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Open Challenge - 4 Topics

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/20/2017 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 658 times Debate No: 104473
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Below are 4 topics. I'd like to have a good debate with someone on one of these topics.

This topic has been designed to be impossible to accept for the moment but if you are somehow capable of accepting it by meeting the unlikely criteria, please don't do so.

If you are interested, post in the comments along with your preference for topic(s) and I'll invite someone to start the debate who seems like they'll be an interesting opponent.

In each case with the below I will be Pro.

The Topics are

1) The UK should renationalise its railways.

2) Violent videogames have a negative social outcome on children.

3) Western nations should suppost a boycott of Israel.

4) A discrimination-based wage gap exists in the USA.

First round will be for acceptence.


I would like to thank Overhead for this deabte, I would like to debate on topis two, 'Violent videogames have a negative social outcome on children".

First I would like to lay out some definitions and rules:
1.BoP is 50-50
2.No rebuttals in round 2 (Would give me an extra rebuttal round)

Violent video games:
Video games with the rating "M" on the ESRB scale, and a description including at least one of the following:

Intense Violence
Fantasy Violence
Violent References

Anyone under the age of 18

I wish the best of luck to my opponent!
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting.

The definition of Children is fine as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines under 18 as the standard for being a child.

With the ESRB scale, I don't think that's a great definition for violent video games for a couple reasons.

1) It's not very universal. For instance I'm not from a country that uses the ESRB system.

2) It's not a great definition. Other scales on ESRB (Notably AO and T contain differing amounts of violence to M but still contain violence.

3) It seems to miss the point. While T might contain less graphic or more cartoony violence, frankly if I show than even less intense violence has negative social impacts then that just makes my argument all the more powerful.

I think we will be fine without having a hard and fast definition of violent videogames, but at the same time I don't want to limit my options out the gate with a definition that I don't think works. if you feel they are necessary, I'd suggest the dictionary definitions of "Violent" and "Videogames".

The Argument

I will argue that Violent videogames have a negative social outcome on children.

To some, they might make the argument of free will. That there is no way videogames can force people to commit acts of violence or act in any way they don't want. This is true. People still have agency and make their own choices.

However it doesn't need to control their actions, it merely needs to influence them and this is something that we know can happen to people. People have their own free choice in what religion they pick (in most countries) and yet most people growing up in a Christian family in a Christian country will be Christian, most people growing up in a Hindu family in a Hindu country will be Hindu, etc, etc. Despite their free will to make a choice, people are quite obviously influenced by what's around them.

Not only that but Classical Conditioning is a fairly well known example of the ability to manipulate people through rewarding or punishing behaviour [1]. Based on the famous example of Pavlov's dogs, we have even been able to (for example) train men to get erections to the sound of musical chimes [2]!

That people can be influenced by the culture around them including media is fairly indisputable - and if not someone should notify every advertising agency in the world. That leaves the question - do video games in particular cause negative social outcomes in children?

The Evidence

The answer is an overwhelming yes.

It doesn't turn people into homicidal maniacs. I play games myself and have since I was a child don't consider myself violent. The same is hopefully true with you. This isn't about anyone on an individual level. This is about people who play video games - as a collective, being on average more susceptible to negative social outcomes like violence.

The above is a meta-analysis of violence in video games.

This is very important because a meta-analysis is a study of studies [3], combining the results of a mass of studies to give an overall view of the status of the scientific evidence. This avoids the problem with singular studies where it is possible to cherry pick the exceptions and present them as as the norm, or where there is a mixture of competing evidence and it is hard to say where the overall consensus lies.

In this case the peer reviewed scientific meta-analysis finds:

"Data from 98 independent studies with 36,965 participants revealed that for both violent video games and prosocial video games, there was a significant association with social outcomes. Whereas violent video games increase aggression and aggression-related variables and decrease prosocial outcomes, prosocial video games have the opposite effects. These effects were reliable across experimental, correlational, and longitudinal studies, indicating that video game exposure causally affects social outcomes and that there are both short- and long-term effects"

To me, this is exactly what I would expect to see. People play violent videogames. There is a reward and sense of accomplishment when you absolutely smash the other team in Call of Duty and manage to win. It fits the logic of classical conditioning perfectly. People are trained to commit (virtual) violence and get rewarded. This primes them to act violently.


This is not to condemn videogames. I believe that there are likely a host of similar results from other media - from watching a violent movie to watching one of the more violent sports (Even American Football perhaps). It simply means that the risks must be acknowledged and thought given to how this is dealt with. Perhaps the current model of game classification is perfectly fine.

Regardless the fact of videogames increasing violence is a indisputable fact that is backed up by several dozen studies of tens of thousands of participants. These results are solid and whether we like it or not (I don't), we can't pretend they don't exist.

On this basis I feel voters must vote Pro




Let’s say your 6 year old kid said he would beat you up if you did not pull over and buy him ice cream, the parents would not stop, why? Because, even with the child’s aggression, the parent know that there will be no backup to his claims. Now if you replaced the 6 year old child with a pro wrestler, then you may be more inclined to pull your car over. If you cannot realistically threaten others, than acting aggressive will not help.

Playing Grand Theft Auto all day may lead to you wanting to crash more digital cars, or beat up more fantasy people(In the near future), the advisability of your agression will not change. We can connect this to a non-human example, which is always helpful when looking into psychology because if an idea only works on humans, than it is more likely that the idea does not have interpretation. Let us take a moose, or 3 straight hours you show the moose a video of moose fighting. Afterwards your moose will not rush out to find a rival to duel, why? The reason, is that the moose chances of victory do not increase, so why should it’s actions change?

Obviously the topic at hand is much more complex, but it gives us a foothold on why violent video games should not have a lasting impact on the aggression of humans. Humans do not play games because the game is violent, instead they play the game for the challenge. Following that idea, it is more logical to assume that changing the difficulty of the game would have a much greater effect that changing the level of violence.


Andrew K. Przybylski of Rochester University released a report on the supposed link between violent video games and aggression. His report consisted of a series of 7 studies, I will explain them here(1).

In study one Przybylsk let 99 players play two different games. One game was non-violent, and had relatively easy controls. The other game was violent, and had significantly more complex controls. Przybylsk and his team then asked each participant to rank 3 things, level of violence of the game, difficulty the participant had with the controls, and the aggression afterwards. As expected, difficulty with controls had a much stronger correlation with aggression than violence.

In study two, two versions of the game Half-Life two were created. One was violent the other was not, both games had the same atmosphere and difficulty. When testing the participants, frustration with the difficulty of the level was a much better indicator of aggression that the violence of the game. Study three is similar to study two, but the difficulty of the controls of the game was changed. The game in question is tetris, a non-violent game, those participants with more difficult controls were more likely to have aggressive compulsions. Study four changed a few variable over study three, but reached the same conclusion. Competence was inversely proportional to aggression

In study five 112 participants were given one of two complex games, one that was violent, the other was non-violent. Half the participants were given 10 minutes of practice time. As expected considering the results of the previous studies, those participants without practice time showed more violent tendencies, the violence of the game showed no correlation. Study six asked participants to dunk their arm in ice cold water, then play tetris. The game was set at various difficulties. The patients were then asked the current participant how long the next participant should put their arm into the water. The harder the game’s difficulty, the longer the current patient suggested the next subject put their hand in the water. In study 7 the researchers interviewed gamers on the games they play, and their aggressive tendencies. The difficulty of the game was a held a stronger correlation to aggression that the rating of the game.

In conclusion, it is evident that, instead of the violence of the video game, the difficulty of the game is a much better indicator of the aggression of the player. Losing the game tends to provoke rage, it does not matter the violence of the game.


In a study lead by Dr. Gregor Szycik(2), the researchers lead a study on the long term effects of video games on humans. This is important, as a vast majorities of other studies on this topic focused on short term effects. A group of gamers who played first person shooter for a minimum of two hours a day were compared to a group of people with no experience of violent video games. Each gamer refrained from playing the game for 3 hours, though most waited longer. The participants were asked a series of physiological questions, and were then showed pictures that were meant to provoke an emotional response. MRI scans were conducted on the brain during this time. The questionnaire reported no difference in aggression and empathy in gamers to non-gamers, and that finding was backed up by brain scans


A study lead by Oxford University(3) found that the time playing video games lead to lower academic scores for children, but that change was incredibly minor. The study found that students who played video games generally had lower grades, the important thing, is that they found no correlation between the rating of the game. This is important, as it suggests that addiction to game would have a negative social effect while violence would have a negligible social effect.

If you look at a more extreme case, you can look at Adam Lanza. He is, of course, the infamous Sandy Hook shooter, and was obviously mentally unstable. Many people were ready for the FBI to release document about how violent video games had effected Adam’s mental state, but they got a disappointing surprise. The game that effected Adam the most, was not violent, it was “Dance Dance Revolution”, a single player arcade game. Adam put an excessive amount of time into the game, suggesting that his disconnect from society was the real reason for his deteriorating mental state. This disconnect is important, as the Oxford study found that multiplayer games may increase a child’s ability to be social.

<Third Variable>

Previous studies on violence in video games have been criticized for not recording the atmosphere of the game. Controls, difficulty, and competition have all been shown to affect aggression, yet many studies neglect this. The importance of the studies I have linked is that many include a third variable, whether it be time or difficulty. This is extremely important, as the studies have found a much strong correlation with that third variable. Many first person shooters are mechanically hard and competitive, and that may be the real reason that some study have found a correlation between videogames and violence. In many of these studies, this correlation has been minimal enough that in no way would it constitute a negative social outcome.


In conclusion, it is evident that violent video games do not have an affect on society that can be deemed to be negative. The ever expanding library of rage quit videos on youtube also prove my point. The common denominator of the aggression in all of these videos is not violence of the video games, it is losing. It is clearly evident that addiction to game has a greater negative effect of society over violent video games. Correlation does not equal causation, and it is evident that any correlation that may be found would be the result of not examining every factor of the games being studied.

Being competitive, or being a bit impatient cannot possibly be considered a negative social outcome. The average COD gamer is not going out punching people, or being overly aggressive because of the game.In fact, the most popular violent video games are multiplayer, so social interaction may be increasing. Many may consider online conversation “not real”, and it is obvious that too much time online can have a negative effect, but video games can build important social bonds for many people, myself included.

In no way is society as a whole being affected by this, crime rates have continued to drop(4), as video game sales have continued to rise. I may be pushing it to say that the drop in juvenile crime may be the result of videogames, in fact I highly doubt it. But it is only logical to assume that the relatively cheap distractions may have played a role in that decrease. If violent video games did have a negative impact on society, than the 70 million copies of GTA V that were sold in stores should have resulted in an increase in crime. But never, in all my time of playing violent video games, have I ever had the urge to blow up a car; many people can share that sentiment.






Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by EXOPrimal 2 years ago
Relink the meta-analysis, does not work - it just links to the homepage.

I was typing up my argument and I realized that I had no connection with children, I propose that we drop the children aspect of the topic, as you also failed to make that connection.
Posted by Overhead 3 years ago
Challenge has gone to EXOprimal, with the mystery of not knowing which of the two options he'll pick having swayed it. Please let me know which topic you're choose to debate when you accept (Reminder: R1 is acceptance only). Thanks to Qwzx and Arganger for commenting and after this debate is over might extend a challenge your way.
Posted by Overhead 3 years ago
Cool, got a couple of good contenders already. I'll leave it a couple of days and then probably make a call Wednesday/Thursday.
Posted by EXOPrimal 3 years ago
I'd debate 2 or 3
Posted by qwzx 3 years ago
I would love to debate you on #4 as well
Posted by Arganger 3 years ago
I'll do number 4.
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