Violent video games do not need to be censored by the government, and that parents should be the ones to stop their children from playing games they deem inappropriate.
Claim: For many years now there has been a group known as the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB for short. The group has been a leading factor in how games are sold and it is run by the government, but the program is completely voluntary and does not need to be upheld. In the article The Dubious Perils of Pac-Man by Timothy Maher, he records people’s stories about some of the first violent video game outrages. The stories talk about the connection between violence in the real world and video games; a big reason people say to censor some games. However, the article states that kids that play video games “show no detrimental effects from the activities of their youth”. This is a very important part of the puzzle. If the government has no true proof that they need to block these games from children, why should they. Even if the government were to do so there would be almost nothing stopping parents from going to the store and say that they are buying the game for themselves only to then go home and give the game to the child. If a parent feels their child is ready for a game of a violent nature, why put a barrier in between this decision and the parent?
Another point is that this “connection” between videogames and violence, doesn’t hold much water. In an article by Erik Kain called The Truth about video games and gun violence, he gives examples of how many studies on these “connections” may point to violence having a connection to video games but none of them have enough proof and that a lot of this proof ends up with “conflicting results.” Such as one study done by The University of Georgia in 1984 “found that playing arcade games was linked to increases in physical aggression” and another study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine done a later year said “ arcade games have a “calming effect” and that boys use them to blow off steam”. Kain also mentions “results from another metastudy showed that most studies of violent video games over the years suffered from publication biases that tilted the results toward foregone correlative conclusions”.. The fact of the matter is that for as much proof as there is to show that violence in the real world and violent video games being part of that, there is another study just around the corner that has more research, is unbiased, and is able to counter another argument.
The final point is that video games and real world violence only sometimes overlap. An article by Dana Beyerle titled Conviction upheld in ’03 Fayette slayings, talks about a man named Devin Moore, who killed three Fayette police officers. When brought to court his defense was that the video game “Grand Theft Auto” made him commit the act. This however did not matter in the case as the death penalty was still given, not affected by his nonsensical claim. Whenever a murder or crime happens there are stories about it, and very much of the time the stories are analyzed and a cause is important for people to find, but whenever the “cause” is said to possibly be video games or any other controversial subject at the time the problem blows up again, gets second wind, and jumps back into relevance. Only most of the time when it does get second wind it is only used against this “cause”. That however is a whole nother can of worms that can be thrown in a box and saved for another day. Now to the counterclaim.
Counterclaim: Brandon Keim on the PBS website wrote an article called What Science Knows About Videogames and Violence to show how these two are related. Keim brings the game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” into light. He does an amazing job describing some of the situations in the game, and really does make you imagine what happens in the game. Keim also shows his concerns and worries about what these games do to those who play them, and mentions “vicarious slaughter” the game rewards the player for.
Keim also looks into the studies and experiments on this subject. He brings up evidence that many people will play a violent game and then be given a word such as “explo_e” and instead of seeing the word explore, they see the word explode. Keim also cites experts and statistics saying the “Studies involving 130,000 people, and results show that playing violent video games increases aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, and physiological arousal,” which is a quote from Brad Bushman, a psychologist from Ohio state university.
Another article, this time by Jeffrey Brown, also from PBS called Can Violent Video Games Play a Role in Violent Behavior? goes over many other, yet still related issues. This article cites statistics, facts, some experts, and looks at many cultural reasons the connection may be more clear then we believe.The article quotes many experts, such as Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown, and Brad Bushman again. The article takes many quotes anonymously from people who play or know about these kind of games such as “And you can just cycle through your weapons and continue going around and killing people.” which is talking about first person shooters and “If I’m playing “Call of Duty,” I don’t, really, like, notice how violent it is. I don’t think about, hey, I’m actually shooting this guy. I don’t get upset because like they are actually shooting me. I get upset because I’m not — it’s more of a competition thing, I feel like”. These do point to violent games making some people more aggressive, It also looks at the fact that if violent tendencies do not begin to happen, many players are still desensitised to violence, and can have violent thoughts. It desensitises them to this and makes the player feel as though it’s just another game.
Rebuttal: There is still no true definitive connection, despite the proof the counterclaim tries to find. There is no way to truly tell who is acting certain ways because of these games, and many of these results where from tests that came from biased sources. but the aggression that is caused is not as bad as many think it is. One person that has very much bias on videogames and violence is Jack Thompson. Thompson is an American activist; he hates any violent or obscene content in any game. This anger and hate of these types of games is what creates his bias, and when he speaks on topics involving violence in real life, he almost always has a way to bring it back to video games, many times with little proof. In an article done by NBC News called Were video games to blame for massacre? In this article they look at an interview with Thompson on the Virginia Tech Shooting and his statement was”These are real lives. These are real people that are in the ground now because of this game. I have no doubt about it,” This shooting was a horrible action, done by someone who was not right in mind; but this is no excuse to turn around and blame it on something you have a slight problem with. When I play a competitive game I get competitive, I’ll try to win. Sometimes this competitiveness may stay for a while after the game is finished but it won’t make me do anything drastic or violent to others. It just simply does not work like that.
The whole idea of “underage gaming=uncontrollable real life violence” is far too overgeneralized. There is no definitive connection and there is not enough proof to say there even is one. There is nothing wrong with playing violent games as a minor; as long as your parents trust you and the player can distinguish from how to act in a game and how to act in life, then there won’t be anything wrong. There are also a lot of false analogies in the counterclaim. The conclusion that video games cause violence is far too much of a leap to be true; and what about before videos games, I seem to remember many acts of violence from those times. Many of these acts became some of the most well known acts of violence in history. In the article Researcher says linking video games to gun violence is a ‘classic Illusory correlation’ by Matt Peckham, an expert gives his opinion on the matter. What I am saying is there is not enough proof to say there is a connection; there is not enough proof to say there is a true relation; and there is not enough proof to say a violent game will cause such big problems.
The next point though is that in many of these cases video games can actually help with many of these issues in the counterclaim. Everyone gets stressed and as a teenager this is especially true. While teen problems are not as big and life changing sometimes it is still stressful nonetheless. We need ways to rid of our stress, and video games are perfect for this. From games where you can run around and be able to feel like a big-bad-awesome-soldier, or a game where you can become a champion boxer with a realistic assets to it; they can all make someone feel important and relieve a lot of the stress from day-to-day life. Another aspect that games, and yes even violent war games, can teach us is teamwork and strategy. You can learn how to communicate with multiple different people at once and come up with a plan to get a goal. This building of teamwork can help out at much more points in life then the game “causing” violence at few points.
The last point to bring up, and my opinion the greatest is, what gives the Government the right to deem what’s inappropriate for minors. The only people that be able to say what is or is not appropriate for children is their parent or guardian. When a movie with some suggestive themes is being played in school, do the teachers give permission slips to the children so that the Government can sign it? No the slip goes to the child’s parent or guardian. There is no reason for the Government to be involved in this problem. The only thing they should be doing is putting the ratings on the game and nothing else on this subject. Let the parents of the children deem what’s appropriate. The rating system has always been voluntary and most stores do require parents permission to buy the game when a minor is making the purchase. Thats just my opinion however. Think about it; would you really want the government to decide what’s appropriate for people?
Call To Action: Please go to this site,
and voice YOUR opinion on the matter. It just takes about 5 to 10 minutes to write and voice your feelings on the subject. You’re on the internet anyway, just pull up a video in another window and type while watching. Thank you for reading.