This House believes that violence in video games directly leads to real-world violence
Debate Rounds (4)
Greetings and salutations, everybody.
Today, I want to instigate a debate on a topic which has apparently gained some momentum, although I was only introduced to it relatively recently. I'm aware that not many people hold to the Pro position, but if there is only one person who does on DDO, then we have the potential for an excellent and mind-blowing debate.
The resolution in the title is the full resolution.
I am Con; my opponent shall be Pro.
The burden of proof will be shared equally, and both debaters should provide multiple points and sufficient rebuttals in order to have fulfilled their burden of proof.
The first round is not solely for acceptance only. Pro will make his/her opening case in the first round and, by accepting, agrees to the rules set out in round one by myself.
Also, please note that there is a single requirement for accepting: You must have completed at least three separate debates in order accept.
Pro may introduce new contentions in round one only;
Con may introduce new contentions in round two only.
Otherwise, I believe that is it for me. Please read, watch, or debate with me - and enjoy!
In theory, when someone becomes excessively submerged in some sort of activity, either mental or physical, they begin having a sequence of recurring flashbacks and lapses that can cause them to assimilate what they have seen and experienced in the particular activity.
This is not only true in theory, but it has also been set in motion in practice. It has been scientifically accepted that overindulgence in any activity, whether it is binge-drinking or playing gold, can have a directly detrimental effect on your life in ways that are unexpected and haphazard.
A definitive example of this is the Columbine shooting, in which two kids embarked on a deadly rampage at their high school. These two kids were, and I do not intend for this to be taken lightly, 'hard-core gamers' who have been enraptured in the M-rated game Call of Duty since they were small children. After playing the game for almost a decade, these children were subconsciously inclined to emulate the synthetic role of the players into reality. The Columbine shooting is not a single manifestation of the effects of extended artificial violence. There exist many statistics that show a direct correlation between gory violence in video games and real-world violence. I'd like to project one very objective trend: The amount of mass-shootings and indiscriminate killings has expanded to a large degree ever since the gaming industry has expanded to homes across the globe, and has become mainstream in much of the developed countries in America.
The kids who were implicated into the Columbine shootings were not just involved with an aggressive gaming addiction but instead, the gaming addiction had bled into other negative interests such as metal music and gothic subculture.
Recently, legislators have made a seminal move in taxing violent video games and decreeing a proposition for enforcing age-restrictions towards who can buy them. The uprise of the gaming industry has even prompted President Obama to address the concern by making this statement to an interviewer: '...violent video games set kids up to react in more hostile and violent ways.'
I'd like to summarize with a quote from an article published by the Times Magazine.
"Working with 3,034 boys and girls in the third, fourth, seventh, and eighth grades in Singapore, Anderson and his colleagues asked the children three times over a period of two years detailed questions about their video game habits. They were also given standardized questionnaires designed to measure their aggressive behavior and attitudes toward violence. Overall, the students" scores on aggressive behavior, as well hostile attitudes and fantasies about violence against others, declined slightly throughout the study. That"s because children tend to act less aggressively as they get older, and learn more mature ways of dealing with conflicts than lashing out. But a closer look at kids who played more hours of violent video games per week revealed increases in aggressive behavior and violent tendencies, compared to those who played fewer hours a week. When asked if it was okay for a boy to strike a peer if that peer said something negative about him, for example, these kids were more likely to say yes. They also scored higher on measures of hostility, answering that they would to respond with aggressive action when provoked, even accidentally. The more long-term gamers were also more likely to fantasize about hitting someone they didn"t like."
Many thank to Pro for accepting this debate; I look forward to it.
I will start by responding to my opponent's contentions, and then introduce my own. Before I do, however, I'd like to remind my opponent that if he wants to quote from his sources (which is fine), then he should use quotation marks. Otherwise, the voters might think it's plagiarism, which would violate standard debating rules. Be careful.
1: Responding to my opponent's points
(i) The Columbine Shooting
My opponent points to the case of the Columbine shooting, in which two students executed a vicious and calculated attack on their school, killing 13 (15 if you include the perpetrators) and injuring 21 (24 if you include non-direct injuries). However, much of what my opponent has claimed about this incident is misleading, or a lie - I suspect from inaccurate sources, which my opponent has not quoted. I will break it down to better allow clarity:
"A definitive example of this is the Columbine shooting, in which two kids embarked on a deadly rampage at their high school. These two kids were, and I do not intend for this to be taken lightly, 'hard-core gamers' [...]" _ Pro I agree with this, although "hard-core" is a matter of opinion. Indeed, people often call themselves "hard-core" to sound impressive, but it is a highly subjective term.
"[...] who have been enraptured in the M-rated game Call of Duty since they were small children." _ Pro Incorrect, and actually impossible. The two attackers both committed suicide on April 20th 1999 , whereas the first CoD game (simply called "Call of Duty") was released on October 27th 2003 , over 4 years after they died. Moreover, my opponent then goes on to assert that: "After playing the game for almost a decade [...]", implying (at the best) that Call of Duty was released in 1992, thirteen years too soon.
However, what my opponent goes on to say may be accurate, if the games are correct, such as "Doom", which I concede both attackers were known to play.  But, since my opponent has just asserted the cause/motivation of this event, I cannot argue against it, merely dismiss it by Hitchen's Razor. My opponent needs to provide evidence that these boys were motivated by the games before I address his contention.
Finally, my opponent states: "The amount of mass-shootings and indiscriminate killings has expanded to a large degree ever since the gaming industry has expanded to homes across the globe, and has become mainstream in much of the developed countries in America." _ Pro. I'm going to interpret this to mean: "Mass-killings have increased as video game distribution and popularity have increased." This may be true, or it may not be (again, my opponent doesn't provide a source) - but it does not matter. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. To state a correlation correctly, but then to simply state that one caused the other, is a logical fallacy called post hoc ergo propter hoc.  Until my opponent explains why he believes these correlations are affected by one another, they are not logical and I have, therefore, refuted this claim.
(ii) Time Magazine's Article
Since all my opponent did for this claim was quote directly from a second-hand source, it could be considered plagiarism. However, I will respond to it anyway, in order to keep the spirit of the debate alive, as it were.
The study that Times is discussing is one made by Dr. Craig Anderson, who has been criticized for his work by other researchers for "overstating results" and failing to "adequately take into account other factors" . This doesn't make his findings wrong, but I looked into this with skepticism. I point out to my opponent that his conclusions do not prove that video game violence leads to (causes) actual violence, they merely suggest a correlation between aggressive dispositions and thoughts. However, my opponent hasn't shown how video game violence cause one to act upon these thoughts. I might have many aggressive thoughts a day, if something's provoked them, but that doesn't mean that I set about being violent towards people de facto.
Consequently, my opponent hasn't fulfilled his burden of proof.
In conclusion, I have highlighted many errors in my opponent's analysis of the Columbine shooting, and showed how one study (a) hasn't demonstrated how violence in video games lead to violence and
(b) highlighted professional concerns over Dr. Anderson's quality of work. (I recommend my opponent uses another source or study, by another person to help solidify his case).
2: My contentions
(i) The Missing Factor
This contentions suggests that, while I concede that aggression levels in the game might be increased by playing video games, the violence in them are not the cause. Recently, the University of Oxford published a study in which players played both violent and non-violent games, but their difficulty was manipulated. The results suggest that the difficulty levels do affect aggression levels, but the violence levels had little effect themselves. 
This is a promising study, because while there have been many studies indicating that video games are linked to aggression levels, the idea of violence being the cause of them has always been inductively concluded. This study challenged these inductions - and found that to be an assumption, possibly incorrect.
Consequently, it cannot be said that video violence leads to real world violence, when the link to video violence and aggression (necessary to motivate real world violence) just isn't there.
(ii) So what?
This contention I've already touched on with my rebuttals, so I shan't spend too much time on it. Effectively, even if aggression levels were definitively linked to violence level in video games, why does this prove that they cause real world violence? Going back to my example, even if I think about violence - and even if those thoughts were enhanced or stimulated through video game violence - why does this mean they'll necessarily be a causal relationship between the two? Until more evidence is presented, there isn't any reason to think this. The studies all suggest similar things, but leaping to a conclusion that: "Aggression increased through video games, ergo, violence caused by video games" is a leap of faith, especially when there are so many other factors that these studies never seem to consider. For example: Bullying, depression, other psychological dispositions or afflictions, more personal motives such as revenge.
My opponent pointed out that video games are now much more common - my opponent's own source states that ~90% of children play video games  - but this argues in my favour. since the factor is so big, is makes it very difficult for my opponent to pin it down as a definitive cause for violence. It's like me saying that oxygen is poisonous, it just takes about 80 years to kill us. There's a correlation, but because 100% of Americans are exposed to oxygen, to prove my point I have to isolate very specific cases.
That's it from me, for this round.
I'll see you next round, everybody!
 Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games, Lawrence Kutner PhD and Cheryl K. Olson ScD
 Block JJ, Crain BR (2007). "Omissions and errors in "media violence and the American public."". The American Psychologist
My opponent pointed out the blemishes in my opening remarks very professionally.
Thank you. Vote Con.
Many thanks to my opponent for his participation and professionalism.
As requested, please vote Con; Pro has conceded the debate.
However, if the voters would give the conduct point to Pro, I wouldn't mind at all. His concession was very graceful.
Best of luck in your exam(s), Apex.
Many thanks to all,
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Themba 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Graceful concession.
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