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Video Games is Ruining Society

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/20/2011 Category: Technology
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,076 times Debate No: 17979
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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The argument shall go as follows: 1. Intro (No argument points to be brought up this round) 2. Body/Main Case 3. Cross Examination 4. Conclusion
I will be arguing that video games is ruining the people of today.


Thanks for the topic!!!

I'll negate the Resolved, that Video Games Are Ruining Society.


Princeton's Wordnet defines "ruin" as "destroy completely; damage irreparably."

My opponent must show that video games have irreparably damaged society or destroyed it completely. This is a higher burden of proof than merely showing that video games, on balance, are bad.


I will show positive effects of video games and rebut my opponent's inevitable arguments that they are bad.

Let's get started!
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks you for accepting.

First, I would like to define "ruin" using the Merriam-Webster dictionary (not that your definition was fine):

Ruin- /verb/ "to reduce to ruins"

I would like to start off my argument with the subject of:


In 2004, 3 teens under the age of 18 murdered a homeless man in a disturbing fashion. The teens told police that killing the man reminded him of playing a video game.

In 2007, 17 year old Daniel Petric shot both of his parents due to them taking away his video game. He fled the scene with nothing but a copy of "Halo 3." Petric's attorney stated that Daniel was dangerously addicted to Halo 3.

There are many more stories like these of under age teens going off killing people under the influence of video games.

My next subject:


Reading the article that you referenced to, I saw that 1 out of 8 gamers develop patterns similar to addiction. Now just think that 97% of teens play video games.
I will now define "addict"
/noun/ to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively
By just reading the definition you will know that this is something that is not healthy.

Video game addiction can cause extreme anger and verbal abuse, nausea, physical illness, restless taunting dreams, anxiety, depression, mood swings, fear, irritability or restlessness, sadness, and loneliness.

Remember, today's children are tomorrow's future. If we have a society addicted to video games and going off killing people nothing will be accomplished and therefore society will be ruined.


Thanks for the quick reply rsgather.

==Burden of proof==

My opponent doesn't contest the burden of proof. He agrees that he must show that society is "destroyed completely" or "damaged irreparably." This is a higher standard than merely showing isolated instances where video games are bad.


R1) Video game violence

My opponent claims all video games cause violence, but offers only two examples.

His first example, from 2004, is when 3 teens got really drunk, started throwing rocks at a homeless man "for fun," and ended up killing him.[1] If anything, blame alcohol. One teen did say that killing the homeless man "reminded him" of a video game. If A reminds you of B, that doesn't mean that A forced you to do B. Same fallacy: Blood reminds me of Santa Clause's suit; therefore, Santa is responsible for all my murders.

The Daniel Petric example from 2007 is bad; Daniel was obviously a highly disturbed individual. However, it wasn't very smart of his father to lock up his Xbox360 in the same safe as a 9mm handgun and then leave the key somewhere Daniel could find it. [2] If anything, this might prove that handguns are destroying our society. Had Danielle found his Xbox360 and empty air in the safe, it'd be a lot harder to kill his parents with empty air. Various studies show that handguns in the home are more likely to kill a loved one than an intruder. [3]

Ultimately, my opponent's case rests on two isolated examples. We should look to broader data to see whether video games have led to more violence:

1. The video game market has exploded over the last 30 years. If video games lead to violence, we should have seen an explosion in youth violence. Federal crime statistics show that juvenile crime rates are at a 30 year low. [4]

2. "According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General's report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure." [4]

3. Video game playing is not anti-social behavior. "Almost 60 percent of frequent gamers play with friends. Thirty-three percent play with siblings and 25 percent play with spouses or parents." [4]

4. Video games do not desensitize us to violence. Multiple studies on primates and humans show that we can draw clear distinctions between play/fake fighting and real fighting. [4]

5. The first long-term longitudinal study on video game violence was conducted by two professors from the University of Illinois. [5] Longitudinal studies are superior because they follow the same group (cohort) of kids for a long time period and study *real world* behavior, rather than asking simulated survey questions in a laboratory. The study found that people who played violent video games did not experience more aggression in their real life relationships than a control group that did not play video games; they did not argue more frequently with friends or parents, etc. The study is also superior because it randomly assigned people to the "play violent video games" group or control group. Most studies on video game violence are flawed because they study groups of kids who are already predisposed to violence and thus find extremely violent games intriguing.

6. Scott Cunningham conducted a study entitled "Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime," trying to explain why crime has declined with the rise of video games. He theorizes that video games allow violent individuals to play out their fantasies in simulated scenarios rather than in real life, reducing actual violence. [6] So video games actually reduce real world violence.

R2) Addiction

Anything, taken to an extreme, can be addictive. There are sex addicts in our society – that doesn't mean that sex is "ruining our society." If anything, it is keeping it running.

Unlike cigarettes, video games do not contain anything in them that is INHERENTLY addictive and are thus not a bad product. Some people with addictive personalities merely abuse them; the same people could be huffing glue, but instead they play Halo 3. In fact, Halo 3 may be a safer addiction than the other things these addictive types might get addicted to.

My opponent claims that 97% of teens play video games. However, the breakdown is more like 90% of boys and 40% of girls. [4]

In addition, he claims, like this source here, that 1 in 8 gamers (around 12%) show "signs of addictive behavior." [7] However, the breakdown is more like 10% are "at risk of addiction" and 2 percent are fully addicted to video games. [8] 2 percent addiction rates are normal for any product; at least 2% of food users are addicts; at least 2% of exercisers are exercise addicts; at least 2% of marijuana users are addicted; at least 2% of the sexually active are sex addicts.

Just because a few individuals abuse something to the point where it becomes an addiction DOES NOT prove that that product is "ruining society." In fact, I'd rather have someone hooked on Halo 3 than on cocaine; the real problem is people with addictive personality types, NOT the products themselves.

==My case==

Video games are good

1. Mitch Wade, an information consultant for Rand Corp. and Google, wrote a book called "Got Game," where he discusses how studies show that moderate gamers have vastly better problem solving ability, team play, and careful risk-taking than non-gamers. [9] Video games often present complex puzzles that help youngsters develop complex thought processes; they teach team building skills since there are many levels in video games that cannot be beat without the help of either a real life or AI partner, and lastly, VERY FEW people in our society like to take risks, since we are very risk averse. Yes business DEMANDS we sometimes take risks, and video games help gamers learn when to take a risk and when not to.

2. John Gabrieli, a neuroscientist at MIT, has concluded that the adaptive difficulty of video games makes people keep playing and learning, when a normal person would quit, by sucking the player in, providing rewards for continuing, and only ramping up the difficulty as the game progresses. Ultimately, he concludes that playing video games makes you smarter and is an easy way to learn. [10] In fact, Stephen Johnson wrote a whole book on the subject called "Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter."

3. Video games can help socially awkward kids. A study by Nick Yee found that "many younger players report becoming more comfortable with face-to-face communication after playing MMORPGs." [11] For extremely socially awkward youth, online games are a good way to learn rudimentary social skills and defeat some social anxiety regarding interacting with others.

4. A study by Shawn Green & Daphne Bavelier video game players have better hand-eye coordination and visuo-motor skills, have more resistance to distraction, have more sensitivity to information in the peripheral vision and have a greater ability to count briefly presented objects, than non-players. They also found that video games develop the individual's intelligence, and in social games develop the social capabilities of the individual. [12]

5. NPR reports: "Daphne Bavelier is professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. She studies young people playing action video games. Having now conducted more than 20 studies on the topic, Bavelier says, ‘It turns out that action video games are far from mindless.' Her studies show that video gamers show improved skills in vision, attention and certain aspects of cognition. And these skills are not just gaming skills, but real-world skills. They perform better than non-gamers on certain tests of attention, speed, accuracy, vision and multitasking, says Bavelier."

6. Video games are being used increasingly as a teaching tool. For example, teachers are using games like Civilization to get students thinking about important global questions, like "what happens to a civilization once it becomes a superpower?" What problems does it then face? [14] My World History teacher in high school used an old video game to show why the US and Russia dominated the globe; he gave us each a country, and we each started with certain resources. Smart play was still important; my partner and I placed 8th with Sudan; but the USA won first every single year because it had so many more resources than all the other countries.

So video games have multiple positive benefits for society. Vote Con.

[1] My opponent's source
[3] Kellerman (1993)
[8] Faiola, Anthony. Washington Post. May 27, 2006
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your rebuttal. However, I would like to point out that the rules state that in Round 2, the debaters shall make their case. However, along with making your case, you decided to criticize my statements. This is due in Round 3 as Cross- Examination.

This being the C/E round, I will make criticism of your work.

"My opponent claims all video games cause violence, but offers only two examples."

Your accusation is partly false when you say that "all video games cause violence," I said here that video games influence violence. The subject was also "Teen violence in RELATION to video games." You're saying that I'm claiming that every single video game including "Hello Kitty: Happy Party Pals" causes violence, which is very outrageous.

Here are ten more cases of deaths caused by video games (1) and I'm sure that they're are many more.

"Video game playing is not anti-social behavior. "Almost 60 percent of frequent gamers play with friends. Thirty-three percent play with siblings and 25 percent play with spouses or parents.""

You are saying that just because gamers play video games with friends and family that they are not anti-social. Well a study has been made that people who play video games more often have a more poorer relationship with family and friends. (2) The study also shows that people who play video games daily are three times more likely to smoke pot that people who have not played before. (2)

"Most studies on video game violence are flawed because they study groups of kids who are already predisposed to violence and thus find extremely violent games INTRIGUING."

Intriguing - Arouse the curiosity or interest of; fascinate (3)
If you find football intriguing, then you would want to try it out. Now switch football with violence. Enough said about that.

"In fact, Halo 3 may be a safer addiction than the other things these addictive types might get addicted to."

So just because it is safer, it's not going to do any harm. That's like saying that jumping off a bridge with protective equipment is safer than jumping off a bridge naked.

"However, the breakdown is more like 10% are "at risk of addiction" and 2 percent are fully addicted to video games."

The statistic is not proven. 8.5% of U.S. youth are addicted to video games. (4) I could not check your reference for your claim that 2% of people are addicted. Your reference just shows a person, a newspaper, and a date.

"Just because a few individuals abuse something to the point where it becomes an addiction DOES NOT prove that that product is "ruining society.""

I beg to differ. imagine the people who are addicted to video games that instead of playing "Halo" work to be medical workers or successful politicians who help their country. Maybe one of the addicts could have been the person who cured AIDS that have been spread around by sex addicts. Maybe one of the addicts could have run for president instead of the idiot who ran the country to the ground or dare I say "ruins."

"John Gabrieli, a neuroscientist at MIT, has concluded that the adaptive difficulty of video games makes people keep playing and learning, when a normal person would quit, by sucking the player in, providing rewards for continuing, and only ramping up the difficulty as the game progresses."

Learn what? How to "no scope" your opponent in Halo?

Vote Pro



Thanks for the quick reply rsgather!

My opponent started the previous round by complaining that I rebutted already. To me, cross-examination means a questioning period and "cases" often include rebuttals, as is the case in Lincoln-Douglas debate. He should be clearer next time if he wants all rebuttal arguments reserved for later.

==Here is my rebuttal of his Round 3==

R1) 10 more examples

Originally, I criticized my opponent for only providing two examples of video games leading to death. He provides a source that contains "ten more deaths" attributed to video games. Let's look briefly through these:

Example 10 is someone playing StarCraft for too long and dying from exhaustion – possibly video game related, although also stupidity related.

Example 9 is someone with an undiagnosed heart condition who merely happened to die while playing an arcade game; people with undiagnosed heart conditions more often die while playing sports, but anything that leads to adrenaline release would do it; NOT CAUSED BY VIDEO GAMES.

Example 8 – someone borrowed his friend's game and sold his virtual sword for $675; his friend stabbed him in retaliation. The death was related to a theft, albeit a virtual one, but virtual property can be worth tens of thousands of dollars. NOT CAUSED BY VIDEO GAMES.

Example 7 – someone committed suicide while Everquest just happened to be on; even the article says NOT CAUSED BY VIDEO GAMES.

Example 6 – a highly confused 13-year-old thought his video game characters were real and jumped off a 24-story building so he could meet them; small children have also drowned trying to meet SpongeBob. This, also, cannot be directly attributed to video games, but instead to a highly deranged child who needed better supervision.

Example 5 – ok, video game related. 13-year-old kills 81-year-old for video game money.

Example 4 – autopsy found that the father had physically abused his toddler daughter many times previously, but he ultimately killed her after she broke his Xbox. Video game related, although, again, this individual was highly disturbed.

Example 3 – Daniel Patric, already refuted. More gun-related than video game related.

Example 2 – the murder weapon was a video game controller, but other than that, video games were not a motivation for the murder.

Example 1 – GTA inspired cop-killing spree. Video game related, although, again, carried out by a highly disturbed individual.

So out of the 10 examples, only 4 were truly related to video games, any more than tangentially. The examples all have many things in common as well – all were HIGHLY disturbed individuals already; many of them were drunk at the time, like the abusive father, and many involved handguns.

These 10 examples prove that there are psychopaths, so possibly our society needs to raise its children better (our schools, values, and parents are ruining society, possibly). Also, potentially alcohol and guns are ruining society.

My opponent also never answers the PBS evidence that although video games have exploded in use over the last 30 years, juvenile crime rates are at a 30-year low. This completely refutes my opponent's argument when we look at the big picture.

R2) Are video games anti-social?

Even if they are, this doesn't prove they are ruining society.

In addition, my opponent's study finds the obvious – people who played excessive hours of video games had suffering social relations. Since time is limited, it seems fairly obvious that the more time someone spends gaming, the less time they spend with family or friends. However, the vast majority of gamers are not extreme addicts, but are casual users. The PBS source says the average boy plays 8 hours a week of video games; the average girl plays 4 hours. This is moderate use.

In addition, it's just selection bias. Kids who are ALREADY anti-social have nothing better to do than play video games. In fact, extend the Nick Yee study that says if you already have extreme social anxiety, playing online MMORPG's actually makes you more likely to interact with people face-to-face. Video games help the socially awkward engage MORE socially, providing an outlet that lets them get over some of their fears.

R3) Smoking pot

My opponent cites a study that people who play video games every day are more likely to smoke pot. However, he never explains how a video game forces you to smoke pot. Correlation does not equal causation.

This also turns his social argument. Only social kids can smoke pot since they have to know the right people in order to acquire it, meaning they have a social network. So gamers tend to be MORE social than non-gamers.

Lastly, no evidence is provided that smoking pot is bad.

R4) Safer addictions

My opponent says that jumping off a bridge with pads is safer than without pads. That's fine – if you HAD to jump off the bridge, you'd want pads, or a bungee cord. Addictive personality types HAVE to satisfy their addictive personality in some way. Halo 3 is vastly superior in this respect to cocaine, for example. This argument still stands.

R5) 8.5% are addicted to video games

My opponent's own source takes issue with the study cited, saying it defines addiction too broadly (for example, saying you would rather play video games than do homework is considered addictive behavior). Ultimately, HIS source concludes, "Using these criteria, we've been addicted to the following at some point in our lives: Pokļæ½mon cards, Pogs, Skittles, Spelling Bees, laser tag, gardening, dating, Lego bricks, Frisbee golf and blogging. Yet somehow, despite our multitude of unshakable, soul-crushing dependencies, we turned out just fine."

My Washington Post evidence used a different poll to break down the statistics, having a much higher bar for being truly addicted, and found closer to 2% were fully addicted to video games. Regardless, my opponent's own source shows that if kids aren't addicted to video games, they'd just be addicted to something else that's fun.

R6) Video game addicts could become president

This is essentially my opponent's argument – that video games addicts could do great things. The problem with this is that people with extremely addictive personalities are unlikely to do well in life because they just replace one addiction with another. The second problem is that society is far from completely destroyed simply because a tiny fraction of its citizens are addicted to something and are thus, less productive.

==On to my case and all the dropped arguments==

1. Video game violence

My opponent drops most of my evidence here. He drops the PBS evidence that although video games have exploded in use over the last 30 years, juvenile violent crime rates are at a 30 year low. This completely disproves that video games lead to more violence in society.

My opponent drops the University of Illinois longitudinal study that followed video gamers and a control group and found that gamers did not exhibit more violence or irritation in their social relationships.

He drops the Surgeon General's report (2001) that the greatest predictors of school shootings are mental stability and home life, NOT video game use. Notice ALL of my opponent's examples of deaths caused by video games were usually people who were BOTH mentally unstable AND had bad home lives.

Lastly, and most importantly for this point, he drops the turn. The Scott Cunningham study concluded that juvenile violence rates are at a 30-year low BECAUSE OF video games; violent individuals use fantasy, rather than reality, as an outlet for their violent urges. This is a good thing.

2. Addiction

My opponent doesn't have a great response to my analysis that addictive personalities can get addicted to anything. Just because something leads to addiction doesn't make it bad (see sex). There is nothing INHERENT to video games that makes them addictive, unlike cigarettes which contain nicotine. If someone gets addicted, that's their fault.

3. Video games are good

My opponent drops every single argument here, except to smirk at the Gabrieli evidence.

Extend the Mitch Wade evidence; he is an information consultant for RAND Corp. and Google and he says that video gamers have better problem solving ability, better team play, and better and more careful risk-taking than non-gamers. His book, "Got Game," argues that video games are central to training the work force of tomorrow.

The John Gabrieli evidence points out that video games are a GREAT way to keep people engaged in a learning process, since they have adaptive difficulty. I talked about how teachers use games like Civilization and other video games to demonstrate various concepts in World History and International Relations.

The Shawn Green study found that gamers have better hand-eye coordination, better peripheral vision, and better visuo-motor skills than non-gamers. The Daphne Bavelier studies found that "video gamers show improved skills in vision, attention and . . . cognition. And these skills are not just gaming skills, but real-world skills. They perform better than non-gamers on . . . tests of attention, speed, accuracy, vision and multitasking." This answers my opponent's objection that video game skills do not transfer to real world skills. Not only does Mitch Wade find that video gamers do better in business, but Daphne Bavelier finds that on non-video game tasks, gamers have more concentration, greater speed and accuracy, and better multi-tasking skills, all of which translate to great success in life.

Every single argument I have mentioned here was dropped by my opponent so this should be a clear Con victory.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3


rsgather forfeited this round.


Forfeit - I win.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by rsgather 6 years ago
Had somethings going on... could not do my conclusion.
Posted by dinokiller 6 years ago
D: I wanted to take this one >:(
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Freeman 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.