What if yourfavorite hobby was considered a crime? Violent media leading to violence hasbeen a controversial topic discussed for many years. Some articles have shown acausal link between the two, and some prove that the articles that did show acausal link, have some sort of flaw in them. One of the many articles I will bereferring to today is “Do video games lead to violence?” By Susan Scutti atCNN, which favors the side that video games do cause violence. I will alsosupplement my thoughts through scholarly journals that I found such as “PRIMING EFFECT OF COMPUTER GAME VIOLENCE ONCHILDREN’S AGGRESSION LEVELS” By Jia-Kun Zheng and Qian Zhang, in which theauthors explain to the reader about their research on aggression levels betweenmale and females after given violent video games to play and “Does MediaViolence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When” byChristopher J. Ferguson which talks about spikes in societal violence throughhistory and what type of media was being broadcasted at the time. A fewadditional sources include an editorial that I used was called “The Need for aResearch Focus on the Possible Causal Link Between Violent Behavior andVideogames” by Clebourne D.
Maddox and D. LaMont Johnson which tells the readerabout how video gaming has increased in the past couple years and how muchmoney it produces, and “Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?”By ProCon.org in which they searched the web for the top pro and con argumentsof video games having a causal link between youth violence. I have used thesearticles to explore what approaches can help researchers best settle thequestion of the relationships between the consumption of media violence andactual acts of societal violence. ProCon.org is a website thatdisplays both sides of an argument by stating and citing facts that they havefound throughout the web.
Some pros, or points that support a link betweenviolent games and violence, are that bullying is increased significantly withthe playing of a game. “60% of middle school boys and 40% of middle schoolgirls who played at least one Mature-rated (M-rated) game hit or beat upsomeone” (Procon.org). According to the website, most of the boys and girls whohave played a violent video game admit to hurting or beating up one of theirpeers. From my point of view, the middle school I went to has an abundance ofvideo gamers, including me, and not one of them had bullied or got in troublefor being too aggressive. They talk about an incident where two teens who shotat cars passing them and also killed one driver- the two teens reportedlystated that they got an idea from a well known violence oriented video gamecalled GTA III, which has been played by millions.
Later on in the essay, inClebourne’s article, we will see that more than half of the households inAmerica contain a video game console. It should not be a shock to see twoAmerican boys playing one of the top grossing games in the world. The website”pro’s” seem to support that violent video games can lead to violence. Theyalso state that many perpetrators who have committed mass shootings were saidto be avid FPS or, first person shooter, video game players. Some of the cons,or points, that say there is no causal link between the two, are that there hasbeen an increase in violent video games sales, but a decrease in actualviolence. “Total US sales of video game hardware and software increased 204%from 1994 to 2014, reaching $13.
1 billion in 2014, while violent crimesdecreased 37% and murders by juveniles acting alone fell 76% in that sameperiod” (ProCon.org). If there is an increase in game sales but a decrease inviolence, this could be an indicator that video games help those with violentmannerisms control their impulses. At this point, the argument that violentvideo games can cause violent behavior can go either way.
The website alsostates that most studies that show a causal link are not accurate. ProCon.orgnoted that scientists only study aggression levels of a person after they playa couple minutes of the game, which is not accurate to how much is reallyplayed by the average human. A scholarly article by Jia-KhunZheng, “Priming Effect Of Computer Game violence on Children’s AggressionLevels”, shows the effects on children’s aggression levels after playing avideogame and how it differs between genders. The author first states thedifference in aggression levels between people who do not usually play gamesand people who do: “Adolescents who play violent video games more often displaymore hostile expectations and aggressive behavior than those do not play thesegames or play them less often” (Zheng). The author states that people who donot play video games as much or at all, show less aggression than the peoplethat do play video games a lot more. Later on in the article, Zheng explains tous that the study was conducted on males and females aggression levels beforeand after playing a violent game.
The other study that was conducted tested forviolent computer games increasing the levels of aggression on Chinese children.After the first study, ” we saw that most girls exhibited nervous and scaredfacial expressions when playing Virtual Cop2. Most boys, in contrast, displayedexcitement with facial expressions when playing Virtual Cop2, with some evenshouting positive words” (Zheng), which tells us that females showed more fearof the game while the males said words like, “cool”, and “awesome”. The secondstudy shows us “playing violent computer games significantly primed aggression.Specifically, as predicted, we saw an increase in the number of children whoseaggression was significantly activated after exposure to the violent, versusnonviolent, game” (Zheng).
The second study also showed an increase in violenceafter playing a violent videogame. Zheng then goes on to explain that maleswere overall more aggressive after the videogame than females, and also how theviolent computer game increases aggression levels in Chinese children. Zhengalso leaves a disclaimer, “We used across-sectional design that leaves unanswered critical questions with regard toaggression development.
Our ability to clarify thecausal correlations among the research variables over time is restricted bythis design, whereas evidence from longitudinal studies would permit moreaccurate examination of the relationship between exposure to computer gameviolence and aggression” (Zheng). Zheng tells us that the method they used tostudy this is different than what other researchers are seen to do usually andhow the results were differ from the rest. Also, a key flaw to this study isthat while Zheng identifies expressions of “excitement” or fear, this is animmeasurable trait – there is no exact definition of how these emotions areportrayed, and thus may be an unreliable indicator of aggression. The next journal that provides someinsight into the argument is “Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? ItDepends on What You Look at and When”, By Christopher J. Ferguson in theJournal of Communication, shows us graphs of different time periods and theamount of violence compared to what type of movies were being showed at thetime. The first study that Ferguson explains to us is the link between violentmovies and the amount of violence at that time. Ferguson tells us how movieviolence was decreased from 1920 – 1960 due to acts put in place by committeesthat were concerned with people seeing this violence and being influenced.
“Forthe years prior to 1940, movie violence demonstrated an almost perfect inverserelationship with societal violence with the two variables correlated r=?.98″(Ferguson), In science we learn that if the r value is closer to 1, it isdirect relationship, but the farther it gets from 1 the more inverse, oropposite it becomes. He tells us that movie violence did not affect societalviolence at all throughout the years of 1920 – 1940, even while the acts andrestrictions were put in place. In study 2, Ferguson talks about violence onlyin the 20th century without the restrictions. He tells us how this could show alink in societal violence and violence shown in movies, it will eliminate anyother outlying phenomena. In this study, Ferguson incorporates video gameviolence and youth violence also. Ferguson states that violent games are theones that are most usually popular throughout the years.
He says, “As can beseen, videogame violence consumption in society is inversely related tosocietal youth violence” (Ferguson). In a graph shown by Ferguson, it tells thereader that there is an inverse, or opposite, relationship and so there is nodirect link. “The Need for a Research Focus on the PossibleCausal Link Between Violent Behavior and Videogames” by Clebourne D. Maddox,focuses on the video games themselves and their impacton media violence. He starts off talking about CIS, or computers in school andhow technology has affected in school education. He says that his field hasbeen focusing on making mobile devices suitable for in school use, but theyneed to change their focus to finding a link between violent video games andviolence. He states that the video game market has increased, ” EntertainmentSoftware Rating Board reported that gaming is a 10.5 billion dollar industry,67% of all U.
S. households play video games, the average gamer spends eighthours a week playing video games, and 25% of gamers are under the age of 18″(Clebourne), Clebourne tells us that it is a multi billion dollar company andthat more than half of households have a video game player in it. Out of that60%, not everyone is an extremely violent person or mass shooter, when talkingabout those topics, all surroundings should be examined. Essentially, thiseditorial focuses on how the accessibility & increased production ofviolent video games requires that greater research advances be implemented todiscover if there truly is a link between violence and violent video games.
Susan Scutti of CNN also talks aboutvideo games and its link to violence in her article “Do video games lead to violence?”- She starts the article byreferring to the 18 year old shooter in Munich that was reportedly an avidvideo gamer, shootings are increasing yearly, and so is technology. InClebourne’s article, he states that 60% of all U.S. households have a videogame console in them, the study does not relate to Germany but there are goodchance that a mass shooter could have been part of that 60% and played videogames. Fingers should not directly be pointed towards only one aspects of thatperson’s life. Scutti talks about how the American Psychological Associationand the American Academy of Pediatrics are very against the idea of minorsplaying violent video games.
These associations tell the reader how violentvideo games teach minors to attack, or even kill other players online and theyare rewarded for doing so. She then brings up how the advice could be outdated, shewrites about how the choice to select to play violent video games to begin withmay indicate a disposition to violence. However, she contradicts this theorythrough a study shown in the same article which tells us, “6,567 eighth-graders …He discovered that playing video games, no matter how bloody, did not predictviolent behavior” (Scutti). There was no actual link between violence in youthand the amount of violent video games they play. At the end of the day, it all comesdown to the consumer.
Personally, I’ve grown up playing games like GTA and CallOf Duty, which are both very gory and involve a lot of gun, and I haven’t beenvery aggressive throughout my life. On the other hand, people that commit massshootings say they were influenced by those types of games. What I’ve learnedby studying these documents is that you cannot just look at aggressiveness, orspikes of violence throughout graphs. Everyone is different, the way peopleconsume the media they watch is also different. It all comes down to theperson’s influences, and psychological well being. One cannot come to aconclusion about violent behavior and violent videogames based just on thosetwo factors. There are just too many varying conclusions. Every human being maybe fundamentally the same in terms of composition, however personality typesand environment may need to be considered as key factors in research endeavorsto discover the truth.
WorksCited Ferguson, Christopher J. “Does MediaViolence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When.”Journal of Communication, Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., 5 Nov. 2014, onlinelibrary.wiley.
com/doi/10.1111/jcom.12129/full. JIA-KUN, ZHENG and ZHANG QIAN.”Priming Effect of Computer Game Violence on Children’s AggressionLevels.” Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, vol.44, no. 10, Dec.
2016, pp. 1747-1759. EBSCOhost,doi:10.2224/sbp.
2016.44.10.1747. Maddux, Cleborne D. and D.
LamontJohnson. “The Need for a research Focus on the Possible Causal Link BetweenViolent Behavior and Videogames.” Computer in the Schools, vol. 30, no, ½,Jan-Jun 2013, pp 1-3, EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/07380569.2013.
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” ProCon.org. 9 May 2017, 3:01 p.m., videogames.
procon.org. Scutti, Susan. “Do video games lead toviolence?” CNN, Cable News Network, 26 July 2016,www.