off games =[