Do violent video games cause violence?
Debate Rounds (3)
Hello everyone and welcome to this debate. I would like to thank "Then" for giving me the oppertunity to accept this debate. Here at this debate, I will stand against the motion that violent video games cause violence. Before I go on to my oppenents points and my own, I would like to give you a back story. I believe in this debate that there is a psychology aspect that goes into this. I believe this because this exact topic was being brought into my classroom in college. With that being said, I would like to take a psychologist perspective on the issue of violent video games.
Just like any other scientist, psychologists need to obey the scientific method always and never fall into the catagory of oversimplifying particular words and putting them together and my opponent "Then" has falled into this catagory. In "Then's argument, he mentions that many adolescents expereincece aggressive feelings or thoughts after playing video games. In his argument, he automatically tries to connect aggressive feelings or thoughts to violence. This is such a misrepresentation. Violence and aggressive thoughts are clearly not the same. Someone can feel aggressive and not become violent. Pretty much almost every gamer out there has played a violent video including children who hasn't gone into a violent rampage.
Now I will admit, psychologically, yes video games do make people experience aggressive feelings thoughts. In fact, I will go as far as to say which area of the brain we have aggressive feelings. The area in which we experience this is on the right right side of the brain, specifically the frontal lobe.(1) (2) Even though I agree with you on that point, I do not believe for a second that video games cause violence.
Now that i've gotten "Then"s arguments out of the way, I would like to point out the arguments as to why video games do not cause violence. In the last paragraphs, I feel I have I responded to "Then"s first and only argument in round one and I hope there is more arguments in the next round. Even though I do think that the idea of video games causing violence is a dumb argument, let's grant him the proposition. Even if "Then's" argument is correct and video games do cause violence, thus, the same would also have to be said for music and literature. There would probably be more violence if we humans are so easily influenced by a form of art or entertainment.
In my now second argument, I would like to make it clear to anyone who paying attention in this debate that violent video games. Have you ever heard of anyone killing anyone right after playing Calll of Duty or Gears of War. It seem foolish to me to think that as soon as we do have aggressive feelings or thoughts, we can't come to the conclusion that we shouldn't kill people despite the influence of playing a video game.
For my closing argument, I would like to propose a challenge to "Then". Give me one example of someone who aknowledges that he or she has commited an act of violence that is fully 100% absolutely influenced by violent video games. Please vote against the motion that violent video games cause violence. Thank you.
(2) Psychology: A Journey: Third Canadian Edition by Dennis Coon,John O. Mitterer, Patrick Brown, Rajesh Malik and Susanne McKenzie
Ever since violent video games came out in the market,there has been a 13 to 22 percent increase in adolescent violence.This has been proven thanks to a survey made by the American Association of pediatrics in 2009.This survey is proof that violent video games do cause violent behavior.
Not only that, laboratory and field studies done by scientists studying the long term and short term effects of violent video games all point to the same unwavering conclusion,that violent video games make the gamer have a higher chance of having aggressive feelings or thoughts. If you have played violent video games before, i'm sure you would have had aggressive thoughts afterwards. You may not have realized it, but it was there.
Now for some examples of people who were led to violence due to violent video games.
1)Remember the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999? After the massacre, families of the victims sued 25 video game companies whom they blamed for the deaths. It was proven that Eric Harris and Dylan Kebold were influenced by the video game Doom to start the massacre.
2)Remember the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting? The perpetrator Adam Lanza was apparently influenced by violent video games like Call of Duty.
3)Remember Norwegian mass shooter Anders Breivik? He claimed to have been influenced by Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
With that, I pass it over to my opponent to defend his stance.
Thank you "Then" for your input in this debate. I would also like to apologize for my atrocious spelling and grammar which I've just noticed now. So hopefully I WILL LOOK IT OVER TWICE and see if I find anything that shouldn't be there.
I'm noticing your first point and I have to say it's interesting but before I get to tackling this point, I would like to point out that I'm very skeptical about this article. A couple of the references used were FBI and Federal Communication Commission. I almost find this article to be biased about the issues at hand. Just as an example, one of the recommendations for the parents was to remove TV and video games from the children's bedroom but doesn't mention books. With this group is the American Association of Paediatrics which for those of you don't know who a pediatric is it is the job of looking after the health of children.(1) I think in today's society, there is a lot of political dramatization that goes into children as George Carlin liked to talk about in his stand up as he refers to it as "Child Worship".(2) The idea that children can never experience violence which is ridiculous because sooner or later children are going to explore the parts of this world that we try to cover their eyes from. Now that's not to say that I would expose a child to porn. What I am saying though is if children and adolescents are knowing this, it better that they learn this at the appropriate ages rather than try and hide it from them and have them screwed up later on in life.
Another thing to mention in the AAOP, it also mentions that violent video games causes bullying. Please explain to me how violent video games has anything to do with bullying? In fact, I want you to compare someone being bullied and someone who is exposed to violent video games and let me ask you this? What is more likely to cause violence? Someone is constantly being bullied and under the pressure and just waiting to be snapped or some kid who plays Halo? (3) Yes, the kid might use profanity and call another kid a "Faggot" which he learned from a video game but what is more likely? The fact that he himself was under some mind control of video games or is it more likely he called that kid a "Faggot" because he thought it sounded cool?
Here's a little story for you that you might be familiar with. Remember that little kid back in K-4 who would pretty much always brag about having a game that's really not his demographic but plays it anyway. He brags about the fact that he played Conker's Bad Fur Day and not anyone else can play. One thing that you will also notice in society is that children will usually look up to their older siblings. Children want to play rated T or M games because they want what they can never (parents decide for child). Children want to play violent video games because their older brother plays violent video games and children play violent video game because they precieve their friend's actions as cool.
Your argument in regards to you might not feel it but it's there which is pretty much the same response that Morphius gave to Neo in The Matrix. What about someone who is self conscious about themselves. Someone who is self conscious of their actions might actually know they might be feeling more aggressive than usual.
Let me tell you something, When I first saw the 1,2 and 3 numbers which represented the examples, I was really looking forward to be proved wrong but as I continue and read in detail about the examples, I have to say that I'm kind of disappointed. Foregoing your examples, I would like to point out that I made it very clear that the individual has to fully acknowledge that he or she committed an act of violence who was FULLY 100% ABSOLUTELY INFLUENCED BY VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES. All four of these individuals were not.
First Example: I'm getting the feeling that ether this is a troll debate and I didn't know it before or my opponent has never seen Bowling for Columbine but I will give my opponent the benefit of the doubt. In the movie, Michael Moore's focal point that he brings up is the problem in the U.S.A. is not television, violent video games, metal music or even bowling, the problem is guns. There is one scene in the movie where Michael Moore is talking to Marilyn Manson and Marilyn Manson asks maybe the president is more of an influence. Also, in the film, two girls from the Columbine High School mentioned that before the two murderous duo shot up their school, they played bowling. So is that to suggest that bowling is more of a candidate than violent video games?(4) Putting Bowling for Columbine aside, Eric Harris and Dylan Kebold were considered rejects at the school. Dylan Klebold for example was very sad leading up to the events of Columbine. He said in his journals that he felt lonely and wanted a relationship with someone. (5)Klebold and Harris were in fact a fans of Hitler. What's really ironic here is that only was he fan of Hitler but they both also thought to have the attack on Adolf Hitler's birthday; April 20th. (5)(6) It's not just one issue here, it's all of these factors that take into place and as I already mention it has to be 100% influenced. By the way, just because families and victims sue 25 video game companies doesn't mean that their opinions are accurate.
Second Example: Adam Lanza was a socially awkward individual who back in his teenage years kept moving from school to school, didn't have any friends as far as everyone knows. He was diagnosed with asperger's syndrome according to friends and family. His mother and father also had a divorce. Again, this does not match the criteria of someone being fully influenced by playing violent video games. Next example.(7)
Third Example: Here's another example that fails the match the criteria. Anders Breivik was very known to have paranoid schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder. He was also known to have a huge hatred toward Muslims and feminists although if I were to encounter radical feminists, I would probably run too. His mother treated him with sexual abuse and telling how he wishes he was dead. Another true fact about him was that he would go on websites that were described as fundamentalist Christianity. (8) This does not mean by any means that violent video games cause violence because of the factors that lie in these examples have nothing to do with video games.
To end this second, I would like to summarize my arguments in round two. I believe that I have tackled on the political dramatization of children and violent video games. It is political dramatized in the sense that it suggests that playing a violent video game is more of an influence of someone going on a killing spree than someone who may be suffering from mental issues, social coercion, bullying, physical, verbal and sexual abuse. To say that those are less likely to be an influence on violence as opposed to playing one game of Call of Duty is nonsense. That concludes round two. Thank you!
(4) Bowling for Columbine Documentary by Michael Moore
Harris Interactive, an America-based marketing research firm, have released the first results from a recent poll which shows that 58% of American adults believe that violent games have a direct link to violent behavior in teenagers.
2,278 Americans were surveyed, with 33% of them saying they allow their children to play anything they want, and 38% having no knowledge of the ESRB ratings system for games.
In essence, you can draw the conclusion that an element of parents believe that violent games have some detrimental effect on their children, but don"t do anything to ensure that their children are playing age appropriate games.
For anyone who has experienced games retail, it is probably unsurprising that a proportion of parents allow their children to play anything they like. There is still a prevalent viewpoint that gaming is a childish pastime, and therefore any games are appropriate for any age group, despite ESRB or BBFC certification.
The survey was run independently, and follows on from Barack Obama"s decision to study the effects of violent games in response to the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Sadly the continued promotion of links between gaming and real-world violence, by both European and American media, has seemingly now contributed to a quantifiable perception that that is indeed the case.
As you can see from this report, it is undeniable that many people believe that violent video games do cause violent behavior.
Not only that,As of 2001, roughly 79 percent of America's youth play video games, many of them for at least eight hours a week [source: National Institute on Media and the Family]. Beyond the obvious issues of concern, like "what happened to riding bikes around the neighborhood," there are bigger questions. Many people wonder how this type of exposure to violence as an adolescent effects social behavior. The rise in dramatically violent shootings by teenagers, many of whom apparently play violent video games, is helping the argument that video game violence translates into real-world situations. But other people aren't convinced and insist that video games are a scapegoat for a shocking social trend that has people scared and looking to place blame. Entertainment media has always made a great scapegoat: In the 1950s, lots of people blamed comic books for kids' bad behavior [source: CBS News].
Video games as we now know them are only about 20 years old, so there's nowhere near the amount of empirical evidence for or against their violent effects than there is surrounding, say, television violence. And even that's not a done deal.
So what exactly does science have to say about violent video games? Is there any evidence that shows a cause-effect relationship between shooting people in a game and shooting people in real life?
Studies on Video Game Violence
In 2006, an 18-year-old named Devin Moore was arrested in Alabama on suspicion of car theft. The police officers brought him into the station and started booking him without any trouble. Minutes later, Moore attacked one police officer, stole his gun, shot him and another officer and then fled down the hall and shot a 9-1-1 dispatcher in the head. He then grabbed a set of car keys on his way out the back door, got in a police car and drove away.
Moore had no criminal history. According to the lawsuit filed against video game companies after the incident, Moore had been playing a lot of Grand Theft Auto before the killings [source: CBS News]. At least on the surface, the connection between Moore's game play and his real actions is logical: In "Grand Theft Auto," players steal cars and kill cops.
But the argument is an old one. We've heard it for decades about violent TV. Science has come to a general consensus that violent TV does have an effect on kids' behavior, although doesn't say it causes children to act out the violence they see on the screen.
The basic claim in the video-game controversy is that video games are even more likely to affect people's behavior than TV because they're immersive. People don't just watch video games; they interact with them. The games are also repetitive and based on a rewards system. Repetition and rewards are primary components of classical conditioning, a proven psychological concept in which behavioral learning takes place as a result of rewarding (or punishing) particular behaviors. Also, since the brains of children and teens are still developing, they would, in theory, be even more susceptible to this type of "training."
There's some evidence to this effect, including a study reported in the journal "Psychological Science" in 2001. The report is an overall analysis of 35 individual studies on video game violence. It found several common conclusions, including:
Children who play violent video games experience an increase in physiological signs of aggression. According to the authors behind the meta-analysis, when young people are playing a violent video game, their blood pressure and heart rate increases, and "fight or flight" hormones like adrenaline flood the brain. The same thing happens when people are in an actual, physical fight. One study even showed a difference in physical arousal between a bloody version of "Mortal Kombat" (a fight to the death game) and a version with the blood turned off.
Children who play violent video games experience an increase in aggressive actions. A 2000 study involving college students yielded interesting results. The study had two components: a session of video-game play, in which half the students played a violent video game and half played a non-violent video game, and then a simple reaction-time test that put two of the students in head-to-head competition. Whoever won the reaction-time test got to punish the loser with an audio blast. Of the students who won the reaction-time test, the ones who'd been playing a violent video game delivered longer, louder audio bursts to their opponents.
One of the most recent studies, conducted in 2006 at the Indiana University School of Medicine, went right to the source. Researchers scanned the brains of 44 kids immediately after they played video games. Half of the kids played "Need for Speed: Underground," an action racing game that doesn't have a violent component. The other half played "Medal of Honor: Frontline," an action game that includes violent first-person shooter activity (the game revolves around the player's point of view). The brain scans of the kids who played the violent game showed increased activity in the amygdala, which stimulates emotions, and decreased activity in the prefrontal lobe, which regulates inhibition, self-control and concentration. These activity changes didn't show up on the brain scans of the kids playing "Need for Speed."
After all this information, I hope that I have proven my point that violent video games do cause violence.
With that, I rest my case.
My opponent's first argument in round three is that he makes the argument that because 58% of American adults believe that violent video games have a direct link to violent behavior in teenagers, therefore they must be correct. WRONG! That would be an Ad Populum Fallacy. Just because a number of people believe in something, doesn't make it true. Unless if it's a number of scientists and believe in A+B=C, then I would probably avoid using this kind of argument in the future. Take it from me. A guy that used this in the past and got my A$$ handed to me. An opinion of an Adult is not the same as a scientist.
The ESRB rating is irrelevant to this debate. It's Irrelevant because my opponent makes the connection towards the people that allow their kids to play violent video games and the 38% who have no knowledge of the ESRB rating system. "Then" hints that if only we made more restrictions, than there would be less violence. It wouldn't matter because regardless of what their parents say, teenagers and kids and especially teenagers are going to look at violent video games regardless.
As a side note, video games are not childish but in fact becoming more and more relevant for our time. There are games that help you learn like improving memory, games actually improve motor control especially when your playing games like Call of Duty or Gears of War where you have to act quickly.
Once again, my opponent is resorting towards "Oh look Obama is in favor of this study therefore you should be on my side." While Obama was a professor, he was not a professor in psychology and neuroscience.
My opponent says that there has been a dramatic rise in shooting by teenagers and even though he sourced CBS News, he doesn't use proper source. My sources may not be that better but at least I make the effort to give the exact site. The thing is with these shootings is when people think that it's the violent video games, the person usually has a certain like the previous examples that were mentioned in the last couple of rounds. That's why I don't take those serious because if you can't prove 100% that it was in fact violent video did it, than I have no reason to assume that violent video games actually do cause violence. Just like with Devin Moore, even though Devin Moore was sentenced to death, it was said by his laywer that he had post-traumatic stress disorder. I don't tend to take southern states seriously in terms of it's racism to blacks.
In your argument about how comic books were claimed to have been violent but are not the case, you just proved my point. Sure, the game allows you to simulate whatever actions the game allows you to do but simulations related from a fantasy to a reality can only go so far and as far as I'm concerned, I don't honestly that violent video games all of a sudden create murderers. Yes, there are signs of aggression while playing violent video game but I believe that people can also be aggressive under the same circumstances in Mario Kart because competition usually requires some form of aggression in order to win.
Going back to the Devin Moore case, while the courts deemed Devin Moore guilty, in the case of Strickland vs. Sony, Strickland wanted to challenge the notion of whether or not video game companies have a right to sell violent video games to minors. As far that case was concerned, in 2009, Sony won the right to sell violent video games and why is that? How about the fact that there's not enough evidence to prove that video games are actually responsible.
In Closing, Let's recap this entire debate. In this debate, I am against the motion that violent video games lead people to commit violence. In the first round, I have tackled the psychological aspect which I put the argument that my opponent "Then" has oversimplified and I make the distinction that violence feelings is not the same thing as violent behaviour. Scientists are not denying that playing violent video games leads people to become more aggressive. That's a given. I have also afford a challenge to my opponent to give me an example of someone who is fully aware of the actions that he has committed and is FULLY 100% Absolutely influenced by violent video games. With every example you have brought, everyone was reported to have a psychological condition. It's kind of stupid in my opinion that days and weeks of abuse does not do as much damage as say several hours playing violent video games. In the second round, I have mentioned the political dramatization that mentally healthy individuals can't come to the conclusion themselves that what they are doing is wrong. Video games are not mind control and while I will admit that there are connections between what Devin Moore did and what was in the game, it does nothing more than just suggest that violent video games may cause violence but not a complete answer. It's simple logic.
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