Violent Video Games Cause Violent Behavior
Debate Rounds (4)
They just do.
I think you meant "Violent Video Games Cause Violent Behavior [In Teens]" because they don't, but in children they do, it's not a debate; children will emulate Power Rangers and all sorts of things they see on television as well (http://www.thecrimson.com..., http://www.ofcom.org.uk...) and they are especially susceptible to media.
Thanks to my opponent for accepting! Good luck to him/her! :)
Before I begin, I want to point out that the onus is on my opponent to prove that the resolution is true. This is because:
a) The burden is on him to prove a positive statement (i.e. the resolution), as it's impossible to prove a negative claim.
b) The resolution demands that he prove that violent video games cause violent behavior, and that I prove they do not.
This means that so long as I'm refuting my opponent's arguments, then it's sufficient for me to win the debate, as I'm disproving my opponent's position, i.e. showing how violent video games do not cause violent behavior.
OVERVIEW TO MY OPPONENT'S CASE:
My opponent seems to be using the tactic of just citing sources without actually writing out an arugment. There's a few problems with doing this.
First, this is just the appeal to authority fallacy. He's just showing the articles to me and saying that I'm wrong because it's all right there. By that line all I have to do is show my own sources and nothing in his last round stands anymore because the sources would cancel each other out. Without writing any actual arguments, he doesn't have anything to advance in the round, and thus no way to win.
Second, this is a debate between me and the user blackbird. If I wanted to debate the authors of those articles, I'd contact them and do so. It's unfair to me to be expected to read through every article and respond to everything in them while all my opponent did was just list off a few results from Google. Judges, I ask that you don't let him get away with this kind of behavior. If he doesn't actually give you any arguments of his own, then vote him down.
But, even though it's unfair for me to have to, I read through his sources. Let's examine each one in depth:
THE CNN SOURCE:
His first source is a source from CNN talking about the link between violent video games and aggression. This source is a wash for a few reasons:
First, he's mistakingly saying that aggression and violent behavior are the same thing. That's not the case though. I can be an aggressive person without doing a single violent thing. Aggression doesn't necessitate violent acts and the onus is on him to prove that it does.
Second, his own source admits that there could be an outside reason other than the violence that's causing the aggression. To quote his own article, ""It's not the violence per se that's the problem, it's the context and goals of the violence," said Olson, citing past research on TV violence and behavior.". Since my opponent has to be proving that it's the violence that's causing the violent acts, as per the resolution, if I show that there's an outside reason other than violence that's causing these violent acts then you vote con.
Third, his own source admits that his own source has too vague of definitions, and that there needs to be better definitions of what a violent video game constitutes and what aggressive behavior constitutes. To quote his own source, ". But she argues that the label "violent video games" is too vague. Researchers need to do a better job at defining what is considered a violent video game and what constitutes aggressive behavior, she added." This means that a) his source doesn't fully defend the position he's taking and b) it further confirms my earlier point that aggression isn't the same thing as violent acts.
THE TIME SOURCE:
My opponent's next source is a source from the New York Times, talking about, again, how exposure to violent video games leads to aggression. This source is even worse.
First, refer back to my above argument about how aggression and violent acts are not the same thing.
Second, his own source contradicts his claim. To quote his source, "Anderson and his team, however, did not see any significant difference in empathy among the players who played more or fewer hours. That confirmed earlier lab-based studies that showed both undergraduates who played violent games and those that played non-violent ones were equally likely to help scientists pick up dropped pens." And this is important because if there's no difference in empathy between those who play violent video games and those who do not, the claim that violent vidoe games lead to aggression looks even worse than it did before. Also, if violent video game players are showing the same levels of empathy as non-violent video game players are, then they're just as likely to also commit acts of violence as those who do not, since empathy is the opposite of aggression (helping someone as opposed to hurting them), which suggests an alternative cause to the violent acts than the violence in video games.
Third, his own source blatantly argues against his position. To quote, "The evolving literature is why some researchers, including Christopher Ferguson, chair of the psychology department at Stetson University, insist there isn’t strong evidence that exposure to violent video games leads to more aggressive behavior. He notes, for example, that the rise in popularity of video gaming has not been matched by a similar rise in violent crime among adolescents who are most likely to play them. Studies that link violent video games to violent behavior, he says, often fail to account for other factors that can contribute to aggression, such as violence in the home, abuse, and mental illness." This is catastrophic for my opponent because it shows that a) violent video games don't lead to more aggression, b) if it did then there would be a corrolation between video game and violent crime among adolescents, which his own source says doesn't exist, and c) that there are alternative explanations to the violent behavior (i.e. domestic violence, abuse, and mental disease) that causes the violent behavior.
THE PAMF SOURCE:
My opponent's third source is from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and makes the claim that violent video games leads to aggression. This source is trash as well.
First, refer to the above as to how aggression and violent acts are not the same thing.
Secondly, the source doesn't actually present any kind of evidence. It says a bunch of stuides have said things (" A 2004 study by Gentile, Lynch, Linder & Walsh found that teens who play violent video games for extended periods of time: ... ), without giving us anything about the study (i.e. methodology, sample size, etc.). This means it's impossible to verify the integrity of the study conducted, which means there's no reason we should trust the accuracy of the study for the purpose to this debate.
Third, even his own source won't defend the accuracy of outside sources/websites. To quote, "[B]elow are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them." If the source he's citing to make x claim won't even defend the information they used to make that claim, there's absolutely no reason we should trust his source.
THE PSYCHOLOGY TODAY SOURCE:
His fourth and final source is from Psychology today and is saying that---wait, where have I seen this before? Is it making the claim that violent video games lead to aggression? Oh no, it is...
Well, might as well dive right in.
First, refer above to why violent acts and aggression are not the same thing.
Secondly, the empirical evidence cited by this article is not even linked, just the results were stated, meaning we have no way to confirm that the study was a valid study.
Third, the evidence it uses isn't even significant. The results from the study said, and I quote, "These studies find that playing violent video games does, indeed, cause aggression. The effect is a correlation of about r = .20", which is statistically insignificant. It's more likely that an alternative cause, like one's previously mentioned, are causing the violent behavior other than the violence in video games themselves.
HIS OTHER TWO SOURCES:
My opponent cites two more sources, which, as he claims, show how children "will emulate Power Rangers and all sorts of things they see on television as well ". This is irrelevant to the debate. Our discussion is about violent video games. Anything outside of this should have no relevance to the debate at hand.
I have gone through all of my opponent's claims and thuroughly refuted each and every source he cited. Moreover, he has not actually presented a single argument this debate, only letting google do his arguing for him. This means that a) you're defaulting to voting con because he doesn't have a single argument to advance through the round, which means he isn't proving that violent video games cause violent behavior, and b) even if you're counting his source-spam as an argument, I've gone through and shown how his sources are both flawed and contradictory to his position, providing me with evidence for my position, meaning I'm doing the better job upholding my resolutional burden.
I pass the floor back over to my opponent, and wish him luck with the rest of the debate! :)
First, the language argument that "Aggression doesn't equate Violence" without a basis disregards context. Your "refutation"(?) exceeds the source. You have to provide that it isn't specific to that definition not that a word has more than one definition in general. Bunk.
To back this up from within the source:
[[ Japanese children rated their own behavior in terms of physical aggression, such as hitting, kicking or getting into fights with other kids; the U.S. children rated themselves too, but the researchers took into account reports from their peers and teachers as well. ]]
There is no reason it doesn't refer to violence.
Second is a misquote:
[[ But Dr. Cheryl K. Olson, co-director of the Center for Mental Health and the Media at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, isn't convinced.
"It's not the violence per se that's the problem, it's the context and goals of the violence," said Olson, citing past research on TV violence and behavior.
There are definitely games kids shouldn't be playing, she said, for example those where hunting down and killing people is the goal. But she argues that the label "violent video games" is too vague. Researchers need to do a better job at defining what is considered a violent video game and what constitutes aggressive behavior, she added.
Further, she adds, playing games rated "M" for mature has become "normative behavior" for adolescents, especially boys. "It's just a routine part of what they do," she says. ]]
First, it exceeds the claim that it effects children by entering into a different age bracket (adolescents) and second it's a generic counter-balance claim for any given newsource to prevent bias however she too states that certain games should not be used and then proposes that the proposition is loose, which is fine however it does not dismiss:
[[ In every group, children who were exposed to more video game violence did become more aggressive over time than their peers who had less exposure. This was true even after the researchers took into account how aggressive the children were at the beginning of the study -- a strong predictor of future bad behavior.
The findings are "pretty good evidence" that violent video games do indeed cause aggressive behavior, says Dr. L. Rowell Huesmann, director of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research in Ann Arbor.
There are two ways violent media can spur people to violent actions, said Huesmann, who has been studying violence in media and behavior for more than 30 years.
First is imitation; children who watch violence in the media can internalize the message that the world is a hostile place, he explains, and that acting aggressively is an OK way to deal with it.
Also, he says, kids can become desensitized to violence. "When you're exposed to violence day in and day out, it loses its emotional impact on you," Huesmann said. "Once you're emotionally numb to violence, it's much easier to engage in violence." ]]
It doesn't even counter it. They are talking about two different age groups and I focusing on children. My opponents criticism holds no water.
Q1: The second source is pretty much the same.
[[ 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. ]]
Solves the "language" issue.
[[ 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. ... "What this study does is show that it"s media violence exposure that is teaching children and adolescents to see the world in a more aggressive kind of way," says Anderson. "It shows very strongly that repeated exposure to violent video games can increase aggression by increasing aggressive thinking."
Brain imaging studies also hint that exposure to violent gaming may actually temporarily change the brain. In a 2011 study, for example, after a week of daily video gaming, brain scans of a small group of volunteers showed less activity in the regions connected to emotions, attention, and inhibition of impulses compared to participants who played non-violent video games. The effect appeared to be reversible, but the results suggested that extended periods of play could lead to more stable changes in the brain. ]]
Completely shows my opponent misquoted the segment chosen:
[[ Previous studies have suggested that the short-term effects of spiking stress hormones"typical of the fight-or-flight response"can rev up players" sensitivity to slights or provocations, and that playing violent games can lead to longer-term suppression of empathy. Another recent study purported to find a link between violent video games and racism. Anderson and his team, however, did not see any significant difference in empathy among the players who played more or fewer hours. That confirmed earlier lab-based studies that showed both undergraduates who played violent games and those that played non-violent ones were equally likely to help scientists pick up dropped pens. ]]
This has nothing to do with with children, for one, and it has nothing to do with this study the article is on, for two, it looks at other studies which suggested something entirely different that wasn't even measured in the study cited.
The "third" point has the same problem as the third point last time as it's an anti-bias point however if one reads it:
[[ More recent research has not found that children who play VVG are more violent than other kids, nor harmed in any other identifiable fashion. A recent longitudinal study of my own, following 165 10- to 14-year-old boys and girls over a three-year period, now in press with Journal of Psychiatric Research, finds no long-term link between VVG and youth aggression or dating violence. ]]
The age itself exceeds that of the scope of the study itself. The actual study, if read, shows as the article states:
"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."
However it is backed up with the above in segment Q2 which goes back and addresses the issue throughout the study and the rerouting of native behavior and behavioral choices.
I am no longer going to constantly "assert" the equivocation problem since it's been shown false twice now and it is clearly false in the third if one should read it. It does not even hide the term violence and it is extremely clear that it refers to at least violent behavior and fighting.
As for the "source doesn't present evidence" the studies are cited and there is a link to one at the bottom. It isn't impossible to verify. That doesn't even make sense. I would understand if there were no citations, it wasn't reviewed, it didn't have scholarly status, and it was not from a reputable source but there's no value to your "questioning" as it is as sound as any source would get. You have to objectively prove why it's not a sound source not just inject why you don't like it.
The standard for endorsement has nothing to do with the validity of the information. That is an outright Strawman (http://www.nizkor.org...) and means nothing.
"Third, the evidence it uses isn't even significant. The results from the study said, and I quote, "These studies find that playing violent video games does, indeed, cause aggression. The effect is a correlation of about r = .20", which is statistically insignificant. It's more likely that an alternative cause, like one's previously mentioned, are causing the violent behavior other than the violence in video games themselves. "
I have to prove that VVGs cause aggression. This proves that VVGs cause aggression. You rejection based on the "amount" of aggression is ( http://rationalwiki.org... ) shifting goalposts. Instead of my source proving the point and being sufficient my opponent has decided that it's "not enough" and "doesn't work" based on absolutely no criteria. Furthermore the opponent doesn't explain why it's statistically insignificant or what "r=.20" actually means which misleads those who do not know to simply be swayed without an explanation which further makes for an actual Appeal to Authority: Self (http://www.nizkor.org...) as my opponent feels they are of sufficient standing to declare this as fact without backing.
Pivot 1: My opponent commits Equivocation as a means of defense.
Pivot 2: My opponent misquotes the sources, does not posit his own, and inters his own reasoning as a means of dissuading others regardless of his not being an Authority and his not having grounds or ignoring the content and context.
Pivot 3: My opponent admits that at least one source did provide sufficient evidence that it does occur but then shifts the goalpost stating that it's occurrence was not sufficient to meet their criteria which was not revealed prior making it shifting of goal posts, a logical fallacy, and completely unfair.
I was hoping I'd be reading things that backed VVGs rather than having to discuss basic language deciphering skills and listening to made up on the spot criteria.
I dropped the last two sources in agreement with my opponent because though they are actually signs of of the behavior in children and why they are so impressionable (and it does talk about video games in the last two sources) it's easier to continue without them.
Aggression =/= Violence
My opponent's sole refutation to this point is that by claiming that aggression and violent behavior are not the same thing, I'm ignoring the context of the situation. He supports this by quoting one of his sources where kids rated their own behavior on how violent they were. There are numerous problems with this though,
First, this is a highly silly argument. Just by saying one of his sources refers to "violent behavior" doesn't equate aggression and violence in any way. He still has yet to prove how aggression and violence are the same thing. My previous example of how I can be an aggressive person and still not do a single violent thing still holds.
Second, this is a really, really, really, silly argument. Even if his study references some kids talking about their aggression as violent acts, it would be highly fallacious to then equate that into all references of aggression are of real-world violence. That's like saying because I'm a mass murderer and I'm wearing purple socks, then anyone wearing purple socks is a mass murderer. So just because one of his sources references some kids talking about their aggression in terms of physical violence, that doesn't mean all aggression is in terms of phsyical violence.
And, this is devastating to my opponent's case because every single one of his sources talk about how video games are making kids more aggressive. But if that aggression isn't being actually being turned into actual physical violence, then it becomes impossible for him to actually affirm the resolution.
Instead of responding to each accusation that I misquoted my opponent's sources, especially since each response would be the same essentially, I'll just condense it into one response: no I didn't. I copy/pasted the exact text the article had into the round. I'm not quoting entire paragraphs of text if I only plan to cite a few sentences because a) that's a waste of characters, b) you're already quoting the things that you say I need to be quoting, so there's no point, and c) it doesn't invalidate any of the accusations I've brought against you. For someone who's complaining about the direction this debate is headed, you're only furthering it in that direction when you had multiple different chances to respond in substance to the arguments I've leveled against you.
Also, now that I'm re-reading through his defenses, I'm noticing something come up really often that I feel like needs to be addressed. And so it shall be:
AND WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS!?!? THINK ABOUT THE KIDS!!
Frankly, I don't know why my opponent thinks age range is all that relevant of a limiting factor. The resolution was never limited in any way to only children or only teenagers so the fact that he's trying to disqualify evidence based on it not talking about kids is really, really odd.
And now for some math talk. For those of you who don't want to be bored by math goobley-gook, I'll bold where the tl;dr starts.
The problem with the one study my opponent cited is that it stated the relationship cited between playing violent video games and aggression is equal to r = .20. But what does that even mean? Well, as my math teacher always told me to do, figure out what the variable is.
r represents the correlation coefficient, or how strong the relationship between two variables are (1). The number is measured between positive and negative one. The closer to negative one it is, the more negative the relationship is (i.e. more x correlates with less y) and the closer to positive one it is, the more positive the relationship is (i.e. more x correlates with more y).
END OF EXTREMELY SHORT MATH SECTION
Essentially, the stronger the correlation between aggression and violent video games was, the closer that number would be to one. The fact that it is very, very far away from one (as it's at .20) suggests that it has little to no impact.
BUT EVEN IF the correlation coefficient does suggest a relationship between the two, there's still a bunch of problems that the studies don't resolve, which I will go into now.
First, he can't just point to this and say that violent video games cause aggression and point to the correlation coefficient as evidence. This is textbook correlation-causation fallacy. Just because something correlates with another variable, does not mean one causes the other. The possibility of bias in the study or other variables influencing the results is still a viable possibility that would explain the correlation, thus making it fallacious to just point to it and say "violent video games cause aggression". There are multiple variables, that I brought up before and my opponent never responded to, that would influence the two, such as domestic violence, abuse, and mental illness among others.
Second, even if he's somehow showing that violent video games do actually CAUSE aggression, not just correlate with it, then he still has to prove how being more aggressive makes people actually resort to physical, real-world violence, which is something that he has yet to ever try to prove.
But let's take a step back here. Let's think about if I'm just a little deluded to my debating skills. What if my opponent is actually right that there is some kind of causal link between violent video games and aggression? And that aggression is the same thing as real-world violence? What if he's actually right?
Even if, he'd still be wrong. Why? Let's think about it for a second.
Well for one video games serve as a method to vent anger and stress, offering a non-violent outlet to any kind of aggression or tension-buildup. Gilsdorf explains it quite well when he states: "If some of these men are hopelessly mentally ill, then we need to do all we can to prevent their access to real guns. But sane or depressed, many men feel powerless. Many feel angry. Many feel disengaged. They just want a stake in the action. Video games might be the best outlet they’ve got." (2)
Could playing violent video games actually help people relax? Make them less likely to commit other atrocities in real life, their anger fully expressed in the virtual world, making it unnecessary to surface in the real one? Empirics say yes. With 42% of the boys studied saying they play video games to release anger and 65% saying that playing games helps them relax (3), it's quite clear what effect violent video games have on people, if any.
- My opponent's only real defense was accusing me of misquoting his sources. With this addressed, the turns against his sources all stand as valid, giving me additional offense coming out of his very arguments.
- All of my opponent's arguments revolve around the concept of showing how violent video games create more aggression in those who play them. The only problem with this is the only point that even comes close to doing so mathmatically admits to having little to no impact on behavior.
And even if it did have some kind of correlation,
a) he isn't proving causation at all, and his attempts to assert it are the correlation-causation fallacy,
b) isn't showing how aggression and real-world violence are the same thing,
c) ignores the argument coming out of his own sources that says if this is actually true, then there would be a crime trend to match it, and that crime rate trend does not exist (this is the Fergusen evidence coming out of his own Time source),
d) he isn't showing why any of the alternative explanations for this rise in aggression aren't actually valid, meaning that they all stand as alternative explanatory variables (this is only further strengthened by the fact that the Fergusen evidence says that studies saying there's a relationship don't account for these alternative variables),
e) he's not responding to the argument coming from his Time source saying that those who played violent video games were just as likely to show signs of empathy toward others as those who didn't play violent video games, which is a direct counter to his aggression point,
and f) doesn't explain the evidence that actually shows how playing violent video games provides an outlet for things like anger and aggression, which would prevent real-world outbursts of violence. And this is especially crushing to my opponent since this analysis is back by empirics which confirm the point.
And with that, I pass the floor back over to my opponent, and wish him luck with the rest of this debate! :)
(1) - http://tinyurl.com...
(2) - http://tinyurl.com...
(3) - Cheryl Olson, Lawrence Kutner, Dorothy Warner, Jason Almerigi, Lee Baer, Armand Nicholi, and Eugene Beresin, "Factors Correlated with Violent Video Game Use by Adolescent Boys and Girls," Journal of Adolescent Health, July 2007
I'm sorry to hear that :( Perhaps we could continue this another time?
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Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: concession
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
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