December 30, 2002

Video Game Violence: The Hidden Dangers

Danger: Do video games make people violent?
Yes. What was once debatable is now a proven fact. Researchers have conclusively proven a relationship between behavioral violence and video game violence.

Danger: Do video games teach people how to kill?
Yes. When video games were linked to a high school shooting, a frenzy of research was launched to gather facts and investigate links between shooting violence and video games. Research concluded that first person shooter video games train players for killing. This research was proven so conclusive that the United States Army developed a popular free recruitment video game used as a virtual boot camp and killing simulator.


I will say up front that I am a gamer, and I am particularly fond of games such as Doom, Half-Life, and Halo. I will also say, however, that since I started playing, I feel, if anything, less violent than I used to. Videogames are not capable of desensetizing a normal person to violence.

What is my reasoning behind this?

It's really quite simple:
If you watch a scary movie, you can still go to sleep at night, because your subconcious mind knows that it's not real. The same thing happens with videogames.

If a person is desensitized to violence by a videogame, then the problem is most likely with the person playing it, not the game.

Sure there has been linking of violence to video games. But so have other such things. Movies and cartoons also contain violence. Any normal person seeing these things will see them as they are, completely fictional. Saying that some have caused violence due to video games first we have to take in to account that these individuals were most likely not mentally stable to begin with, who's to say that watching a violent movie didn't cause it. The fact is if they are mentally unstable to not see video games as they are, fictional, they shouldn't be playing them to begin with.

Ruining something for someone because of a small minority is outright ignorant and selfish. It is the responsibility of parents to parent their kids. Blaming a third party for being a s***** parent isn’t going to cut it.

I'll admit that I am a cynical person, mostly in regards to government and other such public affairs as well as American society as a whole. But there is a limit to that. I will, to the best of my ability, try to base my opinions on prior knowledge, but it seems to me that you are not doing that. What I mean is that your focusing on all the negative connatations about videogames. That they're mindless,violent time wasters which draw unsuspecting children into a pit of, for lack of a better word, crap. But that simply isn't true, at least not for all, or at least me. For one I know, from personal experience that videogames are an excellent stress releiver. Not everyone lives cooky cutter lives depicted by the American dream, not to say they should either. I for one find videogames as an aweing escape from the sleazy pits of reality, and I don't see anything wrong with that. I know, i could always read a book, right? But a book cannot allow one to emmerse themselves of all their senses. A book cannot reach the level of creative art and beauty shown in many of games today.I have been emmersed in many a book, but videogames, to me, surpass that, which is something only akin to my own daydreams.

I noticed that quite abit of your website focuses on single games such as Grand Theft Auto. Yes, there is no denying that the Grand Theft Auto series is indefinietly violent, but this game and others like it such as Splinter Cell and Halo are of specific genres. Not every game is dedicated to killing other things, albeit alot are, but you must understand that many games do involve killing, not just people but creatures, and other entities.Yes, killing is wrong, most understand that unless they have pycological problems, and you know what videogames understand that as well. People play games to experience that of which they've never experienced, that of which one cannot do in real life. Many games are violent in a sense but that violence stems from good vs. evil, or the war for the greater good. Violence is alive in every living thing, it's futile to run from it, and as a result it is iplemmented in alot of media today, quite often just to prove a point or idea. violence is usually just an underlying fragment which helps one understand the bigger aspect.

Videogame developer's really dont' market to kids anymore. it may seem that way to the common observer but people who play those simple violent games at a young age grow and mature, as well as their taste in games. Sure a little mindless videogame play is fun, but there are games marketed to the more mature gamer as well. Games which have deep storylines as well as characters which overshadow any violence the game may have.

There are also some games which are void of any violence at all, and i'm not talking about tetris. If a parent is truly conserned about a child's videogame experences, then that parent needs to monitor what they're playing and buying. You know it;s really not hard to read a review here and there either. Videogames are becomming more and more complex, and I know that my mind has too becuase of them. If a parent is feeling ilabout their children playing games,then they sholud do a bit of research and subject their kids to good games. Okami is a wonderful example. I don't think it's really a "kiddie" game, there are no real voice overs but it's fun, beutiful as well as enchanting. Oh, and it's totally viloence free, unless you count a wolf destroying evil entities while simealtaneously replinishing the world of color and life, senseless violence.

Well, I've ranted far enough. I hope I've given you some interesting thoughts.

My name is Mike (25 year old college student) and I play video games. Now I'm not saying I don't agree with some of what you say, but I don't believe that all the woes of this earth are brought about by the entertainment industry.

I believe that in order to deal with violent games (such as Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat) is to restrict them (like we do with booze and cigarets). I do agree that games like GTA (Grand Theft Auto) should not have been made (same with Manhunt).

I also believe that it is the parent's responsiblity (not the government's) to keep an eye on the movies, music, and games that their children play. When I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to play games above my age group (at that time KA (Kid through Adults) T (Teens) and MA-17 (Mature Adults 17 and up). Now the rating system has changed so it is easier for parents to help choose games that their child can play (E for Everyone T for Teen and M for 17 and up).

As for kids wasting their life in front of the screen, that's also the parent's fault for not putting their foot down, shutting off the tube, and making them go outside and enjoy the sunshine). Also I believe that if the child starts to act out scenes from games then it should be taken away and the parent (s) should talk to their kids about the difference between games and the real world.

And what about the government creating laws to outlaw games entirely? Not going to happen cause then you have the 1920's all over again with the rise of mobs and mafias that will bootleg any illegal product. Besides why should they waste tax payer dollars to watch our kids when its our job to do so!!!

Thank you for being patient and reading my points of view.

This is entirely ridiculous. While I concede the point that video games teach people how to kill, they do not teach any sophisticated method for doing this (Point, shoot. See, I just taught you how to kill).

Paintball actually teaches one "how to kill" better; after playing paintball for the first time, I played many "violent" video games much better than I ever had; my instincts playing paintball transferred to the game.

Video games may or may not desensitize people to violence; that is difficult to prove. However, it does NOT cause violence. An interesting article on gaming website with statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics proves this.

This information cannot be refuted.


thanks for finding the site i referred to in an earlier post.

id like to point out that the site does not take into account the increase in population. meaning that per person the violence has dropped much more than what can be seen using simple numbers.

Again, I'm 14 years old, I always post this so you know who you are dealing with, and you are aware I'm mature enough and have excellent communication skills.

Videogames don't make a teenager more violent. I'm an avid gamer, I play games like HALO, Splinter Cell, Metroid Prime, Zelda, Counter Strike, Resident Evil and Rome Total War, you may say "Wow, he plays so many violent games, I bet he has social problems and is very aggresive".

As a matter of fact, I'm not an agressive nor violent person, I have an excellent self control, and, since I know videogames are not real, it doesn't matter how many times I kill an enemy player or a monster from the game, since I'm not harming anyone.

If I played videogames, then went to school and I'd started punching my classmates, you could say I'm a violent person and need help.

As you can see, I play lots of violent videogames, and I'm not a violent person, in fact, I'm educated and a rational human being.

hey man, im a "underground" gamer but i still pass all my classes at school. and i see more violence on the news then i do in any of my games. (except gears of war on x-box 360. even i think being able to chainsaw someone in half is a little graphic. its a really good game though.) and hey, thats what AGE RESTRICTIONS are for to all those parents buying there 10 year old kid R18+ games then complaining about the content.

Game Violence Debate Killed?
Study says simulated violence is not the same as real violence.
by Micah Seff

February 28, 2007 - In a recent issue of the American Sociological Association's Context magazine, sociologist Karen Sternheimer put some heavy doubt into the theories that videogame violence directly result in real-world violence. Sternheimer claims that there is no such correlation, and that the reality might be exactly the opposite.

Sternheimer cited as evidence of this trend the fact that as annual sales of videogames and accessories has risen to over $10 billion, juvenile homicide arrests have fallen 77%. According to Sternheimer, students now have a chance of less than 7 in 10 million of being killed by school-related violence.

In a very frank and forthright manner, Sternheimer stated, "If we want to understand why young people become homicidal, we need to look beyond the games they play."

Like many have argued before her, Sterheimer contends that videogame violence has been used as a straw man argument. Rather than paying attention to more pertinent issues that might nurture violence -- such as poverty, instability, domestic abuse, unemployment, and mental illness -- reactionaries have been directing their ire at the games industry, effectively exonerating these other factors of their impact.

"It is equally likely that more aggressive people seek out violent entertainment," Sternheimer said. "After adult rampage shootings in the workplace, which happen more often than school shootings, reporters seldom mention if the shooters played video games."

Sternheimer seemed to disagree with the analytical methods of a 2001 study which found that videogames did increase aggressive behavior, stating: "They don't offer much insight as to why a few isolated kids, and not the millions of others who play these games, decided to pick up real weapons and shoot real people."

While the debate is far from over, it's nice to see sociologists looking critically at the issue.

Blah Blah BlaH. Video games do desensitise you. Fact. Also, I am a huge gamer, and i must save after i play a videogame for a log time, i feel like If someone broke into my house, i would have no trouble pulling the trigger over and over, then probably making a sandwhich or two. I feel like I could posibbly go out onto the street and kill someone, adn not care. But do I? No. Its not the video games, its the stupidity of some of the people who play them.

I'm sorry, but video games do not cause an average teen or child. I've played violent video games, and other video games since I was like 8 or so, now I'm 19 and I have still not gone out of my house to shoot anyone. I am from Norway, and there is many violent youths around, mostly foreigners. I think it's the enviroment that causes violent behaviour not video games. In my report card I have a very good english grade, but a poor mathematic grade. I play video games, watch violent movies, I do drink now and then, but still I have not killed a single person or harmed another person, except maybe when I was a little boy, before I got my hands on a video game at all.

you said video games teach people how to kill. They certainley do. They also have some sort of health measurment. in real life, one bullet could mean you're gone. whereas in games like GTA, Gears of War and Halo you have some sort of sheild or a damage intake meter. If you're stupid enough to believe that cause you dont die from a bullet wound in a game, you dont die from a bullet wound in real life, you should be locked away in a maximum security mental institution.

videogames may desensitize you but so does the news and any form of violent media. i was surprised to find my mom all upset about me playing Gears of War and then i went downstairs and on the news i heard "30 people killed in car bomb" as i watch my mom sit there expresionless and unfazed i was upset to seee how hypocritical she was. If you want to get rid of videgames for desensitizeing people then get rid of the news, 24, court T.V. and other popular shows. they all desensitise you

As a female gamer who happens to have a bit of an anger problem, I don't see the problem with violent video games. As a matter of fact, my psychologist told me that I should play MORE violent video games because he has noticed that playing said games helps me to control my anger. I'm guessing that it's because I'm shooting a group of graphics on a screen with a button on my controller so my mind registers the game as doing something akin to punching a pillow or a wall or something of that sort.

Just because someone wants to play Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Halo, Doom or whatever doesn't mean that they're going to be shooting up a school next week. The link between those two things don't actually exist. Kids who shoot up their damn school have deeper problems than a love of video games.

I am an avid gamer. I have played video games since I was three years old. Dispite the "proof" that video games raise levels of violence in children, I find myself a pacifist. I ask you why? Have I slipped through a crack or some kind of psycological loophole? The answer is no. I'm not a special child, I don't have a gland that surpresses violent urges, and I certainly don't feel the urge to reenact a scene from Grand Theft Auto. The reason I am not a psychotic mass murderer is because of my "PARENTS". my parents were always there to make sure they put what I perform on the TV and what I do in real life are two completely different things. now this post might not make it to this site, however I beleive that if parents take 10 maybe fifteen minutes every other day out of their busy schedel to teach their children. parents cannot rely on others or the media to put what their child does into context. But, that is just the opinion of a gamer.

Hm... wait a second. Doom, Halo, and all other FPS games don't give you step by step instructions on how to load a and clean a M16.

I play Halo and True Crime: Streets of L.A. and Gears of War and I feel that those can make someone violent and True Crime could lead to another school shooting?

I am a 20 year old college student. I have been playing video games with my father and older brother since I was only seven years old, and still I graduated high school with a 4.0 cumulative GPA. I honestly believe that gaming has helped me to achieve that, and I plan to encourage my future children to play games. Why? Because I also plan to PARENT my children--to teach them right and wrong, to talk to them when they have problems, and to make sure that the games they have access to are appropriate to their ages and individual levels of maturity. I will not expect the gaming industry to parent my child for me, and I certainly do not expect the government to censor the industry because OTHER parents do not want to be involved in their children's lives. This is what my parents did with my brother and me, and like the two of us, my children will play games and still grow up to be happy, healthy functioning human beings.

Guilty parents (parents who have children who misbehave, do poorly in school, or worse) love video games. The gaming industry is something that most of the generations that did not grow up with them do not understand, and therefore it is easy to pin the blame on video games when it really belongs on a lack of parenting skills. Video games do not cause violence, a lack of love, attention and very basic teaching on right and wrong and reality and fantasy do cause violence. The goal of EVERYONE who wishes to stop violence in not only children, but many adults as well, is to ensure that parents are involved in their childrens lives and that they are no longer able to place the blame elsewhere. Making parents responsible for their children is really the only way.

hey some bloody video game showed me how to solve problems. the games are resident evil 1,2,3,4,cod veronica and outbreak file 1 and 2

Look, Everyone that has posted has a point. Parents are to blame, the games today have written on the back of what to expect out of the game. The ESRB isn't going to lie about what is in the game, it's for the parents so they can know what their child is playing. The gov't shouldn't have to step in to babysit our kid's.

I'm not saying that there isn't any violent games out there but what doesn't have any violence now days.(TV shows, cartoons, movies)
Why just target videogames then? GTA gets so much crap from people like MAVAV. Why? Parents should know not to buy the games if they don't want their kids to play it.

I've never, in all 14 years of gaming, played a game that will teach you how to acctually LOAD A WEAPON!!!!!! They sure as hell don't tell you where to buy them. It is a little something that we normal people call fiction, or does that even exist anymore. The kids that are shooting up schools and selling drugs and what nots either have psychosis or their parents didn't raise them right or something bad has given them some sort of depression, the point is that they had some sort of pychological problem.It's just a product a how they are rasied. I just find that it is plain ignorance to blame vidoegames for violent children today.

Well i dont like most violent games just cause they have terrible gameplay. Anyway the game addiction is realy just propaganda. I play violent video games yet i do not support what happens. I like the game and the interactive story. Most 10-12 year olds think they are tough just cause they play them. but thats just how they are. People who play for violence are probably already a violent person on the inside. I like gears of war just cause its very amusing. But i dont like postal which is double the violence.

If you want to realy know, why not ask a gamer and save you the trouble

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