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Maybe violent video games do cause some violence, but does censorship help?
Mihir Despair's profile photoContracts, Law & More's profile photoRyan Creed's profile photoBob Cloninger's profile photo
That sign needs a 'BRO' at the end.
Didn't learn your lesson the first time? Censorship ENCOURAGED more violent games to appear. You humans just can't be this f*$&ing stupid. it's just not possible. i mean OMG, how have you not killed off your society yet? Please Do the rest of us in the universe a favor and nuke yourselves before we are forced to do it for you.
The training and de-sensitization in video games is excellent preparation for war. If you would ban war guns, is it unreasonable to look at war training, too?
Ok I gotta pipe up.  The problem is not violence in video games.  The problem in fact is not violence at all.  Some violence is, in life, required.  For example, when a police officer shoots a madman with a gun who is going to kill a bunch of people, the officer is committing violence.  But we applaud him.  He saved lives.  So "violence" is not the problem.  The problem with violence is video games is the type of violence, not violence itself.  In some video games the violence is purely nihilistic.  Grand Theft Auto comes to mind.  The violence of the protagonist is nihilistic - you play a thug who runs around stealing stuff and doing damage.  Oh great.  However, in another game, a totally different kind of violence is presented.  I'm going to make one up - in The Paladin Of Palamir game you play a Heroic Knight who saves the lives of innocent villagers from monsters, brigands, and other bad things.  There is plenty of violence in the game.  But the protagonist is a good guy, not a bad guy.  

To me that distinction is incredibly important.  If we as a society go down the simple-minded path of banning violence in video games (and what about TV, and movies, and books, etc?) then we are going to go have made a knee-jerk mistake to solve a problem that was incorrectly defined, with a solution that does more harm than good.  What we want is to cultivate an understanding of when violence is the right solution, and when it isn't.  Because - sometimes violence is the right answer, in fact.   
Censoring video games is--in clear terms--a stupid diversion. Kids get massacred by a psychopath and the answer is to blame video games?! Give me a friggin' break. I have heard this way too often in my lifetime and it gets more inane every time it comes around. If you were born before 1965 you may have never played a video game, but you have no excuse to be without reason. If you think video games cause mass murders, you're an idiot, at any age. Focus your energy and time on better, reasonable and safe gun laws, because children aren't dying from BFG-9000s, they're dying from automatic weapons and assault rifles purchased legally.
I would think that video games provide an alternative to this mass shootings.  I know I've been upset before and fragging some people on CoD or Halo has helped relieve the frustration and anxiety from every day life.  Taking that away from people may cause more harm than good.
+Bob Cloninger Guns kill people. And people kill people, too. And laws are not perfect and need to be constantly discussed and revised. But video games do NOT kill people.
Video games come with ratings just like movies. If parents are too stupid/lazy to take a look at the rating before buying it for their kid then that is there problem. DO NOT ruin my games just because you are a lazy parent and want the world to raise your kids for you. 
Are sports cars causing the most accidents?

Video games are not designed to kill. Guns are.
If there really needs to be an alternative to mass shootings, then there's a major psychopath problem. I mean, if someone is thinking, "Man I need to play these video games as an alternative or I'm going to go out and shoot everything," then they are probably psycho. I've been playing video games for over three decades and they have never been more than entertainment. Because that's all they are.
It didn't take long for politicians and pundits to jump from guns to a much easier target.  The lesson:  you need a powerful lobby like the NRA to avoid regulation.
What kind of political speech is being sensored here?
Absolutely true, +Samuel Colunga , the differences now are in our honing of targeting reflexes and the availability of high capacity semi-automatic weapons. Blessedly, the disasters are fewer than they might be, but the human brain is a wonderfully complex thing where, sometimes, things go wrong. In the past, it was veterans that had these skills, and even then things went wrong. Now, most teenagers have the same or better reflexes so there's just more opportunity for things to go wrong.

I'm a long time target shooter that's also an IT Professional. I'm no friend of gun control or censorship but we must take a realistic look at what's happening and decide what rights we're willing to trade to protect innocents. I believe this means mental health, restrictions on the types of guns that are available, and restrictions on training material in every form - including video games. Games have always been preparation for life, including battle, so save the nonsense about their innocence. 
+Joseph Tavano , I've shot guns all my life but never wanted to shoot another human being. Murder is psycopathy meeting opportunity - mass murder requires training, tools, and mental illness that I don't have words for. Games and guns don't make the psychopath, they just train and equip him.
J Ther
Of course you can't rely on ratings 'cause that would require parents to actually take some time and get involved in their children's lives.  So many shitty parents want the rest of the world to change and be kid friendly just so they don't actually have to do any parenting.
To be honest I don't think video games are the problem :/ it could factor in to a multiple knowledge base of violence that is readily available for anyone who seeks it .. I think media and the government just needs something to blame when evil and violence have been around for ever .. :/ 
+Bob Cloninger I agree with so much of what you say, but I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that video games train anyone for anything beyond being good at video games. There's a lot of evidence to support that, as well. 
Aaaaaaaand Tech Crunch just lost me.
+Bob Cloninger The video games as murder/killing simulators argument has been diseccted and quite thoroughly refuted.  Point of fact: soldiers who have spent a large amount of time playing violent video games, including first person shooters, show no less hesitation the first time they have to fire on an actual person than those who have never touched a violent video game.  The psychological argument, therefore, is pointless.  And the skills and tactics used even in the most realistic of first person shooters don't carry over to an actual firefight either.  In fact, they teach a lot of bad habits in that regard that need to be unlearned in the process of actual military training.

There IS a correlation between violent video games and murder rates, but it is an inverse one; murder rates have been decreasing.  Note that this doesn't prove anything; the two are likely not connected in any way.
+Kevin Murray Exactly. If video games were training, we'd all be amazing guitar heroes and build our cities with giant floating platforms that we'd have to double-jump to get to.
+Joseph Tavano, the evidence of video games as causative agent in mass shootings is ambiguous at best. Mass shootings happened before video games or wide spread availability of semi-automatic rifles. It seems unlikely that either one cause a mass shooting but I believe they make them worse.

Have you ever practiced mental imaging to improve performance at something? It's an established and effective technique that is proven to increase performance and video games actually take it a step beyond by aiding the visualization. 

Like I said, I'm no friend of gun control or censorship but we have a social problem and we need think clearly and dispassionately to solve it. 
+Kevin Murray, you're right, correlation is not causation. And the last studies I looked at were still unsure why some grunts shot to kill while others didn't. Tough guys may puke and wet themselves and while a passive one turns into a tiger. Then pukes and shakes after the firefight. Go figure. But neither of those are psychopaths. 
+Bob Cloninger Thank you for a respectful response and debate.
In response, just because you or anyone else believes video games make mass shootings worse, doesn't make it true. Enough studies have been done, there is just no correlation to be made. That's why hearing this argument rise up again is in my opinion idiotic. However, there is a clear correlation between the shocking availability of semi-automatic guns and the ability to kill schoolchildren in seconds.

I have practiced mental imaging. Video games do nothing of the sort. Another correlation that doesn't add up.

I agree with your third paragraph. There is a social problem and this society needs to stay focused and solve it. Video games are a distraction. My parents told me that when I needed to do my homework, too, ironically, when I was eight.
+Joseph Tavano I would clarify your statement regarding mental imaging in regard to video games.  It is true, to an extent, that video games give a nice, realistic imagery.  However, even in the most detailed, realistic video game there is a huge gap between it and reality.

+Bob Cloninger it should also be noted that mental imaging is effective mainly because of what it leaves out, allowing the mind to focus specifically on what is necessary to the imagined task; extreme realism actually detracts from this significantly.

Basically, video games already have too much detail to be effectively used in place of mental imaging, and the detail they do have is just plain wrong.

My uncle is a USMC drill instructor, and they have a rough time training gamers specifically because of what they've 'learned' from games.
+Joseph Tavano, if I'm recalling this correctly, the studies on video games and violence are ambiguous - probably because young men are the ones most likely to play and coincidentally the ones most likely to act out violently. It would surprise me if there were causation, but there absolutely is a training effect - ask the US Army or Marines.

Keep in mind that I'm not saying video games cause violent behavior. There is no proof of that. There is proof of training effect (I've collected small samples of it). And guns do not cause violence - take away guns and watch stabbings increase - but they do amplify it.

I read the posted article again, and I'm wrong - apparently there are studies showing violent video games cause violence. The final study he cites touts cooperation as a mitigating factor, but that study was done by a communications major, not a psychologist or sociologist, so it's questionable.
+Bob Cloninger "Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin

"The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." -Thomas Jefferson
+Henry Stern While I personally agree with both sentiments...

Devil's Advocate: The fact that these are celebrated historical figures doesn't necessarily mean they are right, nor does it mean they're applicable in modern times in the same way as they were at the time when they were originally voiced.  We are in a different world today, with completely different political and social contexts that historical speakers were not by any means prepared to address.

But just to reiterate: I agree with both statements.
+eQuibbly, which claim? That there's a training effect for video games? Yes - going back almost 40 years that I'm aware of. That they cause violence? Yes, again. 

+Henry Stern, I'm very familiar with the arguments and very few are talking gun ban and even fewer are talking confiscation so let's please have that discussion another time.
+Kevin Murray Great points. I agree, too, but it's clear those are nothing more than wise sound bites. Not every word they said is elastic and applicable as the Constitution is regarded. While I would love to know how they would handle today's issues, those quotes are 18th century comments, not 21st century policy.
+Bob Cloninger There is no evidence that video games cause violence.  If anything, it is far more likely that those who are drawn towards violent video games are those who have a natural tendency towards violence.  One would expect that those who are averse to violence as a whole would be put off by violent games as well.

Speculation aside, and talking hard data: there is in fact a reverse correlation between the availability of video games and the violent crime rate.  This does not prove that violent video games reduce violence, but it does a pretty good job of shooting the "video games cause violence" argument in the foot.
+Kevin Murray I'm well aware it doesn't make them right. However they say much more profound things than anyone I've been alive to witness.

+Bob Cloninger video games are only the beginning. Blame games blame guns blame low income. Nobody ever blames the correct thing which would be how we've become a very warped and disturbing country. Every day on the news it's about killing. Can we ban the news so people don't get any ideas? Same thing different venue. 
+Kevin Murray , according to the article there is evidence. And as I said, I know there's a training effect - we tested it in the 1970's and I know there's more research since.

+Henry Stern , for the third time here, I'm no fan of gun control or censorship but we will be dealing with these issues very, very soon.
Yes it does if you think music does then of course repetition , you are what you put in and see . Some what..
The glaring problem is that all of the countries cited have tougher gun laws, so their rates of gun violence are bound to be lower. Given the same access, what would the rates be? No way to know, and no ethical way to test. Remember, I'm talking about training effect - automating the reflex to spot, track and shoot a target. This kind of training may not spark an incident but it will increase the body count.

His assertion that gun violence are inversely correlated is completely unsupported by the data. He only shows that countries with restrictive gun laws buy more video games (without demonstrating what kind of video games) per capita and have lower gun crime. Junk science.
Ok let's say computer games do cause violence, but they would only cause it with people who do not have stable minds otherwise we would have a worldwide population problem because everyone would be killing everyone everywhere. So why isn't our governments doing more to help mentally unstable people? 
+Ryan Creed , you hit the nail on the head! We definitely have a gun problem and a mental health system problem in this country! Video games look like contributors, but all of these are manageable until you add a troubled mind.
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