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Violent Video Games

Violent Video Games

There has been too little serious public policy debate concerning how best to reduce exposure of children and youth to media violence. Many of the debates that have occurred in Congress, the popular press, and conferences have often focused on whether there is sufficient scientific evidence of harmful effects to support public policy actions. Some debates have conflated other public policy issues with the basic scientific question of whether there are significant harmful effects. Some U.S. First Amendment proponents who are vociferous critics of media violence research do not seem to understand that the scientific question (Are there harmful effects?) is different from the legal question (Are proposed policies legal under the U.S. Constitution?).

As the medical, public health, and psychological scientific communities have repeatedly stated, the scientific debate about whether there are harmful effects of media violence is over. We believe that it is time to move on to the more difficult public policy questions concerning whether modern societies should take action to reduce the high rates of exposure of children and youth to media violence, and if so, what public policies would likely be the most effective. - source

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The boundary between the military and everyday life is being eroded by videogames. The ongoing trial of Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Breivik has generated a great deal of media coverage, public debate and analysis.

Much of this has focused on claims made by Breivik that he used the “military shooter” Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to prepare for his attacks.

Critics of games and gaming very quickly pounced on his assertion to claim this was evidence of a causal link between game-playing and committing acts of violence.

To compare the video and computer game play patterns of young adolescent boys and

girls, including factors correlated with playing violent games.
Data collected in November/December, 2004 from children in grades 7 and 8 at two
demographically diverse schools in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, using a detailed written
self-reported survey.

Of 1254 participants (53% female, 47% male), only 80 reported playing no electronic
games in the previous 6 months. Of 1126 children who listed frequently played game titles, almost
half (48.8%) played at least one violent (mature-rated) game regularly (67.9% of boys and 29.2%
of girls). One third of boys and 10.7% of girls play games nearly every day; only 1 in 20 plays often
or always with a parent. Playing M-rated games is positively correlated  with being male,frequent game play, in one’s bedroom, and using games to manage anger.
Most young adolescent boys and many girls routinely play M-rated games. Impli-
cations for identifying atypical and potentially harmful patterns of electronic game use are dis-
cussed, as well as the need for greater media literacy among parents. © 2007 Society for Adolescent
Medicine. All rights reserved.

Years of research documents how witnessing violence and aggression leads to a range of negative out-comes for children. These outcomes result both from witnessing real violence (Osofsky, 1995) as well as from viewing media vio-lence (Anderson et al., 2003; Gentile, 2003). Ironically, the same parents who take great pains to keep children from witnessing violence in the home and neighborhood often do little to keep them from viewing large quantities of violence on television, in movies, and in video games.

This paper explores how war-themed video games may impact gamers' perception of modern warfare. The popularity of violent video games such as Call of Duty has prompted researchers to investigate the effects that extensive game play may have on consumers. Due to their high potential for psychological influence, enhanced by military involvement and social networking, there is reason to believe that violent, war-themed video games may have psychological effects on gamers that could negatively impact their decisions regarding war and violence.

Althea Vail Wallop
Stanford University

Who Cheers For War? Who Cheers For War?Tooltip 11/11/2011 Hits: 2422

Who cheers war?Are games our escapist fantasies, or our outlets for dealing with reality? Either way, why is our most common gameplay choice the pursuit of war?

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