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Video games causing Violent Behavior Part1

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Video games causing Violent Behavior Part1

NRA executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, made a series of Statements today, one of which points to "vicious, violent video games", as the cause for recent school shootings.

Posted by uchimatamasterMember Rating: Godmode on Fri, Dec 21 2012 at 12:01pm

    NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre in a series of statements, on a December 21st news conference in Washington, D.C. made some statements and accusations today in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  In his series of accusations of media pushing violence, he mentioned that video games could be the blame. 

LaPierre said:
 And here's another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here's one: it's called Kindergarten Killers. It's been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn't or didn't want anyone to know you had found it?

LaPierre continues, in the conference, to point the finger at movies and  music videos calling the media as a whole "...silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators...".

He goes on to make the statement "...Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography...".

A History of Blaming Entertainment Media.

 This may remind some of the older generations of the 80s and 90s when "heavy metal" bands were being sued by family members when their children, fans of the genre, committed suicide.  These families, angry and unwilling to think that they may have had something to do with their children's deaths, went after the producers, labels and artists screaming foul when their kids spent more time with the musicians music than them.

We can even go back further into the mid to late 70's when Role Playing games, the table top versions, were blamed for a series of suicides where antisocial kids, who played RPGs, had attempted, or committed, suicide.

We can even go back further into the 1950s when comic books were considered to be too violent and the blame was placed firmly on their shoulders as to kids bad behavior and the
Comics Code Authority was created in 1954 due to the Senates Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. 

People in those days claimed that "crime and Horror" comics led to children being harmed psychologically by seeing graphic images of blood and gore and would somehow cause them to have emotional problems and act out in school and at home.

Then we look at some dark days in recent history in relation to the blame of violent video games with the deaths at Virginia Tech(found to be untrue in the Report) and Columbine Highschool. Accusations were handed out where violent video games were connected to the shooters.  In court cases these accusations were thrown out as not having any relevance in the shootings.

So, it can be seen that many look to other sources for a loss in their life and not looking at more obvious and central reasons.

Are there Studies saying that Video Games Don't Cause Violent Behavior?

Well, yes!


There is a but to this.

There are studies that do have psychological implications pointing to children and the effects that a violent, or "shooter", game causes in the mind of a child playing them.  Most of these article were spearheaded by one man,  Craig A. Anderson, Ph.D., the director of Center for the Study of Violence.  Most of his studies and interviews points to changes in the brain of children during and after they play games that some would consider violent.  His studies do show that areas of the brain that control "self control" and the parts that control a persons ability to "feel apathy" for someone suffering does drop after playing. 

Many of Dr. Anderson's studies points to a level of aggression prevalent in youths who experienced, for example, "delinquency, fighting at school and during free play periods, and violent criminal behavior (e.g., self-reported assault, robbery)."  This statement points to "High levels of violent video game exposure" but fail to note that any person who is exposed to any High Levels of video game play, whether violent or otherwise, are also prone to delinquency.  This is basically just a direct correlation with video game addiction and antisocial behavior, found with any addiction taken to extremes. 

Of special note, Dr. Anderson did receive funding for his "studies" from  the National Institute on Media and the Family, a "non-profit advocacy group" that shut its doors in 2009 after numerous groups and organizations gave extreme ridicule, namely the ESRB and National PTA, in relation to their methods of research,  omission of facts, and misleading statements.  These issues were noted to have come from Dr. Anderson's research and studies.

A second proponent of video games being tied into violence is Brad J. Bushman Ph.D.  Most of his writings are directly related as a co-writer on Dr. Anderson's research.  His research was almost laughed at on a regular basis as he saw video gamers as narcissistic which leads to them lash out in a violent way.  A very interesting concept to say the least.  

That is great, but what about the Studies that gaming does not cause Violence?

Well, to tell the truth, there is not that many "scientific" studies in existence that disprove a Physiological tie between violent behavior and video games.  Most of the studies are of empirical, sociological, or psychological with evidence showing violence does not form from Video games.

Empirical evidence shows that violent crimes are trending down and video game players on the rise. With the average household, in the US, owning at least one(1) video game console, PC, or smartphone with games on them and 114,761,359 households in the US (source) that is a lot of gamers!  With 2.6 members per household that is a lot of gamers that are not committing violent crimes.

Some of the studies and research projects point  to violent activity in schools on the rise.  A simple look (Link) at the new movement in reporting of any at of play that could be remotely thought of as bullying means that kids today are taught to "tell", or report, any activity that could be construed as bullying.

Now, in today's school environment, children are encouraged to tell a teacher for any little thing that would "hurt feelings", so the events of bullying are on the increase, and with the increase in video game players, the numbers appear to rise. 

In fact there are some studies looking at the sociological and psychological helps where video gamers relieve tension and anger ( Link to Study) or it replaces "rough and tumble Playtime" (Link to Study) for adolescent video game players.

A study in the Journal of Adolescent Health (41 (2007) 7783) actually points to "Playing violent video games..." as providing "... a safe outlet for aggressive and angry feelings."

Common sense basically removes any particular evidence that haters of video games give as not being a "...casual relationship..."  "...between video games and social violence..." due to it not being conclusive.  The evidence just does not prove that playing a video game produces violent behavior in either a "high brow" or "low brow" way.

Part2 coming soon

In relation to this article:
Earlier this week, 
West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller also has asked that  the National Academy of Sciences do a study on the effects of "violent video games and other content" on children. 

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