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Rated V for Violent


Thursday, June 12, 2014
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I thought the Poodle’s “Temper Tantrum” thoughtful on many counts and the “joker-in-the-deck” factor a good metaphor for the random violence that no one can foresee.

What has not been mentioned much is the glut of “virtual violence” that seems to be a major food group in the diet of the young and bored. What about the computer game where one can hone their skills for shooting people from the window of a car while running over pedestrians? The facsimiles of violence get more implicit as movies compete to remain shocking in the face of desensitization from last season’s blood fest. I am not sure how you put that problem genie back in the lamp.

I doubt that I could use my First Amendment rights to market a game called “Child Molester.” No one would allow the possible unleashing of a Pandora’s box of confused mores that might be okay in the digital zone but wrong on the street. Why should virtual violence get a pass?

In order to understand the ethical quandary posed by guns and the mentally ill, we cannot ignore the different layers perhaps contributing to the phenomena of mass shootings: the freedom to own guns, to engage in 3-D game mayhem, to rage in secret online communities amplifying the anger du jour. The chimes of freedom are clashing.

I am having difficulty accepting these random killings as an unavoidable byproduct of a free society. If we are going to permit the gaming industry the freedom to dish up ever more shocking scenarios of mayhem, we may just need to accommodate the disruptions of life imitating art.

Teens and young adults who love to be washed over by lurid and brutal dramatizations come surprisingly unglued when real violence occurs. The intense public mourning in Isla Vista for this event does not square with the otherwise intense interest generally found among the young in blood-soaked, violent game and movie art. Examining the way violence is marketed in 21st-century America may lead to controlling more than just guns.

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Independent Discussion Guidelines

C'mon Doug, let's play divide and conquer! all the politicians are doing it....

spacey (anonymous profile)
June 12, 2014 at 11:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bzzzzzzzzzzzttt..

Video games do not make vulnerable teens more violent

Study finds no evidence that violent video games increase antisocial behavior in youths with pre-existing psychological conditions

Do violent video games such as ‘Mortal Kombat,’ ‘Halo’ and ‘Grand Theft Auto’ trigger teenagers with symptoms of depression or attention deficit disorder to become aggressive bullies or delinquents? No, according to Christopher Ferguson of Stetson University and independent researcher Cheryl Olson from the US in a study published in Springer’s Journal of Youth and Adolescence. On the contrary, the researchers found that the playing of such games actually had a very slight calming effect on youths with attention deficit symptoms and helped to reduce their aggressive and bullying behavior.

http://www.springer.com/about+springe...

loonpt (anonymous profile)
June 12, 2014 at 12:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"The intense public mourning in Isla Vista for this event does not square with the otherwise intense interest generally found among the young in blood-soaked, violent game and movie art. "

The author gets it. Why is there such fascination with violent games, as well as violent lyrics in music? Anybody who knows this is happening and isn't addressing it is missing the point.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
June 12, 2014 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are right BC, and the tech interests are so enormous we keep getting misdirected away from the impact violent video games have on younger users who already have some mental issues. This Feb. 14 study from the BBC addresses this http://www.bbc.com/news/education-260... and there are good links at the bottom.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 12, 2014 at 5:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey DrDan, the crux of the argument in that study is that:

"But the problems arose with teenagers who spent more than three hours every day in front of a screen, continuously playing these violent games without any other real-life interaction."

So the question is, what if they played more than three hours a day and had other real-life interaction, would the results be the same?

The other question is, if they played no violent video games AND had no other real-life interaction, would the results be the same?

I would contend that the lack of other real-life interaction had more to do with their lack of empathy than the video game playing, if the video games had any impact on their empathy at all.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
June 12, 2014 at 6:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

yet we keep reading that our young people are spending around 7 hours a day in front of screens, locked into a 2-dimensional rectangular video screen. Yes, not always violent games, but too much time isolated from others. Good questions loon, and the key query is how much "other real-life interaction" does the young person have?
We could morph into a discussion of conurbanization and growth of huge cities and more and more urban life; people are sometimes driven indoors (how about air pollution in much of China?). Try YOU ARE NOT A GADGET by Jaron Lanier on this. As a parent, my kid got almost NO TV, very limited computer access. Loon, admit that an angle here might be than the VIOLENCE part of the game may not cause violent acts, but the violence and gore and drama of the violent video games glues some kids into watching/playing more and more each day. Where are the parents? Still, this fascination might lead to the 7hours a day figure, and lack of social interactions with peer kids.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 13, 2014 at 4:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@DrDan: "yet we keep reading that our young people are spending around 7 hours a day in front of screens, locked into a 2-dimensional rectangular video screen. Yes, not always violent games, but too much time isolated from others."

I couldn't disagree more. In fact, I would argue that the actual issue with 'being locked into a screen' is that we're *too* connected to each other. All of these social networking tools means that were in constant communication with other people nearly every waking our of the day. *THAT* is the unhealthy part. The benefit of disconnecting would be to experience some self-reflection and 'alone time'.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
June 13, 2014 at 6:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Censorship is never the answer. The fault lies not with our Artists, but within ourselves.Where are the parents who let their kids play video games 7 hours a day etc? What kind of values did Rodgers have? He didn't learn that degree of superficiality in a video game but in an environment that treats people like meat and obejctification and entitlement are the order of the day. he embodied the ultimare consumer and it brought him unhappiness and others subsequently worse.
But it's easier to point your finger at music, movies etc instead of actually parent. Its as superficial as Rodgers' upbringing.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 13, 2014 at 10:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey folks there's a cool new idea they've been using since the 60s, movie ratings: G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, X. learn what they mean and use it to monitor your child's viewing, pretty easy.

http://www.mpaa.org/film-ratings/

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 13, 2014 at 10:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Totally agree Ken. What did they have before video games? Cowboys and indians, with fake guns. Some blame guns, the gun owners blame video games and movies, nobody wants to take the blame on themselves, typical humans. Where is the blame for doctors and the crazy pills they subscribe? Much more dangerous than some schedule one, two substances. Brain chemistry. Subscribe MJ instead. At least we have receptors for that.

spacey (anonymous profile)
June 13, 2014 at 11:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

we're not so far apart, ETR, but have you heard of "Alone Together" by Sherry Turkle? When you write, "I would argue that the actual issue with 'being locked into a screen' is that we're *too* connected to each other. " -- you miss my point that being locked into a screen means LESS face-to-face social interaction. Are you seriously asserting we are "too connected to each other" when we use social media/Facebook etc.?! You truly miss my point: that isn't realtime social communication, you know, the old fashioned stuff where we get together are talk and argue and discuss stuff.
When you state "these social networking tools means that were in constant communication with other people" -- no, dude, we are NOT in genuine "communication with each other". That's constant partial attention which can be debilitating, and in particular if it replaces much or most of our face-to-face talking.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 13, 2014 at 2:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

KV, good angle with the ratings, but you sort of switch the topic over to parental control and influence, another huge subject. If young Americans are watching screens 7 hours a day (some studies indicate more than that), and for some there's a high percentage of that spent playing Halo, Manhunt, etc., then that's a lot of hours per day NOT spent interacting face-to-face with other actual humans: that is a problem. Modern public education is rapidly switching to on-screen classes, obsession with iPads, MOOCs and so on.
The IV shooter's insane & violent murders were not CAUSED directly by his hours and hours per day spent immersed in World of Warcraft (not very violent, really, good fun), but byall those cumulative hours and then more hours watching the on-screen sports or some sort of screen for social media -- hours he did not get to have with peers talking face-to-face. It's not a censorship issue or a ratings issue.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2014 at 5:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I played with tiny green plastic soldiers for awhile in my kidness, and was a faithful Beetle Bailey reader. Nonetheless, I never tasted actual combat. Sorry.

Walter (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2014 at 8:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So Walter, you're saying your last name is "Reed"?

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2014 at 9:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One of my favorite toys growing up was Dr. Deadly, came with a Frankenstein monster, lab, guillotine, torture chamber and victim. Alas, as an adult I'm neither a Doctor, nor do I have a lab, victims, a guillotine or torture chamber; and it's never occured to me to acquire them. I might have a Frankenstein monster or so.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 14, 2014 at 9:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken: Did you ever read those underground comics featuring Vampirella?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
June 15, 2014 at 4:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't think I had Vampirella, but I certainly had Boris Karloff comics! And Hitchcock's books of mysteries.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 15, 2014 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Based on what I've read, the question of whether heavy video game usage has a detrimental effect on kids and those challenged with conditions like ADD, ADHD, is up for grabs among researchers.

I have a copy of this month's "Neurology Now" which happens to have an article on the subject. Check out the brain scans. Scary. But it also covers some benefits as well.

http://journals.lww.com/neurologynow/...

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
June 16, 2014 at 10:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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