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Video Game Violence
Posted on Thursday, May 1 2008 @ 18:18:43 PST

This is a report I wrote for my freshman year language arts class in highschool, tell me what you think guys.

Video Game Violence

            How many times have you played a violent video game and wanted to kill or maim someone?  If the answer is not once, then you’ll be surprised to hear that that is exactly the opposite of what “top researchers” think.  They think that playing violent video games leads to actual violence.  Basically, they think that specific video games make people violent, think that they have the evidence to back up their claims, and believe any violent video game can give a person the knowledge of how to kill someone.

            Playing video games such as Grand Theft Auto doesn’t make you want to go outside and steal a car, yet that is what it’s thought of doing.  Grand Theft Auto 4 recently came out, and already there are reports of “violence resulting from the type of people who play this game.”(Keith Vaz)  The report claims that a man in line to buy the game stabbed a man walking past him in the head and neck right outside of a game store.  Reading deeper into this, I found out that the man was actually a quarter of a mile away from the store.  Another game that has been attacked lawyers is Doom.  Doom was one of the first FPS (First Person Shooters) games ever made, yet it and its sequels have been attacked since their release.  The biggest claim on it bringing violence is that it was said to have been how the Columbine shooters trained.  While the shooters had played the game, there is no room to claim that a video game can teach you or make you want to kill people.  That is like saying that watching Cops will make you want to punch a police officer if you are ever arrested.  A final game that has had its reputation tarnished from anti-game lawyers is the famed Mortal Kombat.  While this is indeed a violent game (it is the reason the video game rating system was invented) there isn’t a reason to believe it could cause violence.  The violence portrayed in the game is too fantastical to be performed in real life.  The only way it could cause violence is if you were having a mock fight, but you have the same reaction after seeing action movies.  I and many people I know have played these games for hours at a time, and not once have we ever been in trouble for being violent.

            There are supposedly hundreds of reports stating that they have scientific proof that video games make us want to be more violent.  There was a poll in the Washington Post that said 70 percent of ALL AMERICAN TEENAGE BOYS who have played Grand Theft Auto are more likely to have been in a fight then the other 30 percent.  How do you find that information?  Also, how would you ever know that that game is the cause of the violence?  There are many teenagers out there who have issues with people at school, in their family, and other influences on what they do, not just some video game that they happen to play.  In the past two years, two Harvard Professors wrote a book about video game violence.  The book was well funded, and studies were based on real life situations rather than lab rat conditions.  They found that the opposite of what happens in the lab happens in real life.  The results were that the people who played video games more were most of the time less violent than the children that didn’t.  The book they published is titled Grand Theft Childhood.  A third report I have found, which also pro video games, is written by Game Revolution founder Duke Ferris.  He looked through many reports from other sources, and found that our government has taken violence ratings from 1972 to 2003 and put them into a line graph.  He also took the liberty to add when various things that were a big fuss to lawyers came out.  The results are astounding, as violence actually decreases a good amount, around 40 percent.  With no evidence backing up the lawyers, and evidence for violence going down, there isn’t much room to blame video games.  If anything, blame the news for showing many things that are upsetting to teens and other age groups.

             There are people that say video games can teach a person how to kill someone, how to become a sharpshooter, or even pilot a plane.  Can they show you how people do it?  Yes, but so can other sources.  Games like Call of Duty are thought of as teaching people how to kill and use tactics the army uses to kill people, just because it’s an army simulator, and the army does use games like these.  However, the army uses virtual reality for their training games, and their games gives a greater impact than our games do.  They teach the soldiers different points on the battle field, while our games give you a generalization on how a battle is like.  There are also some claims that using a sniper in a video game can teach you how to become a sniper in real life.  There are claims that the shooters of Columbine, Virginia Tech, the DC sniper, and the Kentucky school shootings all used video games.  I have already discussed the Columbine report, and as for the others, the Virginia Tech shooter had never played a video game, and the DC sniper had practice with the rifle.  As for the Kentucky shooter, a fourteen year old shooting students coming from a prayer group, the police said video games taught him how to shoot people as he hit all 8 shots with 8 people.  If you look closer, the people coming out of the prayer group were in a tight group, and the boy had practiced with the gun before.  Finally, there have been claims flight simulators can teach you how to fly.  There are costly sets that can indeed teach you how to fly, but most of the time those are only parts of a flight school program.  Do not always blame the nearest or easiest source for all of your troubles.

            Video games have been around for about 30 years now.  They have been classified as an art form, and have been the attention of the media since their arrival.  Many people believe that just because the lawyers in news claim video games are the cause for their problems, they should look closer.  Often times parents are the cause, as children with a single parent are usually worse than a child with two parents.  Also, retailers cannot sell M (mature) rated games to teenagers under 17, unless an adult with them gives it to the cashier for them.  All in all, it’s up to the parents to control what their children play.  Violence does not lead to real life violence.  In fact, it’s quite the other way around.

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