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Video Games and Violence

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There are several schools of thought about young people playing video games that contain violence. Some say these games are desensitizing death and destruction. Others say they are just games. What is your take on the violent games?
 
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We're far passed the days of Mario Brothers, Pac Man, and Donkey Kong when the enemy was some sort of mutant cartoon creature. Games today look more real and I do think many popular video games cross the line. The worst I've seen is probably the Grand Theft Auto franchise where players can smack women and murder cops in rather brutal detail. It's clear that the player is violently harming other human beings which overtime surely desensitizes some players.
 
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I agree with @DandyMandy. The Grand Theft Auto franchise seems like the worst out there since those games put unnecessary violence in "everyday" situations. At least with games like Halo or Call of Duty, the violence is taking place in a war scenario. I think the "respawning" in these games could lead to a misunderstanding of the finality of death, of the brutal power of a weapon.
 
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People have been barbaric and awful to each other since ancient history, we never needed video games to desensitize ourselves to violence and cruelty. Now we just have a convenient scapegoat for it.
 
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That's true, Zack T., but looking at the big picture, back then violence ensured survival. Now, there's just no need to murder someone when you're hungry and can go to the grocery store or food bank. Violence has always existed, but it should be taken into context and it feels like it's getting worse even though our circumstances have improved dramatically.

I sound like one of those elderly people who screams, "get off of my lawn."
 

Poppy

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I'm gutted by all the shootings that have gone on lately, but I'm with @Zack T on this one. Violence has always been a part of history and I don't think video games are to blame any more than our total lack of respect for animals and their habitat. Shouldn't both of those desensitize youth to killing? Why single out games? Every generation complains about the new generation's pop culture. It used to be rap videos that took the blame. Then graphic movies became the new favourite for explaining violent behaviour. Now, I guess we've moved on to making video games the scapegoat.
 
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I agree with everyone who has said that violence has always been a part of human history. It's shifted from violence of "necessity" to something else entirely. Why? I don't think it's because people have access to video games. I think it's because they have access to "better" weapons than our forefathers. I think historical violence would look a lot more like today's if they had all of the warfare, communication, and transportation technology/equipment that we have now.
 
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DandyMandy. I am one of those older people but I don't mind if you walk across my lawn. As a child I didn't have video games and we played outside a lot. I totally agree with you on the violence issue. It is more prevalent in our society than ever before, especially for the children and young people. Yes, we have always had violence but I truly think video games have contributed to the recent school shootings.
 
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@Kira I think there's a relationship between video games and school shootings but I think the relationship implies correlation rather than causation. Typically, the shooters tend to be loners. I would think that loners are more likely to play video games and perhaps the violent ones allow them to release some of their negative feelings about being isolated from their peers. However, that doesn't mean that the video games are what drive them to take action. Are there any specific games you have issues with?
 
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I agree with your thoughts here The Wild Things. Loners are the ones most likely to release negative feelings and emotions through video games. God of War has some very violent executions and if that's not enough, here is a whole website full of bloody games. To take this one step further, what turns children to violent video games in the first place? I believe a lot has to do with the breakdown of the traditional family unit. There are so may single parent households out there now that kids turn to anything that keeps them entertained and occupied.
 
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That's really grasping at straws, @Kira. I can't speak for everyone, only for myself and what I saw as a kid growing up in a time of video games - What I saw was it didn't matter what your background was, whether you had 1 parent or 2, whether you had 2 dads or 2 moms or you had extended family living with you or siblings, whether you were a loner or had a lot of friends - Some people liked games and talked about them a lot, and some people didn't.

There are definitely very violent games out there, like God of War, or any of the shooting war games like Call of Duty or Halo, or Grand Theft Auto - However, any reasonable person knows that these are just games and not indicative of acceptable behavior in the real world.

I was friends with "prep" kids, with "goth" kids, with depressed kids, with kids super engrossed in anime and cartoons, with my fellow wrestling obsessed friends, with gay kids, white black Hispanic and Asian kids, boys and girls - I remember in my school, the anime club would occasionally hold video game tournaments and these often revolved around fighting games, like Mortal Kombat or Soul Caliber or Tekken and others.

These are very violent games, I mean Mortal Kombat literally encourages you to kill your opponent (FINISH HIM) - But none of these kids did anything more than playfully taunt each other. No one got mad and shot each other or stabbed each other or even punched each other. It was actually a bonding experience, playing games with your friends, meeting other people and having something in common to talk about, cheering people on and all that.

There are stories about people shooting other people over video games. And they are real - But there are stories about people being violent to each other for just about any fathomable reason, with or without video games in their lives.

My long-winded point is that video games are just a scapegoat, and it always seems to be pointed out by folks who don't play them or don't understand that particular hobby. Using your logic, I'd wonder if people who are exposed to guns from an early age and taught how to use them might make more dangerous people because what if they just get mad one day and snap and they already have access to guns and know how to use them?

^^^ That above remark sounds really stupid, doesn't it? That was the point. It was a realllll big stretch of logic. Likewise, I don't think video games are what drives anyone to violence. I honestly think part of the reason that school shootings are becoming more and more prevalent is because it's something everyone's realized they can do. For the tortured and the demented, they can easily find stories of school shootings all over the country and then think "Well if they did it, then so can I" - I don't think that's the entire reason, but sadly, public shootings in schools or work places have become so engrained in our society that we all know that we could pull it off if we decided that's what we wanted to do.

The problem isn't really video games depicting violence. TV and movies and books and HISTORY ITSELF all do that too. I think the more underlying issue is that people already have examples of "successful shootings", and people being driven by abuse, bullying, tough times, mental illness, or even zealotry to commit those types of atrocities. And that's where the focus should be, on snuffing those problems out - in my opinion.
 
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Point taken @Zack T. The media definitely plays a huge role in these shootings for the "tortured and demented." They can find anything they want online including all the stories about past shootings. This may be a stretch for you but what makes these kids tortured and demented? Could it possibly start at home? Maybe abuse plays a part or the fact that mom and/or dad leave him/her alone too much of the time due to their jobs. Could it be that violent video games help release pent up feelings about what's going on? Then one day they just snap. We could both write a thesis about the subject I'm sure and yet, life goes on.
 
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There are several schools of thought about young people playing video games that contain violence. Some say these games are desensitizing death and destruction.
I come from the school of thought that violent video games might have a negative impact on the player. If simulations can be used to train the mind and person for different scenarios, such as flying a plane or preparing for war, then there's something to be said about all these people out there playing violent games. The human mind will absorb whatever you throw at it and even though games may seem innocent enough on the surface, something is happening at a subconscious level.
 
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I think it could start at home, or it could come from other places. You're right, trying to think up all the different reasons a person reaches that point is gonna be an entire encyclopedia set, and we still probably can't connect all the dots. It's not like it's 1 single moment that changes us from being our normal non-violent selves into someone who's snapped and shoots people. It's a daily grind, chipping away at people until they finally just let go.
 
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I come from the school of thought that violent video games can have a negative impact on the player. If simulations can be used to train the mind and person for different scenarios, such as flying a plane or preparing for war, then there's something to be said about all these people out there playing violent games. The human mind will absorb whatever you throw at it and even though games may seem innocent enough on the surface, something is happening at a subconscious level.
Hi, I'm new here, but just wanted to jump in and say that I 100% agree with you. And kids these days spend hours and hours every single day playing games that emulate shooting people. I think that you could take a perfectly sane person and expose them to that sort of thing for an extended period of time and something is going to happen to them on a sub-conscious level. That being said, I do believe that people who become violent in society have some type of wiring for it in the first place, and that type of mindset can be fed certain things to a point where it manifests itself in the real world.
 

Kira

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Zack T, you are so right. We all have a tendency to let stress get to us. It used to take me a couple of days to unwind when we went on vacation. Combine the stress level with violence on a video game and there could be an explosion.
 
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@Zack T , appreciate your comments about the effect, or lack of, video games have on individuals and if there's a correlation with violence. Also think you have a very valid point that video games are used as a scapegoat to explain violence. For me, when violence occurs, I have to remember not to condemn an entire industry or activity. It still comes down to one person doing something that goes against societal norms.
 
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@Zack T You make a lot of really great points. Everyone wants to be able to point their fingers and blame something because it's easier to blame one facet of our society than to believe there might be something wrong with the whole.
 
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I still contend Weasley that the whole issue goes back to the breakdown of the traditional family. It's supposed to be father, mother and children rather than single parent households. Some families are so dysfunctional it's a wonder the kids turn out at all. We could also discuss taking prayer out of schools, but that's a whole other topic that we shouldn't get into I suppose.
 
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That's a whole other can of worms to get into and probably should be it's own thread, or maybe avoided entirely as that's potentially a very heated topic.