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Sorry Folks, Games Still Don't Cause Violence

I'm not sure how many of you have heard this, but there's a guy who murdered 3 people and said that playing video games made killing easy for him. Here's the story about that here...

This comes not that long after the American Psychological Association released a report apparently affirming that there is a link between video games and aggressive thoughts/decreased sensitivity to violence. Story about that is here.

It doesn't take a genius to see where this is all headed. This event will be used to spearhead further attempts by various groups to do things like censor games, shame game development into changing direction towards certain ideologically motivated ends, be used as a political talking point, etc...

But, sorry to those folks, games don't cause violence. At all.

A guy that says playing games made it easier for him to kill should no more be believed than a person telling their child that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Ask anyone who has ever even used a gun how different it is to do so versus doing so in a game. Ask a solider who has had to kill people if it ever felt "easier" after going through simulations during training. It's a load of garbage.

The man clearly had pre-existing issues and shouldn't be trusted.

But to move on to the possibility of games increasing aggressive thoughts, I remind people that any activity where competition is present does so as well. Aggression is fueled by the desire to succeed, and aggression is not inherently bad or negative.

When you play sports, you are aggressive and have aggressive thoughts throughout the game. It's only natural. Doesn't mean you're going to go and kill someone after the game, or even during the game. It also doesn't mean that you are less likely to feel a negative emotion about violence either, because you were only being aggressive to succeed, not aggressive to harm.

That's the problem with "reports" and "studies" like these, they operate under the base reasoning that Aggression = Bad = Violence and ignore so many subtleties and the nuance of day to day life.

This guy killed 3 people because he was nuts. He didn't kill 3 people because he played a shooter. Even if he hadn't played a single video game, his pre-existing mental issues could cause him to watch a movie/show, or read a book and still come to the same end result.

I don't know how many times it needs to be proven, even with multiple courts and professionals insisting every time, that games do not cause violence but with each new incident of someone trying to blame it on video games, we have to restart the fight to disprove it.

There are hundreds of millions of gamers in the world. If gaming were really responsible for violence, even making violence easier, then we'd see violent crime increasing exponentially but it isn't. In fact we've all seen that violent crimes have DECREASED. Many attribute that to video games being an excellent way to dump aggression and stress in a harmless way and I can personally attest to that myself.

We have to come to accept that there are people in the world who are messed up and stop blaming their actions on entertainment. Everyone is responsible for their own actions, no matter what those actions are.

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Concertoine2109d ago (Edited 2109d ago )

I agree that violent video games are not a serious factor in crime, but you say a lot of unsubstantiated stuff.

"In fact we've all seen that violent crimes have DECREASED. Many attribute..."

Who is "many"? Where's the statistic that says video games are a factor in crime decrease (and not the increase in police force as well as incarceration)? A controversial topic such as this can't just throw out introspection as fact.

As for my own opinion, i just think this stuff needs to stay away from kids. I actually finished an experiment over the past few weeks where we tested the effect GTA V has on kids. We measured the force they threw dodgeballs during recess and while the control group had little fluctuation the group that played dodgeball after playing half an hour of GTA V was throwing an average of 30% harder as well as more frequently. We tried other games, the increase in game violence was comparable to the results the kids produced.

It was scary to think that this significant increase in child aggression is ignored by some parents who buy their kids whatever they want.

freshslicepizza2107d ago

there are many underlying issues here. obviously not everyone is going to be traumatized by seeing violence in videogames or nudity. just like not everyone will be violent themselves if they see violence in videogames or not understand or respect peoples bodies because they see it in videogames.

what can happen is desensitizing these issues by being exposed to it so often. hang around with enough people who swear all day long and chances are you will be catching yourself doing it too without even knowing it. someone plays videogames all day every day and it could trigger someone who already has impulses and make it worse. it's a case by case study and the problem stems from lack of parenting. the tv has become the babysitter.

what is wrong with allowing kids to grow up instead of pushing all of this stuff on them so early? someone who is more mature can handle seeing violence and nudity better. we don't really need to allow them to indulge at such an early age.

you look at a movie like american sniper. those kids are exposed to war all the time so to them it is nothing. so to simply generalize and say there are no repercussions to this so leave my videogames alone is just as ignorant as to suggest anyone who is exposed will become violent.

UKmilitia2105d ago

i think if youy have a messed up head then anything can make u violent and many games could but you would have to be mental to start with imo.

on the otherside i would love to go and hunt every minecraft youtuber,pewpie etc and kill them all!!!!!!

they are the most irritating people on earth!!!!!!!

DragonKnight2108d ago

"Who is "many"? Where's the statistic that says video games are a factor in crime decrease (and not the increase in police force as well as incarceration)? A controversial topic such as this can't just throw out introspection as fact."

Who said anything about gaming being the de facto reason for the decrease in violent crime? I didn't. I said many people attribute that to gaming, but I never declared it as a fact. You're reaching.

Concertoine2108d ago

I never said you did. Factor doesn't mean "the defacto thing", it means a piece of it. It's just that i always see that in these articles. "Many/ a lot/ millions/ the majority will attest to my side of the argument."

Im not trying to attack you whatsoever. Its just a huge pet peeve because generalizing can ruin an otherwise fine argument to the unbiased spectator.

no_more_heroes2108d ago

I second what Concertoine said about generalizations, but I fully agree with what you're saying.

Videogames didn't make this guy do anything. His lack of empathy (and other things) did.

thorstein2108d ago (Edited 2108d ago )

To go with what Dragonknight has said.

When someone makes a claim (ie Video Games make people violent) then they must provide empirical evidence for this claim. Further, since this is a science claim, it must be backed up by peer reviewed published studies.

Proving a negative is fallacious. Claiming, "You can't prove they don't" isn't an argument that they do.

So, in reality, a claim must have evidence for it to be true.

As DK stated, murders have gone down as violent media has become more prolific. This is a fact. The number of murders, rapes, burglaries, assaults, and grand larcenies have all decreased for years.

Before video games were prolific it was Dungeons and Dragons that caused these things. Before that, it was books.

There are studies that have examined how people have responded to violent video games and they have been subjected to peer review and they have concluded that violent media does not make violent individuals.

Concertoine2107d ago (Edited 2107d ago )

My gripe wasn't with that though. Like i said, i agree with the assertion that games aren't a serious factor in crime. Same with the fact that crime has gone down.

Its the ambiguity of saying "many attribute this to video games being cathartic". That is a claim in and of itself. Like i said there are a lot of reasons why crime has gone down. Factually, cops and incarcerations have risen enormously in the past 20 years. Also, the advent of a more tightly knit world with everyone connected by smart phones, social media and surveillance is another definite factor (it's harder to get away with crimes without anyone seeing). Forensic advancements can be added, too. The list goes on.

The gaming population is a mere fraction of the population, and those that play violent games a fraction of that. To say it had any non-negligible effect on crime statistics is something that needs to be proven, not assumed because it sounds nice.

Just because violent media has increased and crimes descreased doesn't mean there's a correlation.

thorstein2104d ago (Edited 2104d ago )


I get what you are saying, but it is like Global Warming or Evolution: the science has been done if you wish to avail yourself of it.

I worked on this at Syracuse University. We studied the effects of violent media upon individuals. It has been proven through peer review research that it does not cause individuals to be violent.

To be honest, like Global Warming and Evolution, there is no "debate" about this. It is no longer in the realm of opinion. The only place where we see this "debate" is in clickbait headlines, sensational news stories and among the naive or willfully ignorant.

I have no problem with people who "didn't know." I am just tired of arguing the same argument with the same type of people. This argument is the exact same as global warming and evolution. They have been proven, scientifically. The research has been published, peer reviewed and built upon.

No amount of evidence will ever change the minds of those who are cognitively dissonant.

“If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?” -Sam Harris

The only place this is not accepted is in US politics.

Concertoine2104d ago (Edited 2104d ago )

You clearly don't get what I'm saying because I have agreed with you since the beginning and you just wrote another cluster of paragraphs about something I already stated i believed in the first sentence of this thread :P

Let me reiterate:

1. Like you said, claims need to be proven.
2. Claiming games have ANY effect on crime is an unusual claim.
3. It needs to be proven.
4. Saying games have ANYTHING to do with the crime decrease without any source, name, study, etc. is just as bad as saying games cause crimes. It's the other extreme. Like i said in the list above, it was unlikely it had any non-negligible impact, i would have to see proof to believe otherwise. If i didn't play GTA V, would i have gone out and robbed a gas station? If Henry Lee Lucas played GTA V, would he not have gone out and murdered people?

Just because a claim paints my hobby in a nice light for once doesnt mean it doesn't deserve to be called out for being far fetched.

DarkOcelet2108d ago

I played Resident Evil 1 and 3 when i was still 6 years old and those games were brutal at the time and i turned out ok. Games don't cause violence but they actually relieve the stress if you came from work upset about something.

DefenderOfDoom22105d ago

Yeah , i play video games to relieve myself from everyday stress also . I listen to the news on the radio about 3 hours a day because my job requires me driving around about 30 hours a week . So my point is , i play video games to help get my brain away from all the horrific violent
news i hear on the radio.


Not directly per se,I agree to that extent.They do cause desensitization and detachment to a degree in my opinion .Some amount of detachment is healthy and allows the mind and spirit to escape the reality of an often mundane or harsh existence.
Blaming a violent act solely on a video game is largely a cop-out.Likely a troubled mind lurked behind the eyes long before grabbing a controller .
The responsibility to control our actions and help those who might falter is ours.

Having said that,desensitization and detachment are very real side effects of a society in which violence ,sex and ignorance are EVERYWHERE .
My 2 cents :)

garrettbobbyferguson2107d ago (Edited 2107d ago )

"To a degree"

I would argue that they don't, at all. You have to be already psychologically impaired for it to have any sort of negative effect on you, and even that is a stretch. Put a person who plays nothing but Call of duty (or any other game that requires you to constantly kill) into a warzone or a situation that is incredibly similar and they'll break down mentally. There was even a test regarding this; a 12 - 15 year old was spurred on by his mother to spend a day with a police officer at a firing range (he's one of those kids that plays a lot of call of duty). IIRC, before the day was even over the kid was crying, saying he wanted to go home which shocked the mother. I also remember watching something on G4 a long time ago. A bunch of "gamers" joined a swat team for a day to practice some of their drills. They didn't have favorable results.

Now this was in an enclosed, 'safe' environment. I think we are misconstruing detachment and desensitization simply with the knowledge that video games are pixels and you are hurting no one.

Lukejrl2107d ago

I agree with the thought process about those who get amped up playing COD or Whatever and then believe they could handle a combat situation are wrong and immature.

I also agree that video games do not cause the violence. I do think that the correlation about violence in media, any media, can motivate someone who is already mentally weak. I do not think it to be a stretch

Kinda the same with being addicted to heroin. After the first high the addict seeks out the same feeling as the first but never approaches it, often overdosing.
The guy who shoots up a place or kills someone close, may get a high from the video game, or his aggression can be let loose in video game, but eventually he may wish to act it out in real life for the high.

Angel0fdarknezz2107d ago

I have been playing games since I was 5 currently 25. Not once have I ever though of killing some one based off of a book or a game or anything of that nature. I have though of beating people up cause of things they say online, but not because of some 3d images on the screen lol. I did not even know this was a thing. Till I accidentally click on this blog. Also my brother and sister who is 19 and 16 also played video games everyday Perty much since the age of 3-5 and they are the same. Also, why is it always the white kids (people) shooting up the place lol.

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