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My Pecha Kucha Presentation

28 Nov




1. Hi my name is Joe Winfield and today I’m delivering my presentation called Grand Theft ASBO – Do Violent Video Games contribute to Anti Social behaviour in our children in this Modern Age? That’s the question that I’m arising today. Firstly I’m going to start off with a quote:



2. From Doctor Bruce Bartholow, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Missouri about the effects of video games – “A single exposure to a violent video game won’t turn someone into a mass murderer, but, if someone has repeatedly exposed themselves, these kinds of effects in the short term can turn into long-term changes.”



3. So, back to the question here, do violent video games contribute to anti social behavior in children? They do and they don’t. Obviously it is not 100% true, it does for some kids, not all. It impossible to disagree that it does to some level as studies show – 2/3s of kids play violent video games…



4. …in todays society. Nearly every kid have been exposed to violent video games from a very young age. It’s very likely that they can walk into any shop and buy a violent video game, such as these two kids here who’re no older than 10years old purchasing call of duty.



5. These games have been proven to cause aggression and anti social behaviour amongst kids. We’ve all seen on the news about violent youths committing crime, some minor and some very serious affecting a lot of people. How have they resulted in doing this?



6.  Many Factors that contribute to AS behaviour include: Mental Health, Physical Health, Attention span, Anxiety, Aggression, Social Class, Upbringing, Etc.



7. Also, factors like: Access to guns, cars, weapons etc – Allowing you to mimic the game characters at ease and obviously playing the games themselves.



8. Playing video games is active. You become the aggressor. You enter Fright/flight/fight mode when gaming. Identifying with the game killer in these murder simulators and overtime, you become immune to what you’re doing. Killing people becomes fun, not morally incorrect or horrifying.



9. When you get better at killing people in gaming you get rewards. Reward systems are built into most violent video games encouraging you to kill more and more innocent people, Often hearing audio cues like – great shot! MURDER STREAK! Instant killer!



10. You can get so caught up in gaming that it can almost become so real with todays graphic and realistic scenarios. In games you can shoot people and rob cars. What’s stopping you doing that in real life? Obviously the law, but it’s easy to disregard it and do as you please.



11. Different games cause different effects. For example with: GTA – Car theft, robbery, drugs, sex, violence, mass murder and Call of Duty – shooting people without end. The list is endless. So many games display different types of violence



12. But of course there are positives to violent video games! What would this discussion be without a plus side? Video games has been proven to be good for you: Release your anger, Improve hand/eye coordination.. But that’s one or two positives in a pool of negatives.



13. One person who knows all about the negatives is the anti gaming activist – Jack Thompson. His basic argument is that violent video games have repeatedly been used by children as “murder simulators”. To rehearse violent plans. He also quotes that “In every school shooting, we find that kids who pull the trigger are video gamers. These violent video games are physical appliances that teach kids how to kill and enjoy it”



14. The events that I’m about to discuss are real life events that were inspired by violent video games. All the culprits in the forthcoming examples have stated that this is true. They conducted evil acts of violence that were caused by excessive video gaming.



15. Firstly, the Columbine Shootings of 1999 in Columbine, Colorado that were carried out by two students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They injured 24 with homemade bombs and guns and also killed 13 and ultimately committing suicide.



16. Why? They were labeled as outcasts by fellow students. They hated their school for treating them differently. They were also hardcore DOOM fans amongst various other first person shooter games. They also had an easy access to weaponry. They took out their anger on the people they hated most by replicating video game violence upon them.



17.  Also, the likes of Devin Moore in 2005 who was an avid Grand Theft Auto fan, who ironically was caught committing Grand Theft Auto and ultimately killed three policemen in the process. In court he was given the death sentence. His last words were “Life’s a video game, you gotta die sometime”.



18. Also, similarly, Joshua and William Buckner in 2003 who committed two accounts of murder, shooting two innocent drivers on interstate 40, Tennessee. They were sentenced to indefinite detention Why? – GTA 3 inspired them. Interesting enough, they claim it wasn’t supposed to happen but that gaming took over.



19. And yet another, 13yr old Noah Wilson in 1997 who repetitively stabbed his best friend in the chest after playing mortal kombat. His mother caught him in the act saying that Noah was mimicking the actions of his character on screen performing his finishing move.



20. Here’s an interesting – fact from these examples Jack Thompson has supported the families of the victims in all of the cases. He believes so strongly that violent video games are evil that he takes role of defence lawyer in any such case as possible very seriously.




21. And from these examples we also see that these culprits are all American. Most of the well known incidents in relation to video game violence involve americans. They are the most effected. But obviously it happens elsewhere just at a lesser. One big example from Europe is the man behind the Norway Attacks of 2011.



22. Anders Breivik – Who Bombed government buildings in Oslo, killing eight. And he then killed 69 people in a mass shooting at an AUF camp on the island of Utoya. He was convicted of mass murder for 25years. He said in court that he trained for this event playing Call of Duty endlessly – Saying it was so easy to learn, his grandmother could’ve done it too.



23. Also Tristan van der vils in 2011. Who killed six people and wounded 17 with a rifle in a shopping centre in the Netherlands,  and then killed himself. He was known as an avid Call of Duty fan just like Breivik and also suffered from Paranoid Schizophrenia which could’ve made him believe he was a part of the game.



24. So many examples of video game inspired crime. So many deaths on screen now being displayed in real life. So many robberies and theft inspired by games like Grand Theft Auto. Things like this is why I strongly believe that video games do trigger select people to do such evil things.



25. But, Is it that easy to just blame video games? Could it all lead to something like bad parenting? Or perhaps their social upbringing? Is it just video games?



26. No, it’s not just video games that inspire such acts of criminality but they are a strong influence on how some kids behave in this modern age. Violent games are so easy to pick up and play it’s easy to see why sometimes they are the blame. Jack Thompson calling these games murder simulators I believe is very true indeed.



27. So, to conclude, Do Video Games contribute to Anti Social behaviour in our children in this Modern Age? Violent ones do in some ways, but obviously not in every game and child, but a small percentage of those and that small percentage have caused a lot of damage to date.



28. And that wraps up my Grand Theft ASBO presentation. Thank you for listening. I’ve been Joe Winfield. Any Questions?


My Conclusion

20 Nov

In my opinion, I do believe that violent video games can affect how children think, how they act etc. I don’t believe they’re a huge reason why children commit crime, but are definitely an aid. The main reason why children commit these crimes from my observations is because of mental illnesses and how they’re positioned socially in school/college and in general life. It’s evident from cases like the Anders Breivik shootings that violent video games such as Call of Duty can teach somebody how to shoot. And with Devin Moore, games like Grand Theft Auto can teach you how to steal a car effectively and get away with it by killing the previous owner. Violent video games are definitely a push towards committing violent crime and a reasoning behind anti-social behaviour but there are many reasons to why these events happen, not just one.

European examples of Video Game Inspired Violence

12 Nov

As posted last week, I explained some of the more well known examples of violent acts inspired by violent video games in America and now I’ll discuss perhaps the biggest two in Europe.

Anders Breivik

Anders Behring Breivik ( born 13 February 1979) was the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway Attacks. On 22 July 2011, he bombed government buildings in Oslo, killing eight. He then killed 69 more, mostly teenagers, in a mass shooting at an AUF camp on the island of Utoya. In August 2012 he was convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism.

Anders Breivik

Anders Breivik has described how he “trained” for the attacks he carried out in Norway last summer using the computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The 33-year-old said he practised his shot using a “holographic aiming device” on the war simulation game, which he said is used by armies around the world for training. “You develop target acquisition,” he said. He used a similar device during the shooting attacks that left 69 dead at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya on 22 July. Describing the game, he said: “It consists of many hundreds of different tasks and some of these tasks can be compared with an attack, for real. That’s why it’s used by many armies throughout the world. It’s very good for acquiring experience related to sights systems.” He added: “If you are familiar with a holographic sight, it’s built up in such a way that you could have given it to your grandmother and she would have been a super marksman. It’s designed to be used by anyone. In reality it requires very little training to use it in an optimal way. But of course it does help if you’ve practised using a simulator.”

The prosecution asked Breivik if he was aware that “there are some bereaved people sitting here in the courtroom who lost children at Utøya”. How do you think they are feeling, Breivik was asked. “They are probably reacting in a natural way, with disgust and horror,” he said. The court also heard that Breivik took what he called a “sabbatical” for a year between the summers of 2006 and 2007, which he devoted to playing another game, World of Warcraft (WoW), “hardcore” full time. He admitted he spent up to 16 hours every day that year playing from his bedroom in his mother’s Oslo flat. But he insisted WoW had nothing to do with the attacks he carried out last year, leaving 77 dead. He said: “Some people like to play golf, some like to sail, I played WoW. It had nothing to do with 22 July. It’s not a world you are engulfed by. It’s simply a hobby.” He added: “WoW is only a fantasy game, which is not violent at all. It’s just fantasy. It’s a strategy game. You co-operate with a lot of others to overcome challenges. That’s why you do it. It’s a very social game. Half of the time you are connected in communication with others. It would be wrong to consider it an antisocial game.”

Breivik said he “deserved” his sabbatical because he had worked an average of 12-14 hours every day between 2002 and 2006 on various entrepreneurial projects. He said: “I felt I had sacrificed a lot. Because of that I felt I deserved to take one year off to do what I wanted. Especially bearing in mind the upcoming so-called suicide action … I wanted to have no remorse as to what I had missed out on.”

He denied playing the game and moving back in with his mother because his business ventures, including a firm selling fake diplomas, had failed.

“If you assess what you read in media, you would think I moved back home and rented a room in my mother’s house because my company had gone bankrupt,” he said, claiming to have had 600-700,000 rone (£65,000-76,000) in bank accounts and 300,000KR (£32,5000) in cash, which he stashed in two safes in his bedroom at the start of his sabbatical. He only filed for bankruptcy to save on the accounting costs associated with winding down a company in a conventional way, he said. Breivik insisted he only moved back in with his mother to save 15,000KR in monthly rent and spend more time writing his “compendium”. He did not claim benefits, saying: “I have never received a single krone from any government subsidy or support because I am in principle against living off such subsidies or welfare.”

He said his friends and family, particularly his mother, reacted with “shock and disbelief” when he announced he was going to play on his computer full time. “I told her that I was going to allocate time to do what I had wanted to do. She reacted in that way, which is a fairly normal, healthy reaction,” he said, adding: “It would have been quite abnormal if she had just said: ‘Oh that’s great, go ahead.’ I couldn’t tell her I was taking a sabbatical because I was going to blow myself up in five years’ time. I played on the idea that: ‘Ooh, I’ve become addicted to games.’ That was my primary cover.” It was a convenient “cover” and allowed him to isolate himself and concentrate on his forthcoming “operation”. But he insisted repeatedly he was not a loner and had been out and about in the months leading up to the attacks in July last year.

Breivik was also asked about his membership of the masons. He said he joined because it was a “Christian organisation which has protected many European traditions” but said he was not an active member. It was a “hobby”, he said, claiming to have only attended “about five” meetings. It was another “militant nationalist” who suggested he join, he claimed.

Tristan Van Der Vils

On 9 April 2011, six people were killed by a gunman who entered the Ridderhof mall in Alpen aan den Rijn, Netherlands,  a town approximately 33 kilometres south-west of Amsterdam. Using a rifle, 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis shot several people and then killed himself, reportedly with a different firearm. There were seven deaths, including the killer, and 17 wounded, making it the deadliest assault attack in the Netherlands since the 2009 attack on the Dutch Royal Family.

Tristan lived in an apartment complex nearby with his parents. He had lived in Alphen since his childhood.  According to the police, he was a member of a shooting association and possessed three firearms. He had a history of psychological and psychiatric problems, including paranoid schizophrenia; in 2006 he spent 10 days in a closed institution after attempting suicide. He tried to commit suicide at least twice in 2008.

It was known by the court that Tristan was an avid fan of Call of Duty just like Anders Breivik. It’s also evident from these two attacks that paranoid schizophrenia may lead to violent acts on society.

Should people with these illnesses by banned from gaming, or is it coincidence?

American examples of Video Game Inspired Violence

4 Nov

It’s scarily frequent that we hear about children and teenagers committing crime inspired by violent video games. Also, it’s evident that the majority of them are based in the United States.

Next I’m going to go through a few of the most well known examples of video Game inspired violence originating from America.

The Columbine High School Massacre

The Columbine High School massacre was a school shooting which occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County in the State of Colorado. In addition to shootings, the complex and highly planned attack involved a fire bomb to divert firefighters, propane tanks converted to bombs placed in the cafeteria, 99 explosive devices, and bombs rigged in cars. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered a total of 12 students and one teacher. They injured 24 additional students, with three other people being injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair then committed suicide.


Although their motives remain unclear, the personal journals of the perpetrators document that they wished their actions to rival the Oklahoma City Bombings. The attack has been referred to byUSA Today as a “suicidal attack [which was] planned as a grand – if badly implemented – terrorist bombing.” The Columbine High School massacre is the deadliest mass murder committed on an American high school campus, and is noted as one of the first and most serious of a series of high profile spree shootings which have since occurred.

The massacre sparked debate over gun control laws, the availability of firearms within the United States and gun violence involving youths. Much discussion also centered on the nature of high school cliques, subcultures and bullying, in addition to the influence of violent movies and video games in American society. The shooting resulted in an increased emphasis on school security, and a moral panic aimed at goth culture, social outcasts, gun culture, the use of pharmaceutical anti-depressant by teenagers, teenage Internet use and violent video games.


Devin Moore

Devin Moore (born 1985) is a teenager from Alabama who sparked a large controversy over the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City when he committed three acts of first-degree murder against three Alabama policemen in 2003.

Moore killed the two policemen and a dispatcher after being booked for committing grand theft auto. According to the Associated Press, when at the police station he said “Life is a video game. You’ve got to die sometime.” He then grabbed the handgun of one of the police officers and shot its owner and two other officers in the head. Afterwards, he drove off in a police car but was later apprehended.

The controversy involving his relation to Grand Theft Auto was revealed during an episode of 60 Minutes in March 2005. In the episode a student demonstrated the Grand Theft Auto games to them, explaining that in one of the games there is a mission that depicts exactly what Moore did: escape a police station, kill officers and escape in a police cruiser.

Moore faced trial in 2005. In August 2005, Moore was convicted as charged and on October 9, 2005 he was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Jim Standridge appealed the case.

The families of Moore’s victims are taking legal action against Sony, Take-Two Interactive, WalMart and GameStop for their part in the manufacturing and selling of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Jack Thompson was representing families in the suit as an out-of-state attorney on pro hac vice status. His pro hac vice license was revoked by Judge James Moore on November 18, 2005, and he was effectively removed from the case. The judge stated that “Mr. Thompson’s actions before this Court suggest that he is unable to conduct himself in a manner befitting practice in this state.


The Buckner Twins

On June 25, 2003, two American step brothers, Joshua and William Buckner, aged 14 and 16, respectively, used a rifle to fire at vehicles on Interstate 40 in Tennessee, killing a 45-year-old man and wounding a 19-year-old woman. The two shooters told investigators they had been inspired by GTA 3.

The two boys told police they shot at vehicles on a highway near their home with a .22 rifle in an attempt to recreate images from Grand Theft Auto. Mr Hamel, a nurse, was killed while driving home to Knoxville, Tennessee. Miss Bede, who was travelling in another car with her boyfriend, was seriously injured and has eight fragments of shrapnel in her pelvis. The Buckner brothers had no criminal record or any history of trouble-making.

In court last month, they pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. They were sentenced to indefinite detention. District Attorney General Al Schmutzer told the court: “They said they got the idea from a video game called Grand Theft Auto and that they were bored, that they went out and began shooting”. In a letter to victims and their families, Joshua said: “I did not mean to hurt anyone. I hate that it happened. This will stick with me for the rest of my life”.  Miss Bede and the family of Aaron Hamel plan to sue Take-Two Interactive Software, which publishes Grand Theft Auto, for liability in a wrongful death lawsuit. Take-Two owns Rockstar Games, which is based in Edinburgh and designed the first version of the game in 1997. Sony will also be named in the lawsuit, because Grand Theft Auto was made exclusively for its PlayStation consoles. Sony declined to comment on the case.

Jack Thompson, the lawyer representing the families, said the court case could be the first to rule on whether watching and playing violent video games caused excess aggression in children. He said: “We are going to show that this game did influence these boys and cause them to go out and shoot at these people. There has been a wealth of research to show that children’s brains process these video games in a different way from adults. They cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality, so they play these games and then think if they do the same thing in reality, it’s OK, there will be no consequences”. Referring to The Manchurian Candidate, a 1962 film in which American soldiers are brainwashed into becoming fighting machines in the Korean war, Mr Thompson said: “We have got a nation of Manchurian Candidates who are training on these video games”.

Mr Thompson plans to call American defence ministry officials to give evidence on how they have employed video-game designers to help to train soldiers. One company, Pandemic Games, is selling a game to the public that was designed to train infantry troops in urban combat. Players use “real weaponry and equipment currently in use by the US Army”. Mr Thompson claims that this shows video games “desensitise” people, particularly children, to violence. He will also point to the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot 13 people dead. Both boys were fans of the video game Doom, which has been used to train US soldiers in lethal combat. Claims of a link between video games and real violence have always been highly controversial, with manufacturers pointing out that millions of people enjoy playing the games but do not show any aggression.

There are also arguments over whether aggression is innate, or learnt, and whether people who are naturally more aggressive are more likely to play violent video games.But recent research has tended to back the argument that games can increase the risk of some young men committing acts of aggression. A study by Iowa State University showed last year that even brief exposure to violent video games could temporarily increase aggressive behaviour in all types of people. Another study found that people who had played violent video games were more likely to have aggressive attitudes. Craig Anderson, who led the studies, said: “The active nature of the learning environment of the video game suggests this medium is potentially more dangerous than television and movie media. With the recent trend toward greater realism and more graphic violence in video games, consumers and parents of consumers should be aware of these potential risks.”


Noah Wilson

On November 22, 1997, Noah Wilson, a thirteen year-old, died when his friend stabbed him in the chest with a kitchen knife. Noah’s mother, Plaintiff, Andrea Wilson, filed this lawsuit against Midway Games, Inc. (“Midway”), alleging that at the time the friend stabbed Noah, the friend was addicted to a video game manufactured by Midway called Mortal Kombat and that the friend was so obsessed with the game that he actually believe he was one of the characters.

Wilson claimed that Midway’s design and marketing of Mortal Kombat caused her son’s death. She alleged that she was entitled to damages under the theories of product liability, unfair trade practices, loss of consortium, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Jack Thompson, the anti video-game attorney

28 Oct

More and more big names have joined the studies of violent video games affecting children such as the activist Jack Thompson who’s world renowned for hating violent video games, everything they stand for and their affects on children.

Thompson has heavily criticised a number of video games and campaigned against their producers and distributors. His basic argument is that violent video games have repeatedly been used by children as “murder simulators” to rehearse violent plans. He has pointed to alleged connections between such games and a number of school massacres. According to Thompson, “In every school shooting, we find that kids who pull the trigger are video gamers.” Also, he claims that scientific studies show that kids process the game environment differently from adults, leading to increased violence and copycat behaviour. According to Thompson, “If some wacked-out adult wants to spend his time playing GTA Vice City, one has to wonder why he doesn’t get a life, but when it comes to kids, it has a demonstrable impact on their behaviour…”. Thompson has described the proliferation of games by Sony, a Japanese company, as “Pearl Harbour 2”. According to Thompson, “Many parents think that stores won’t sell an M-rated game to someone under 17. We know that’s not true, and, in fact, kids roughly 50 percent of that time, all the studies show, are able to walk into any store and get any game regardless of the rating, no questions asked.”

Jack Thompson

Thompson has rejected arguments that such video games are protected by freedom of expression, saying, “Murder simulators are not constitutionally protected speech. They’re not even speech. They’re dangerous physical appliances that teach a kid how to kill efficiently and to love it” as well as simply calling video games “mental masturbation”. In addition, he has attributed part of the impetus for violent games to the military, saying that it was looking “for a way to disconnect in the soldier’s mind the physical act of pulling the trigger from the awful reality that a life may end”. Thompson further claims that some of these games are based on military training and simulation technologies, which, he suggests, were created by the Department of Defence to help overcome soldiers’ inhibition to kill. He also claims that the Playstation’s Dual-shock controller “gives you a pleasurable buzz back into your hands with each kill. This is Operant conditioning, behaviour modification right out of B.F. Skinners laboratory.”

Although his efforts dealing with video games have generally focused on juveniles, Thompson got involved in a case involving an adult on one occasion in 2004. This was a murder case against 29-year-old Charles McCoy, Jr., the defendant in a series of highway shootings the previous year around Columbus, Ohio. When McCoy was captured, a game console and a copy of The Getaway were in his motel room. Although not representing McCoy and over the objections of McCoy’s lawyers, Thompson succeeded in getting the court to unseal a search warrant for McCoy’s residence. This showed, among other things, the discovery of additional games State of Emergency, Max Payne and Dead to Rights. However, he was not allowed to present the evidence to McCoy, whose defence team was relying on an insanity defence based on paranoid schizophrenia. In Thompson’s estimation, McCoy was the “functional equivalent of a 15-year-old,” and “the only thing insane about this case is the (insanity) defence”.

In my opinion, Jack Thompson does go way too hard on the case in hand, almost straight away suspecting that video games were the culprit.

Maybe he’s right?

The affects of violent video games on children

21 Oct

“A single exposure to a violent video game won’t turn someone into a mass murderer, But, if someone has repeatedly exposed themselves, these kinds of effects in the short term can turn into long-term changes.” – Dr. Bruce Bartholow, associate professor of psychology at the University of Missouri.


Kids Arcade

Studies of children exposed to violence have shown that they can become: “immune” or numb to the horror of violence, imitate the violence they see, and show more aggressive behaviour with greater exposure to violence. Some children accept violence as a way to handle problems. Studies have also shown that the more realistic and repeated the exposure to violence, the greater the impact on children. In addition, children with emotional, behavioural and learning problems may be more influenced by violent images.

Children and adolescents can become overly involved and even obsessed with video games. Spending large amounts of time playing these games can create problems and lead to:

  • poor social skills
  • time away from family time, school-work, and other hobbies
  • lower grades and reading less
  • exercising less, and becoming overweight
  • aggressive thoughts and behaviours

All of these factors influence anti social and criminal behaviour amongst children, it’s evident.

The data below, was compiled by the American Life Project last year showing the percentages of children and what games they play.

graph showing percentages of video game use among American teenagers

A staggering 2/3’s of children play violent video games. Roughly 4% of children react negatively after violent video games which maybe a small percentage, it’s a huge amount of violent kids causing havoc. It’s these 4% of children that started this whole controversy and vast amount of studies in relation to violent video games and children.


Personality. Two psychologists, Dr. Patrick Markey of Villanova University and Dr. Charlotte Markey of Rutgers University, have presented evidence that some children may become more aggressive as a result of watching and playing violent video games, but that most are not affected. After reviewing the research, they concluded that the combination of three personality traits might be most likely to make an individual act and think aggressively after playing a violent video game. The three traits they identified were high neuroticism (prone to anger and depression, highly emotional, and easily upset), disagreeableness (cold, indifferent to other people), and low levels of conscientiousness (prone to acting without thinking, failing to deliver on promises, breaking rules).

Situation. Dr. Cheryl Olson, cofounder of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Mental Health and Media, led a study of 1,254 students in public schools (most were ages 12 to 14) in South Carolina and Pennsylvania. The researchers found that certain situations increased exposure to violent video games — such as locating game consoles and computers in children’s bedrooms, and allowing older siblings to share games with younger ones. In this study, children who played video games often with older siblings were twice as likely as other children to play mature-rated games (considered suitable for ages 17 and older).

Motivation. In a three-year study, a team led by Dr. Mizuko Ito, a cultural anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine, both interviewed and observed the online behavior of 800 youths. The researchers concluded that video game play and other online activities have become so ubiquitous among young people that they have altered how young people socialize and learn.

Although adults tend to view video games as isolating and antisocial, other studies found that most young respondents described the games as fun, exciting, something to counter boredom, and something to do with friends. For many youths, violent content is not the main draw. Boys in particular are motivated to play video games in order to compete and win. Seen in this context, use of violent video games may be similar to the type of rough-housing play that boys engage in as part of normal development. Video games offer one more outlet for the competition for status or to establish a pecking order.

Violent Games = Violent Acts ?

14 Oct

In this discussion it’s important to remember that not all children are effected by all violent video games and all commit crime. It’s certain types of children and certain types of games which could result to anti social and criminal behaviour.

Violent Kid

Violent computer games have long been popular with children, and with the improvement in technology, many violent games have become more realistic. Excessive violent gaming can become a serious problem because teenagers can develop antisocial behaviour and become disconnected from reality, according to Laura Berk, professor of psychology at Illinois State University.

It’s important to note that Violent video games aren’t like a violent television programme. Watching a television is passive while playing a video game is active. People learn a lot more when they are involved. Suppose you wanted to learn how to drive a car, it is best to learn via actually driving or a video game driving stimulator than reading a book or watching a step by step television program.

Players of video games are more likely to identify with a character. Example is if the game is a first person shooter, the player has the same visual perspective as the character in the game. If it is in a third person, the player controls the character from a distant visual perspective. People are likely to behave more aggressive when they identify with a violent character. A research report in the May 2010 issue of “Psychological Bulletin” led by Iowa State University psychology professor Craig Anderson found that violent gaming can increase feelings of aggression and antisocial behaviour in teenagers, regardless of their sex. Overexposure to violent images found in computer games can lead to the view that violence is a normal way of life. Berk also writes that the Columbine High School teenage murderers were obsessed with playing a violent video game.

On the other side of the spectrum, video games are also good for you. You can release all your stress and anger out within the game rather than other human beings. But the barrier between taking it out in the game and in real life is thin for some people.

Do Video Games contribute to Anti Social behaviour in our children in this Modern Age?

10 Oct

“It is clear to me that the causal relationship between televised violence and antisocial behavior is sufficient to warrant appropriate and immediate remedial action. There comes a time when the data are sufficient to justify action. That time has come.” – (Steinfeld, Surgeon General in 1972). 

There are two strong sides to this debate. For the purpose of this project I’m going to be concentrating on the pro side of things. Obviously I’ll be including the opposite opinions but mainly the pro side.

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to be completely against this statement as we’ve all heard about acts of violence in real life based on those of the gaming world. The youth of today are exposed to violence, blood/gore, sex, drugs and murder in gaming from an extremely early age. It’s so easy to pick up any game you please nowadays no matter what age, even with the age restrictions laws. Guaranteed that 99.9% of kids (who’s families can afford consoles) have indulged in a few hours of a violent game before they’ve reached their teenage years. Everyone has witnessed violence in gaming, there’s no two ways about it. This image below is a perfect example of this. We see here two young boys, no older than ten with a new copy of Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 3 which is a violent war game with endless hours of violent gameplay where you basically go on killing sprees with your friends online.

Kids and COD

Yes, children can decide to just not play them, but in fairness, violence is fun in video games, a lot more fun than any educational game you can get your hands on. Shooting or Math? A brainless question to ask a ten year old. Don’t get me wrong, not all kids become violent after playing violent video games but it does effect there actions and thoughts.

There are many reasons to why video games can cause such an influence on children in relation to their behaviour.

    • First, video game play is ‘active’. People learn better when they are actively involved. Suppose you wanted to learn how to fly an airplane. What would be the best method to use: read a book, watch a TV program, or use a video game flight simulator?
    • Second, players of violent video games are more likely to identify with a violent character. If the game is a first person shooter, players have the same visual perspective as the killer. If the game is third person, the player controls the actions of the violent character from a more distant visual perspective. Players are more likely to behave aggressively themselves when they identify with a violent character.
    • Third, violent games directly reward violent behaviour, such as by awarding points or by allowing players to advance to the next game level. In some games, players are rewarded through verbal praise, such as hearing the words “Nice shot!” after killing an enemy. It is well known that rewarding behavior increases its frequency. (Would you go to work tomorrow if your boss said you would no longer be paid?).


Many people also believe that violent video games are good for you!, are they? Here’s some reasons why they can be.

  • Some people claim that violent video games are good for you. Some players believe that violent video games are cathartic (i.e., they allow players to release pent up anger into harmless channels). Yet scientific evidence directly contradicts this idea. Over 130 studies have been conducted on over 130,000 participants around the world. These studies show that violent video games increase aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure), and aggressive behaviour. Violent games also decrease helping behaviour and feelings of empathy for others.
  • Other people claim that playing violent games increases eye-hand coordination, and research supports this claim (like Green & Bavelier, 2007). However, violent content might not be required to obtain these beneficial effects. Perhaps similar video games without violence would also increase eye-hand coordination.

As you can see there’s very strong examples here and elsewhere to why children should play or stay away from violent video games. Both are very persuading, yes they are fun, relieving and can improve your skill set but then again they reward and praise players for mass murder. For a young child who hasn’t developed their full moral set, they’d be lead in believing that killing is a good thing, that they’d be praised for it. This is definitely not true. This should NOT be believed by young kids.

Douglas Gentile and Craig Anderson’s chapter in the ‘Handbook of Children, Culture and Violence’ called ”Violent Video Games: The effects on youth, and public policy implications’ proves a good read into the points declared above. They delve deep into the history of violent video games and how it’s had an effect on children. Throughout there study they’ve monitored loads of children playing violent video games such as ‘Wolfenstein’ and further monitored their behaviour.

There findings were quite interesting which you can read about in the link below. These findings will be included on my next post where I talk about the types of persons, gaming scenarios and real life actions which was been spurred by violent video games.

My chosen area of discussion

3 Oct

After doing research on the various areas I could base my presentation on, I’ve settled with Gaming. Gaming is a very broad subject so I narrowed it down to the effects it has on the younger generation. Which include some topics such as:

  • Are video games educating our children?
  • Are video games bad for our children?
  • Do video games contribute to anti-social behaviour?
  • Do video games subconsciously make our children act differently?
  • The effects of video gaming on our children (Good&Bad)
  • Pro’s and Con’s of video gaming

The list is endless really. There are so many topics to address and argue about in relation to video gaming and young people. We’ve heard numerous stories in the news about violent acts of hatred which have involved the influence of violent video games such as GTA or Call of Duty.

After some thorough research I’ve chosen to work with one of the above topics and calling my study and presentation:

Grand Theft ASBO – Do Video Games contribute to Anti Social behaviour in our children in this Modern Age?

Pecha Kucha Presentation Topic Ideas

30 Sep

My first assignment as part of my Digital Media module is researching a chosen topic and delivering a Pecha Kucha styled presentation on it (30slides of 20sec duration). The chosen topic must work within the framework of Digital Culture in the Modern Age.

In the last week or so I’ve been contemplating many areas of Digital Culture such as:

  •  Video Games
  •  Social Media Sites
  •  The Music Industry
  • Television, Film & Radio
  • The Internet (in general)
  • Tele, Mobile & Smart phones

I can see many areas I can choose from the above list and in the upcoming days I’m going to do further research into these areas as I’m very interested in most of them.