Media is Child Abuse!…wait, what?

a guest blog article by Ryan Hughes-Fenchel (student, gamer, world citizen)

Not too long ago, I went to a seminar held at my college which had a large number of booths talking about both child and domestic violence. A very worthy cause, if you ask me. However, there was one booth that both caught my eye and unleashed more then a little fury in me. No, not because it was talking about a bad subject, but because the subject it was covering was outrageous. It was making a lot of claims, but it all came down to (and said on the handout they gave me) that “media is a form of child abuse.” Word for word, that is exactly what the hand out says. I even have it right next to me as I write this article. It is my goal then, in this little blog, to voice why I believe that Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, the man behind a different seminar where he spoke about this, doesn’t know what he’s talking about (at least according to this hand out).

Because the worksheet I was given by this booth was poorly formatted, I might be jumping around some so please forgive the haphazard order these will be coming in.

First, let’s start with the claims against media this booth was making. The booth claimed that violent TV shows, movies, video games, and music leads an increase in violence, bullying, and obesity. He claims that brain scan research conclusively proves that kids with violence exposure in games, TV, and movies also prove that media increases violence. The claim is also made that media can lead to sleep deprivation. The worksheet I received even goes so far as to claim that iPods are negative and should be banned in schools without citing a single source. He even makes the claim that simply reducing the amount of time a kid spends watching TV will increase their math grades and their verbal skills (by 15% and 18% respectively). Finally, I come to the claim that hit me right where it hurts. According to the worksheet, video games create sleeping disorders, creates depression, and, finally, increase suicide. I am a huge gamer and have been ever since I was a little kid. I am even planning on going into the gaming industry as a programmer once I get more experience under my belt. I have long been keeping a close eye on video game violence, as well as the laws and research made around it. However, those three claims are truly three of the most outrageous claims I have heard on the subject. Well, they were before he also made the claim that “adults [are] not effected due to mentally preparedness. Violent visual imagery okay with adults, not kids.” For such a high ranking U.S. Army veteran, it astonishes me that he’d make the claim that adults seeing violent imagery has no effect on them.

Alright, I’ve ranted enough about what’s on the actual paper. Now let me do my best to explain why these claims are either false or unjustified. Any claims made here that media causes an increase in violence and bullying, as of the writing of this article, does not have much ground. Not because there have been no studies that prove that statement correct. There have been quite a few. But because there have also been a lot of studies that say otherwise. Most studies done on the subject, most of all on video games, were either done by a partisan group (hence making them biased and working towards an intended result) or did not take all variables into account. And, more specifically, trying to connect video games to violence these days is nearly impossible. There are so many households that have a video game console and at least one violent video game that you might as well be trying to see if Crest toothpaste causes violence. It has become so common that making the connection has become nearly impossible. And of course playing a violent game will make your brain light up in sections that show violence. Just like your brain would likely light up in sections that show fear when you watch a horror movie. Simulations are just that. Simulations. Just because the brain lights up to show your brain is showing violent activity does not mean a healthy mind will do violent acts.

I don’t even think I need to justify why the claim that iPods are negative and should be banned from schools needs to be justified. They’re iPods. You know, music players. The only difference between an iPod and a CD player is that the music is stored digitally instead of on a disk. Banning them from schools just creates another thing for school faculty to police. My high school just dropped the whole ban and simply said “don’t listen to music during class lectures”. Seems that option has worked much better in the school’s favor. An increase in grades should also be expected if parents aren’t making sure their kids aren’t goofing off instead of doing homework. Just like any hobby, media related activities take up time and are often fun to do. More fun then homework, obviously. So if a child is cut off from goofing off, of course their grades are likely to go up.

Finally, I come to the last few big ones. Video games increasing depression and even suicide. These claims are so foreign to me that I sent an email to Grossman requesting his sources. I have heard that bullying causes depression and suicide, but he couldn’t possibly be saying that video games create bullying so they also increase suicide. That would be like saying drinking causes drunk driving which can lead to people dying which can then lead to children losing parents which means that drinking creates orphans. Or saying that guns can cause property damage which could make someone homeless so guns can make people homeless. And even the two examples I gave have some basis in proven fact. As I stated, any connection between violence and video games is still being debated and tested.

But the last claim is something I’d really like to examine. Adults are not effected by violent imagery. This coming from someone who was once in the United States Army is appalling. Of course adults can be effected by violent imagery. I’m wondering if you’ve heard of something called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD. It is often caused when a person experiences something, as the condition suggests, extremely traumatic which can result in constantly reliving the event, avoidance (emotional numbing, feeling detached, showing less of your moods, etc), or arousal (difficulty concentrating, startling easily, feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger, etc). The reason I bring this up is because, in case you haven’t figured it out already, PTSD is a serious problem for veterans of war. Ironically enough, video games are actually being used to help veterans recover from PTSD by giving virtual simulations of going to a mall or attending a kid’s parent teacher conference. If this isn’t evidence that adults can be effected by violent imagery, I don’t know what is.

Overall, it’s obvious this guy is trying to tackle something he doesn’t quite understand. Yes, everything he claims does have some basis in fact. I will freely admit that video games and other violent media can act as a catalyst to violence. But never as the cause. Never in a healthy, mentally sound mind. And I will admit that video games can result in sleep deprivation in kids. But only if you actually stay up late playing video games. The only reason video games can cause sleep deprivation without playing late is through mental stimulation. And if that’s really a problem, then maybe you should stop playing so close to bed time. In the end, the media, violent or otherwise, will only effect someone as much as they let it. Parents, you can’t hide your children from the media. These days, it is everywhere. Instead of putting a blindfold over your children, actually try and explain it. Perhaps if children have the correct context for the violence that’s on the screen, the violence wont act as a catalyst towards other things.

SOURCES:

Board, A.D.A.M. 2013.  Editorial. “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.” Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Jan. 0001. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.

Veteran Journal.  2013.  “Play Therapy for PTSD | Veteranjournal.com.” Veteran Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.

ADDENDUM from the author (5/14/2014):

Because it has been pointed out, I wish to make something entirely clear. As I likely made it clear in the article, I am far from unbiased. I am very much a product of my generation and not only am I a mass consumer of media, but also someone very interested in entering the video game industry. While I can understand this bias may lead many to throw my points aside, I believe that the points I have made are worthy of at least some consideration.

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83 thoughts on “Media is Child Abuse!…wait, what?

  1. Hello,

    I really enjoyed reading your article. This anti video games and violent movie crusade that many conservatives seem to be on is not based in many solid facts, just loose assumptions. This also relates to the crazy problem we have with gun violence in America. When a black man is shot and killed in the inner city people either blame the inner city culture or same nothing at all. When a young white male kills a classroom full of kids they blame everything but the white suburban culture. the most common culprits are mental illness and the violent media. We need to reexamine our culture as a whole piece by piece in order to get at what is wrong. we cannot use easy scape goats to ignore the real problems we face.

  2. I have to say I love your article Ryan but I can sense a lot of you coming through the text. I want to introduce you to the frontal lobe that I learned about in psychology. The frontal is at the front region of the cerebral cortex and is involved in motor functions, higher order functions, planning, reasoning, judgment, impulse control, and memory. Children or teens frontal lobes do not become completely developed until your mid-20’s. So when I hear about kids that play grand theft auto and steal their parents car it does not surprise me. Their frontal lobe has not yet completely developed so they do not completely understand if what they are doing is a good idea and what is their consequence. The Vet also should have said it was a high correlation to violent media and violent children. I wanna go into go into each paragraph more but I’m far over the 7 limit.

    Look here http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124119468

    1. I do agree that in some kids it can result in them doing crazy things like stealing a car. However, it isn’t exactly a rule to the matter. Most kids, at least to my knowledge, wont do something they know is bad JUST because of a single video game. As I said, they can easily be a catalyst.

      Yes, when I was a kid I did do stupid things. And, yeah, sometimes it was a result of the media I watched. But looking back, most of that stuff came from my parents not explaining the context. But it was never crazy stuff like stealing a car or stabbing anyone. Just a few stupid things I said or said through gestures.

      If a kid is really so easy influenced by viewing media as to do something as grievous as stealing a car, it might not just have to do with the child’s age.

      1. Once you see the same images over and over again as the media basically repeats itself you become use to or unaffected by the violence. Some of the responsibility is to the parents but a parent cannot watch their child 24/7. You have to trust other people and institutions at some point. Example being I take my child to the daycare and they are watch Dora the explorer. If the people that made Dora decided she had a .45 to finally get rid of the stealing fox then my child comes home and sees my gun in a gun case and grabs it. Can it not be attributed to media?
        Also with the iPods. IPods are not bad but the lots of the music are sexual these days. I can play wheels on the bus for my kids at home all day. If the go over to let’s say your child’s house for a play date and you’re playing lady gaga or Rihanna I can’t control that. A parent can’t control every stetting as if they were a god. A parent can only control their own household. I don’t believe in banning iPods but they serve no purpose in school except as a distraction. Example Mrs. Bonniejean is giving a lecture and I just decide I want to listen to music.
        Games causing suicide now I can’t even see that as a possibility.

      2. Of course a parent cannot watch their child 24/7. But there are means of keeping your child from media violence before you as a parent think you’re ready. I do agree that a child watching violent media constantly can result in doing stupid things, however, in the example of the gun, there should be more background for that child to go on if there is a gun in the house. A gun is a lethal weapon and kids MUST understand that they are not something you should play with. And even then, if you have a child in the house, guns should be safely locked away where they can’t reach it. But that’s another debate.

        And I suppose I agree with music becoming sexual. I myself probably wouldn’t be playing that sort of music with my kids around (if I had them). I agree that isn’t exactly a good thing to expose your child to music with sexual themes…but this guy was making the argument that media was child abuse. I might consider exposing your child to Lady Gaga foolish, but I don’t know if I’d call that child abuse.

      3. I agree that the violent acts in video games might give some kids ideas, but those kids would have already have had some sort of influences to act out from some other sources. Growing up I played violent video games and even watch professional wrestling and I never went out and decides to find a gun a shoot someone or hit someone with a chair. People need to give kids a little more credit, they aren’t that dumb they know what they should and shouldn’t do as long as their parent s teach them what it right and wrong. If you let your kids do anything they want without consequences they will still know it’s wrong to steal but will do it anyways because they have no fear of what the outcome will do. It seems like media can have some influence on a child’s behavior but it’s the parents of the child that need to censor what their kids can and cannot watch.

      4. I have to say that I do not totally agree with this particular response. The media and the video games are so much different than they were when I (and I assume you as well) was a kid. There are so many horrific things displayed on the internet, which kids have such easy access to these days. I work in an elementary school, and a majority of the kids have iPhones and iPads. That means that kindergarteners through fifth graders have cellular devices. I did not have a phone until I was in middle school, and that was for emergency purposes only. It could not even connect to the internet, it was a flip phone. I also notice that kids who have these easy-access phones and the kids who play video games are worse behaved than the few kids who don’t.

      5. I can certainly see where you are coming from and I have to say, you make a very solid case. Yes, kids definitely do have more access to the internet than they used to, but I’m not sure how recent of a development this easy access to content is. I’d say a child’s easy exposure to the crazy of the internet has been on a dramatic increase since the advent of google. Heck, I was able to find porn online easily enough when I was in the sixth grade back in 2004. It’s certainly easier now, but I’m not so sure I’d call this a new problem.
        Of course, there are a lot of parental controls available. You can even set it up so that your child can only send texts to numbers that you approve of. No system is perfect, of course, but I expect more and more parents will start taking full advantage of these tools as my generation is a lot more tech savvy than those before. There’s also the question…given these preventative tools are available, does not using any of them apply as child abuse in this age where even kindergartners have cell phones?
        Eh, sort of. We are certainly looking at neglect and not a parent just outright showing disturbing content to children. If a parent puts no blocks on the phone, a child could POTENTIALLY find very messed up content online. Sexuality, crude language, and the sort of violence that has been around in action movies since even before the internet is all over are probably the most prevalent inappropriate content just laying around the internet. But I don’t think those are the biggest concern here. After all, as mentioned before, those were an issue even before little kids were just handed handheld computers. I’d say what concerns most adults and certainly parents is hardcore pornography and excessive violence that you’d find in, say, an ISIS propaganda video (decapitations and all).
        However, even without all parental blockers down, those particular videos are definitely not something I’d expect an elementary school kid to even know how to access, let alone know they exist. Porn isn’t exactly hidden and probably one of the more valid concerns. Just searching “Hot Elf” on google, while it didn’t bring up any outright explicit images, did bring up hits for pornhub and videos to hardcore pornography. Of course, again, you sort of have to search for the right thing or browse the search results for long enough to come across anything pornographic and, again, this is without any parental settings on. But, I will grant, a child could come across porn…will they understand it enough to be ‘corrupted’ by it? Eh, depends on the child. But this particular concern is certainly easily remedied by even the most cursory glance over parental controls.
        As for extremely violent videos…well, a child could certainly come across violent images online by searching for the right stuff. Still not overly difficult if you have absolutely no parental blockers on. If you wanted to see non-animated images of violence, however…that’s much more difficult. From my quick testing and trying to make only the most simplistic searches, I wasn’t really able to find any videos of real life hardcore violence just laying about on the video tab of google. A kid who was already very worldly aware might be able to find something if they specifically searched, for example, “Syria violence raw video,” but you really have to know what to search for. Google wont even auto complete ISIS execution video, which means a child would have to not only already know about ISIS executing people, but they would also WANT to watch it happen. This is also very easily hidden just by implementing parental tools like Google SafeSearch.
        So, in summary…is it a problem? I’d say there’s certainly a possibility of a child being exposed to explicitly pornographic or violent given how young kids are being given cell phones, but the risk is drastically reduced if parents do their due diligence and implement simple protocols to filter things out.

  3. I think that there is too much emphasis put on the violent video game debate. It seems more and more often people are pointing fingers at trivial parts of society to cover up bad parenting. Admittedly, i have played some of these violent video games, and have never once considered engaging in a violent act because of my gaming experience. If a video game is swaying a child’s mind enough to even consider engaging violent behavior, i believe there is a very high possibility there are underlying problems that should have been observed by a parent, and hopefully treated prior to any actions by the child.

    Additionally, i don’t believe it is fair to compare violence seen in person, to images displayed in a movie or a video game. As an Army veteran, and someone currently undergoing treatment for PTSD, i feel that i am credible to speak on this topic. Without going into great detail, i have been involved in combat while deployed in Afghanistan. I have seen violent images, death, and had my own life threatened multiple times. These experiences are in no way remotely comparable to seeing something in a movie or in a game. While i disagree that images do not have an impact on adults, i do feel that adults are better suited to handle these images. Life experience and morals can play a large role in the digestion of things we see.

    I also think that it is ignorant to believe that a video game can drive someone to participate in behavior that is morally wrong. If it does, when does it become fair to hold the parents accountable for neglecting to recognize their child’s mental instability or lack of reasoning capabilities?

  4. I can’t help but wonder if the people they claim to be violent after taking part in violent media would be violent if they didn’t take part in the violent media. I believe that you can’t be violent if you’ve never been exposed to it before. Given, it is nearly impossible to keep yourself from being exposed to violence. I also believe that there is a difference between being exposed to violence and participating in it. There’s a difference between hearing about something violent on the news and playing a video game in which you shoot people. Different situations provide different circumstances, but I do believe that if you practice violence in things such as video games you may become violent. The same goes for things such as profanity. You can’t use profanity if you’ve never heard it before.
    I also agree with many of the things said in the comments above. There comes a time when the parents of the children becoming violent need to help guide. The parents need to explain and state what is right and wrong, and set limits and boundaries to what they can and cannot do and watch when it comes to the media. If parents allow their children to play violent video games but don’t give their children a solid moral rock to stand on, the children will look to the media for what they think their morals and standards should be.

  5. Education is key to many things. Parent need to educate their kids on violent video games whether they allow them in their house or not because they could very well be playing at a friends, library, or just be sneaking it in. How do we know how to speak, go potty, or walk: Education. How do we know to not touch the hot stove, or to look before crossing the street: Education. Like with everything there are those who get influenced greatly by what they expose themselves to. Also your brain has the capability to develop even in adulthood, just doesn’t happen the same way, rate, or in dramatic changes.

    1. I definitely agree with you on this one. Much like sex education, kids are more likely to do the wrong things compared to the right things when they don’t have any knowledge of how to take any of it. I have nothing against parents wanting to keep their kids away from violent media. Honestly, some kids really aren’t ready for it. And that’s fine. It is up to parents to determine when their kids are ready for it and to explain the context of the violence.

      Trying to dictate when other kids can handle it though? That’s another story.

      1. I think it is human nature to test limits, and we often clash with authority. I think many times the people who are most prone to handle situations badly, are the people who were restricted and underexposed to these things in the first place. If a child is raised in an environment in which he is constantly barred from exposure to something, curiosity grows, and they will find a way to see it eventually. As a kid, i remember how games like Mortal Kombat were often frowned upon by parents. Yet kids (including myself) still managed to find a friend who had the game so they could play. This argument that violent video games could cause real violence seems ridiculous to me. When did common sense go out the window? i was raised with a sense of moral understanding, and a very clear grasp on what appropriate behavior was. While i think it is the parent’s responsibility to enforce/educate these things, i think finger pointing at video games is a trivial and futile effort.

    2. Yes I agree with you also, Education is the key. They already dictate what is wrong and right for your child. Your know about the ratings of games and they also have them for TV shows also.
      Sydnea I don’t know if the brain develops throughout life. I know it goes until around age 25. Now neurogenesis continues beyond that point but not much else.

      All in all the media does influence children and young teens. A parent can educate a child and a child still may do the wrong thing. This is life, I can tell my kids(also not a parent yet Ryan) not to rob a bank and they still can do it. They do have free will and choice.

  6. Further research is necessary in the topic of neurogenesis and the chronological age it stays dormant in people. But it is still possible to alter the brain. Ryan makes a good point with the influence of violence in videogames to the human brain:)

    1. I understand nerogenesis. It is simply the development of new neurons. It happens in to parts of the brain but all in all a child’s brain is not developed so yes media can take hold and sway kids. I don’t think they have to be on a troubled path the be swayed. Many influences come such as friends. I can talk to a kid but we all know kids don’t follow their parents rules.

      1. Neuroplasticity is something that is also evident in development of the brain. It pretty much forms new neural connections in the brain and whether these neuron connections are permanent is something that we have still not figured out. If the effects of videogames towards children is developed via neurplasticity, then the negative effects of videogames MAY still be altered, but further research is also necessary regarding the topic.

  7. Ryan makes a point about kids doing the wrong things rather than the right things when adult mentorship is not available. Though as part of human instinct, a child will find itself someone to look up to, it may not even be their parents or a person. As long as it is a figure that they can model themselves after. This is very prominent in troubled youths who don’t have the guidance of their parents around them, or if their parents have mistreated them, therefore not letting their parents be the primary mentors or role models in their life.

    1. Carlo A, I would agree with your statement. Kids nowadays don’t have many positive role models. I think parents kind of let their children do what they want now. I remember my mom use to make us only stay in front of the house. Now kids are allowed to play like 10 blocks away. Without supervision which can lead to dangerous situations. And I feel like kids can sense when they have a little power over their parents. So obviously they take advantage of that. And do whatever they want which again doesn’t allow the child to have a strict parental figure.

  8. I enjoyed your article as I am also a big gamer. Most of the games I play are violent or simulation of a category that could include violence. I am 18 years old and I am very smart in the real world. I make good decisions and I can say that I am NOT affected by the games I play. The games I play are a stress reliever for me, and or just fun to goof off with. Its like another world. GTA is a perfect example of a violent game. I have played it since the first one came out and look at me now? In college, getting my degree, working, paying for stuff with my own money; where’s the violence in that? So to your statement on violence effecting teens and effecting there future. I agree with you. On the statement about adults and how they aren’t effected because they have fully developed brains, I know people that have seen scary movies, or done crime because they have seen movies or played games. They are adults and where I work I have seen unstable adults because of stuff they have encountered. When it all comes down to it, its your choice. Teens or adults, if they find something cool and they try it, they wither learn from there mistakes or they keep digging them selves down under the ground. Media does play a role in our society. It’s up to us to choose to follow the negative footsteps. Or just have fun as still succeed and still play games that can be violent. A quick reply to your statement on watching TVs and brain damage. There have been studies (not saying correct or official) that say that a child at a young age that stays in and looks at a screen a lot, can reduce brain cells and cause your learning activity to slow, which I can agree a little on. Back in the days, people didn’t have screens to look at. They played and worked outside, and studied in school so they didn’t really have something to look at that reduces the brain function. But living in the 20th century, we have screens everywhere. So there’s no getting away. It’s the person’s choice on how they want to make there time.

    1. Like I said, when it comes to adults, media alone is less likely to have any effect. While children’s brains are still developing and experiencing violent imagery without supervision or explanation can, in theory, cause some issues, adults don’t really have that excuse.

      When it comes to adults, simulated violent imagery that can be found in games cannot be the only reason for sudden and violent changes in someone. If you’re going to go shoot up a room full of people because you saw it in a video game or movie, it’s likely that there’s more than just a violent game or movie that’s causing you to go screwy upstairs.

      In terms of TVs and brain damage…yes, there’s a chance that’s the case. As far as I know, there has been no medical consensus on this yet. Keep in mind, it used to be of popular opinion that sitting too close to the TV would ruin your eyes which (to my knowledge) has been debunked. However, this, again, is for the parents to take care of and yet again boils down to not using media as a babysitting device.

      And while I know you didn’t mention it, I am almost positive that people cite screens and brain damage to contribute to ADD/ADHD and to explain the huge spike it in in recent years. Just want to point out that many mental disorders get a spike in frequency when a proper means of diagnosis is found and there was a time not too long ago that ADD/ADHD was being poorly diagnosed leading to a huge number of false cases.

      In the end, I definitely agree. For kids, parents should allow what they’re comfortable with. otherwise, for for young and proper adults, it should be their choice.

      Really glad you liked the article! Hope you’re enjoying/enjoyed Bonniejean’s class! Give her a shoutout for me, will you?

  9. After reading this article two things come to mind; iPod’s should NOT be banned from schools, and kids committing crimes has little to nothing to do with video games. Going back to the part about iPod’s, I don’t believe they should be banned from schools for simple reasons. While going through high school, I loved being able to stick headphones in my ears and drown out the obnoxious kids in class, so I could get my own work done. For myself and many others I know in high school, listening to music while doing work helps you concentrate. It allows you to focus at what’s in front of you while giving you something so you aren’t ridiculously bored while sitting in class. As for video games causing kids to do violent, criminal-like things, I do not think they have a correlation. Yes, the violent videogames could spark an idea, but in most cases those ideas are just that; idea’s. Many of my close guy friends LOVE violent video games, and they are some of the nicest guys I know, that could never do something to harm another person.

    1. Something I kind of touched on is that allowing iPods gives schools one less thing they need to worry about outside of the classrooms. I’m not entirely sure if you could use the argument that it helps people concentrate since it doesn’t work in all cases. However, so long as head phones are used and it’s not during an active class period, I honestly see no problem with it.

      With video games, you pretty much got the idea. Sparking an idea is entirely possible. The important bit is acting upon it, which often is something you would only find in someone already mentally disturbed.

    2. Katie B, I agree with Ipods in school. It would just give kids another reason to be deviant and bring them anyway. But it’s a calm reliever and I would say stress reliever. So banning it not be a good idea. But I would disagree about the video games. Just from my own personal experience. My cousin used to play GTA, a violent video game. Not to say he would go out and kill someone but he did kill a rabbit. I know it’s nothing major but still he displayed some type of violence. And he’s not a violent kid at all, very loving.

      1. I agree with your statement as well. The video games would not encourage them to go out killing people but you do see the behavior changes after the child playing it. So yes it can definitely impact the child’s behavior in school, public, and to themselves.

    3. I agree, I find that schools are trying to make more rules for their schools. I also don’t why they would ban Ipods, it’s not like an Ipod is the problem. They can’t just put music on themselves so is he trying to say it’s the music because the last time I check it was a thing that couldn’t play itself, but that just my opinion.

  10. Ryan, this article is so good especially because it has to do with an issue that is very pressing and like you said the conclusion that media is a form of child abuse and that kids steal their parents cars because of the kind of games they play is hasty generalization as a proper survey was not conducted and though according to the explanation of JarmaineKW It is clear that the stealing of car thing can happen so that is why it is very important for kids to be supervised as some kids actually practicalize what they watch on TV and “all work and no play makes Jake a dull boy” so if as much time that is spent on gaming is also spent on studying then the kids will also do very well in their studies.

  11. I myself am a pretty big fan of media. I love video games and movies, and have for a very long time. That being said, I’ve been exposed to violent media for just as long. I’ve never even thought of committing a violent act, or been depressed, or bullied someone because of video games or movies. I totally agree with your article, and I feel like you bring up great points. It’s nice to see an intelligent defense of media for once online. It all comes down to parenting to me. If violence in media is something you don’t want your child to see, than take the time to research what your child shows interest in and determine what is suitable and what isn’t. It feels like most of the time the attack on violent media is just an excuse for lazy parenting.

    1. I would totally agree with you and say that it does come down to parenting. The blood spilling violent games are 18 and over and often just bought for kids by their parents. I also agree video games provide no motivation to commit violent acts but do believe if people believe these games cause kids to cause violent acts, than they should parent better and not buy the games. I do agree it is apart of the parents problems as well if not most all of the parents problem.

  12. I really enjoyed the post. I admire you standing up for what you believe in. While I’m just not a diehard gamer, i grew up with at least one system in the house Sega Genesis, Sega Dreamcast, Playstation, Playstation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360. I have grew up around games, and I definitely know that the games we played or television shows I watched had any impact on my actions or views. I think that people are blaming things like games to turn the blame away from their poor parenting if your kid is growing up in an unstable home where he sees violence and negativity, turns around plays a game with violence I’m sure seeing his mother get beat up will have greater effect on the kid’s views of the world. I lived in Chicago my whole life, and can say the things that happened in the neighborhood shaped the way things were, and games had the least to do with it if anything it pulled you away from the bad influences that were going on outside kept you in the house away from the non-sense. Now obesity is another thing I do think some kids not all can benefit a bit by putting the remotes down a little, and getting out to be active playing sports like basketball, football, baseball, and etc. can be just as thrilling as those electronic games, it also will make you feel and look better.

  13. I can agree with this blog in many ways. First of all I liked how everything was explained about how the handout was wrong. I don’t think that video games cause depression, suicide and sleeping disorders. He made a good point about that. I understand people get sleepy from playing games but like the blog says, its from staying up all night playing games. When I was younger my sister and I would play video games all of the time and I still do till this day. It never had a big affect on my life. I don’t see how that could cause depression at all. I understand that video games are bad but it never really causes that many problems. This blog is good because it shows that everything that you read isn’t always true.

  14. Aggressive regulations never are received well to the students. Look at prohibition for example. Banning the sales of alcohol only encouraged deviance to society and made many people serve jail time. A mutual understanding for banging ipods and tech seems to work better. No one wants to feel their privileges have been taken away. That just raises many issues around the real issue at hand.

  15. I think video games when it comes to kids can be educational, however, parents should monitor the games and the time limit in which they allow their children to play because I agree that it can in fact, be considered child abuse. I have a cousin who’s parents are so over protective that all he is allowed to do is stay in the house he is not allowed to have any friends to interact socially with kids his own age. this has resulted in a college student (going into his freshman year this year) who has absolutely no social skills at all and is very withdrawn and introverted which when done research are all characteristics of people that have committed crimes such as school shootings and things of that nature. Had he been monitered with the video games he was allowed to play along with an allotted time to play them he may have been forced to develop some sort of social skills which are needed in order to be a functioning member of society. Sadly he has no idea how to do so.

  16. I fully agree with the author on this topic. Media and violence are everywhere! A parent can not conceal their child from these two things forever, and education is key in handling this issue. I believe that if more parents would just take the time out to explain to their kids the content of their video game, that would make kids more aware of their virtual reality and shed a light on media and violence. I also agree with the author on the whole iPod issue. I listen to my iPod on a daily basis and I do not feel that anything is wrong with that. I enjoy my iPod as well as many other things in my life. I believe that life is about balance, without balance of things in your life, things will and can go wrong in any situation.

  17. I agree With the writer in that the media itself is not the problem when it comes to violence. I believe that violence in video games leads to violence in real life. when it comes to glorifying acts of violence it can be found everywhere including books or Martial arts. Coming from a personal experience of growing up with violent video games I find that my friends and I never once internalized the idea of hurting others because of what I saw in media. There is a great deal that goes into ones own ability to rationalize that it is just a game. Of course their are those who are inspired to join the military but joining the military is already a glorified theme by many and is social accepted. The one thing I do agree with when it comes to the argument of media being bad is that over exposure can lead to poor academic experience. As can be found in may studies the stimulation and multitasking that comes with multimedia devices lead to the lack of ability to concentrate or derive reward from tedious tasks such as studying.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/technology/07brain.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    1. Peter K. Agreed! Even in my own experience, social media has held me back from studying. Going on twitter, instagram, snapchat have all been a major problem for me. I don’t know what it is but the constant checking up on people. Not to say my grades are bad. But my test scores probably could be better if I put my phone down and studied. I would also agree with violence in video games leading to violence in real life. What you watch and take part in begins to become your everyday life.

  18. This is widely contraversal, media is definately the source of a lot of habits that the American people have grown so accustome to. Media desensatize the public and absolutely leaves a brand on the newest generation. The degree of violence in the media from my grandparent era will be way different from mine, and I even see my 6-year younger brother’s generation that is extremely more violent than my generation would ever be. I am sure rearing my son in this age of media will only get more grosom.

    1. Moni H, I agree with the media leaving a mark on our new generation. My little cousin who is about 10 years old. He plays GTA and he gets so angry when he can’t play. As he started playing nonstop he began to pick up some of their lingo. He started swearing at only 10! Saying things like “shit” and “Fuck” when he dropped something. Which I blame the Video game for because he played it so much. And it had swearing within the game all types of words you can think of. It was like he was a sailor with how much swearing he was doing.

  19. I actually did a speech on media and children recently. I did some research about the topic and I found some good studies that scientists have done on media and its effect on children, especially advertising. According to an article from Journal of Advertising which was published in 2012, childhood obesity has tripled over the last three decades. I don’t think this is something that should be ignored. Advertising agencies know how to target children, because until the age of seven or eight children do not usually distinguish between an advertisement and a regular content (Berger 2011). Studies have shown that children can act aggressively if they watched someone aggressive. Albert Bandura is famous for “Bobo Doll” experiment. He experimented a sample of children watching adult role models use aggressive behavior. Then the children were put in the same situation, according to the study the children imitated the adult role model behavior and acted aggressively toward the “Bobo Doll.” Video games might not be the first factor that someone might become aggressive, but if children watched violent video games, their might an increased chance of violence.

    1. I can definitely agree with your first point. I didn’t really touch on this when I wrote the article, but I will not argue the point that advertisers do make an impact on children. I still remember dragging my parents to McDonalds just because I wanted the toy. I definitely think that it’s a good idea to keep this kind of thing in mind and to try and teach your kids early on to be careful with commercials.

      However, like I said in the article, the studies released that I have seen on video games inducing violence are very contradicting. The Bobo doll experiment does bring up a good point, but I’m not sure how much I could stretch that to tie into most media. As you said, the children were watching an adult role model. Even from a young age we are expected to follow the examples of our elders and sometimes do it without even trying.

      But in the context of movies or video games, it’s a slightly different scenario. No longer are we talking about physical adult role models but imaginary characters. From my personal experience, children are often a lot smarter then we give them credit for. If we help them understand that what they are experiencing is imaginary and not something they should emulate, not every sixth grader you hand Grand Theft Auto to is going to try and curb stomp their neighbour.

      If parents were to leave a violent game with a child and not give any sort of context, I can see how it could contribute (please note, contribute) to violent behaviour in very young children. What it really boils down to is good parenting. Just like anything parents expose to their children, they must guide their kids and help them understand what they’re seeing. It doesn’t matter if it’s the news, a book, movie, video game, or whatever else we begin to dish out through media outlets in the future.

      Video games are just among a huge collection of things that might be able to act as a catalyst for violent behaviour, but not act as a soul cause.

      1. I know parents have a big responsibility in giving advice to their children about these things. However, I did not say video games are one of the first factors. I said they could be one of the many factors that can trigger violence in kids. I strongly agree that virtual games affect children. There is a book called Infinite Reality by Jim Blascovich and Jeremy Bailenson that explains a list of studies done to experiment whether virtual games affect humans. It shows people another side of reality.

  20. It seems to me that you have a very biased opinion considered you are going to be a video game programmer. Reading this entry I felt a lot of it was coming out of anger because this booth is a threat to something your very passionate about. Although some of it may not be true, theres no conclusive evidence that its not true either. You need to look at both sides of the story before jumping to a conclusion. As you said, most kids these days do own a video game console which definitely helps your case. Who’s to say a non video gamer won’t commit acts of violence?

    1. I definitely must concede that I do have a major bias here. Not just as a gamer but, yes, as the industry it contains is in the future. And, yes, I cannot disagree that none of this came out of anger. The accusation that video games create violent behaviour in those who play them has been thrown around so much that it’s something I encounter very frequently so you can imagine how I feel about it.

      With the admission of bias aside, I don’t quite understand the point you’re trying to make. Yes, as I said, most children own some sort of game playing console and enact in the activity of video games (or at least that so many do that it’s hard to test violent activity based on the sole fact that a violent person owns a gaming system). However, I don’t quite see where you go from there.

      I never said that non-gamers couldn’t commit acts of violence…and that’s kind of the point. Gamers and non-gamers alike can commit acts of violence. Judging if games cause violence based on the frequency of how often someone plays games alone is not sufficient.

  21. I don’t know if I would call social media child abuse. I would say it’s more of what you let your child play. Because there are some games out there that should be not played by kids under a certain age. The whole violence thing I would say is true. Kid’s take from what they watch and hear. So games that display violence and swearing. I believe children will think it’s okay to do those things. Because the parent is allowing them to play those games in the first place. I would also argue that media is being used for child abuse. A lot more sex offenders have a chance of getting online and tracking little kids down. So I would say social media is being USED as child abuse. Rather than IS child abuse.

    1. I totally agree with you. Social media is being used as child abuse since there are many children who have access to the internet or media and as well as sex offenders and criminals. However, parents are at fault when they allow it to happen BUT some parents do not allow it and somehow the child still get a hold of it (such as adult games, the internet, phone). For example, when they go to school they may have friends who help them get the game they want encouraging them it is possible. So the media does paly a role since they advertise it too much that the child will most likely see that thats the hottest game out and they have to have it because its popular- that it has to be the best game out there.

  22. I was agreeing with you hence why I said “Who’s to say a non video gamer won’t commit acts of violence?” . The point I was making is you should make you’re article sound less biased. In your introduction you made it clear cut that this angered you by saying “However, there was one booth that both caught my eye and unleashed more then a little fury in me”. People immediately get a sense that your drawing conclusions based on your own life experiences.

    1. Ah, I see what you’re saying. Yes, if I could, I’d add an edit in the article explaining my biases but also elaborate on why I still believe I am in a position to speak on the matter. I appreciate the comment.

  23. I don’t object with this article at all. I think that he didn’t fully understand what he was talking about, when it came to adults not be affected by violence the way children can. The way a person can be bullied can have something to do with media but not completely. What I mean is that if a child sees something new that is coming to stores and a group of kids have it and others don’t, they can get tease for that in some cases. I don’t believe that a kid can become violent from video games, but I do believe they a born that way or raise that way. Media can have kids wanting to kill themselves base on their surroundings, for example if a child goes to school and they aren’t as pretty as the others or not what society and media say how they should look and act they can get picked on for that which could lead to suicide, but I don’t think it cause it directly.

  24. In my own personal opinion, I also feel that the media is affecting kids of today. But media as a whole is wide and we cannot say everything in the media is bad, so I slightly disagree. At the same time, in the world of today, the media has impacted a huge influence both negatively and positively. I’ve heard a couple stories whereby I child has been killed by his friend unconsciously because he didn’t know it was a real gun. How did he even know how to use a gun in the first place? The media. This is directly a cause from the media. A lot of children’s idols are celebrities they see on tv, they wanna be just like them. A lot of what these celebrities do is not exactly the most positive (Miley Cyrus) but because they adore them so much,they imitate them anyway, weather it’s positive or negative. I wouldn’t say the media doesn’t have its good sides, but it’s definitely affecting the kids of today.

  25. Your article made me think about the way that the United States as a country treats violence in the media. It is interesting to compare us to many European countries. Often, when Europeans see the amount of violence in American media, they are appalled. And often, when Americans see the amount of sexually explicit content in European media, we are likewise appalled. Europeans will claim that sex is a natural part of life, and it doesn’t need to be censured. They find it disturbing how Americans trivialize violence, killing and death. But this is just an interesting thought that is loosely related to the article. I can’t really make any substantiated claims about what this means for the two societies. There really is no way to make claims like that (as you pointed out). In the end, I have very little real evidence behind me when I say that violence in the media a contributing factor to the high levels of violent crime we have here in the US. It certainly trivializes it, and desensitizes its audience (both adults and children).

    1. I suppose I could agree to that to a point. While it does have some desensitizing factor, I don’t think it’d go to the sort of extreme that many opposing parties point to. Again, maybe in the mentally unstable, but in everyone else…not so sure.

  26. I believe that the video games kids are playing in today’s society are making kids more prone to violence. When kids at that age see killing and blood on a screen they think it is a norm. Well not a norm but, more acceptable in society. I think it takes away of the severity of killing and doing violent things. Kids are more likely to do them.

    1. I disagree. There is a point where children have difficulty figuring out the difference between reality and fantasy, but children aren’t stupid. Generally, when we view someone as human, we view their death as a bad thing. I remember when 9/11 happened, the moment my mom said that what was on the TV was actually happening, I cried and locked myself into my room.

      You can think something does something all you want, but from the studies I’ve seen? That just isn’t the case.

      Sorry for the way overdue reply. Never noticed this was posted.

  27. Education is so important these days. It is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children what is right and not. If they allow them to play violent video games. They need to explain it to them it’s fake, not real. Also, when they buy the video games, they have labels on the game. They can consider if their child should play the game or not. They should not be blaming the media. Parents need to educate their own kids too. They can’t leave everything on the teachers. They have to be aware of everything and it depends on how they raise their own child. If they are using technology it shouldn’t be a problem. Like iPods are just mainly use for music. It won’t create violence.

    1. I also agree with parents having to watch what they buy their children to play and what their children ask to play. If they are really concerned with making their child happy and not getting them the violent video game, parents can provide alternatives such as similar games that are less violent and age appropriate. Good examples of games that I played growing up were Crash Bandicoot, Mario, Simpsons and racing games. Other alternatives to today violent games could be Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare that is exactly like a Call of Duty. Call of Duty is a military fighting game for adults. Plants Vs. Zombies could be an easy and fair alternative.

    2. Exactly. Education is key here. I remember my dad bought me Grand Theft Auto San Andres when I was in the sixth grade. This was after the Hot Coffee controversy and the game rating was changed to Ao (adults only).

      My dad knew that if I didn’t play it there, I’d probably have a friend who had it. He preferred knowing he was within easy reach to answer questions if I had them and, really, that’s the best way you can go about it.

      1. That is very interesting because very similar to my reasoning why I would agree completely. I grew playing Grand Theft Auto games with my cousins at a very young age as well. Yet, my mother never would buy me the game. My mother would take me to my cousins to play the Grand Theft Auto almost every time I wanted to play the game. Even today, I still play Grand Theft Auto, although not a huge gamer anymore, I would still say that Grand theft Auto hasn’t effected me in a violent way. So in a way I figure our parents approach in that area was very similar and even involved the same game.

      2. That’s a very interesting way to parent. I think that parents supervising their children playing these games within their own homes and being on standby is much better than letting the kids discover these things on their own within anyone to guide them or make sure they can distinguish the games from reality. I think a large part of the problem is that parents think that they can prevent their children from encountering violent video games at all, but they have become such a large part of our culture that it’s nearly impossible for a kid to grow up and not encounter any violent media through friends. Instead of neglecting the education altogether, I like that your dad decided to take that education into his own hands, thus still maintaining a sense of control while letting you expose yourself to what you wanted within a controlled environment.

  28. I can see why you did not take what this author wrote too well, especially given the fact that it sounds like he did not provide any evidence to back up his conclusions. A claim or a theory without any substantial evidence is not only undermining to the reader, but can be pointless, and not very effective. It also leaves one curious: How does the media lead to increased rates of suicide, as the author suggested? Did the author of said article provide any reasons or a solution? However, as you point out, I also believe that this veteran may have had an effective if not a well-written article if he had presented it differently. After all, his point has been proved through previous research and numerous studies that have shown the correlation between violent exposure and a person’s actions, revealing a probability that violent media could be a “cause.” But as psychology suggests, correlation never necessarily signifies causation. Granted, I like how you concluded that the media is a catalyst rather than a cause, because that would technically be most accurate.

  29. I agree with you Lia but at the same time, the author may have left those things explicit for a reason to get viewers to think about the possibilities that can happen if our youth continues to think what happens on television and social media is reality. It is teaching our children that it’s okay to sell drugs and to take drugs because it ensures that you’ll have a good time, When really, I believe they are trying to destroy our generation by brainwashing us. We have to act on this soon because if not, there are going to be a lot more deaths and people getting hurt because people want to pursue lives that they are nothing like. They only do it for the attention and because they think it’ll make them look cool.

    1. I’m sorry, but I doubt that was the author’s goal. He was using this as a means to convince people…to get them on his side. To get people to at least think that violence in media causes violence in children. Claims without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

  30. I totally agree with you Lia has I say the media is a destruction of this society. Everything is so hands on and technology used that a child can easily get to whatever they want. Rather it is from watching TV to playing a game and even social media being the biggest problem. Media is showing our kids that it is okay to show off your body and do wrong but think it is cool. I remember when Dora was the nice little Mexican that discovered clues and solve problems. Now they got her body showing; booty and all just for the entertainment of the viewers eyes and the money that goes in their pocket. Along with the system that play apart in this want to break every other society norm but when it is shown to us by TV they do not care because it is profiting them with more trouble to keep this country surviving financially. I have a daughter that I am scared to raise up in this society and preventing all negative vibes away from her. Teach her the ways I was taught as a child and that was never inside playing the game or watching TV. Instead it was going outside and playing sports and positive things with your friends. We have to step up as parents and teach our kids what is okay and what is not okay.

  31. As someone who is a fellow gamer, I can relate to this post on the idea of video games not affecting my moods or feelings. When most people say they find children get angry and aggressive after playing video games, most of the time those children had just lost and became mad at the fact that they couldn’t win, thus causing rage. Not winning or beating the game connects to other things too, such as having your football team lose or not being able to win a sporting event. These situations all cause anger in the way of knowing you were not good enough and then pushes you harder. For example, I play the video game madden, and when I was younger I wasn’t very good at it, but that only pushed me to become even better at the game, as I am probably in the top 5% of madden players worldwide. I would have to conclude that video games don’t make any children want to go out and express anger in the world, they just have a competitive edge and eagerly want to win.

    1. Ryan M,
      I agree with your thoughts regarding video games and such. I honestly am not a huge fan of video games. However, I have many friends that play video games daily. I know for a fact that playing video games can have a huge role in ones mood but I strongly disagree that it leads to violence. As you mention in your comment you only became better at the game you played and now are among the best players. Never did that game lead to violence in your life. For some people video games, TV Shows , or simply listening to music can be a way of relax from a long day at work or school. My friends might play a game and lose and be upset about it but they can also be upset about an assignment and free themselves from it by playing a video game. The media can impact you in either a positive or negative way, that is one’s own decision. People can decide to act violently without having it be related to the media or video games. We choose how it impacts our lives. One thing I surely agree with the author is that the media might have a negative affect on one’s sleep if one lets it. I, for instance, am engaged in work sometimes really late at night and don’t get enough sleep.

  32. I also come from a childhood filled with video games and believe that violent video game do not effect a child as much as they say. Violence is in everything now days all the way to Disney kid movies and even the games. My little cousins (8 & 10 years old) play a video game called Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, which is basically a Call of Duty for young kids. Although no blood spills when shot there are still guns, explosives, and killing. I have never looked at a video game to reference a violent act or to know how to perform a violent act. Neither of my cousins has ever been violent or are becoming violent as they grow up. They have had the game for a long time and haven’t affected them over the years. I completely agree with your article and your point of view towards violence and video games.

    1. Glad you agree! Yeah, I think the negative view of video games is going to stick around for a while. My guess is that, eventually, when virtual reality becomes a thing, that’s going to be picked apart for causing violence and criticized separately from video games as we know them now. Seems to just be the way of things.

      1. I would strongly agree with virtual reality games being picked apart from video games themselves. The way they are trying to incorporate the game with the virtual reality is looking lot more realistic than I think people are expecting. I was watching a television show called Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas or inventions and have a chance for an investor. On Shark Tank, there was a man trying to sell a virtual reality prototype that had the helmet, actual size rifle, gloves, and a bottom 360-degree rotating running pad. So you would have to run, duck and jump. Now at a more progressed phase when they release the actual flawless system I would completely see how someone could get way to into the game and mix it with reality. Especially if some how playing at a young age. If someone can be a military star in a virtual reality game, they might think they can do it in life no problem. Could definitely cause some kind of controversy.

  33. I agree the paper you heard about does sound false or unjustified. Especially about the ipod and how video games causes depression, suicide, and sleep deprivation. I honestly think those sounds ridiculous. However, I cannot help but agree with the paper that video games MAY cause some sort of violence or behavior change. No- not all video games but the ones that are not for the age for kids. My little brother has been playing more video games including GTA, Call or Duty, etc for his childhood than any other of my siblings. He is not supposed to play those games but because the time where media talked about the newest gta one time my brother had to have that game even though it meant paying someone to get it. We noticed that his behavior has changed since and most of the actions or what he says (that are not appropriate for his age for instance profanity) had came from the game. It affects his involvement in school and his behavior in public. Yes I agree your statement that video games do not make anyone violent but I do think if you underage it can effect the behavior. No matter how hard our family tried our brother still manage to get games from his friends or go to his friends house to play since everyone talked about it. Its like an addiction. Don’t get me wrong- I love video games! But I know now new consoles and new games that are rated M or T should not exposed to younger generations.

  34. I don’t think that media is child abuse first of all, that is ridiculous, I think that maybe media should be filtered from little one’s for sure though. In the blog, you said that you should try and explain violence to a child, I currently volunteer with toddlers and have to teach them a lesson at church upon occasion, it is super difficult for kids to understand a lot of things, or get them to sit still for long enough to explain stuff. Because of my experience, I don’t think that’s the best idea, no doubt it’s a good one, but it’ll be a challenge depending on the age. I have people in my super-duper-extended family that allow their toddler be around mature games and rated R movies when other adults in the family are watching or playing them, I think that is absolutely terrible. Because he is exposed to these things their toddler thinks it’s ok to say certain words and act out. Media I think can be dangerous if it is unfiltered and unsupervised for certain ages but again you have to be smart about using any time of media. As for the whole sleep deprivation thing that’s something I feel users put on themselves because they like to stay up late to play games.

    1. I can definitely see the argument that showing toddlers R rated movies or M rated games is a really bad idea. Violence aside, these movies often come with heavy sexual innuendo or just overall gratuitous violence that many kids of that age are REALLY not prepared for or can even really comprehend. A lot of it comes down to a case by case basis.
      Also, yes, staying up late to play games is really self inflicted. The argument of sleep deprivation breaks down even more when you consider that this brochure I described in the article was talking about children. You know. Children. Those little buggers you have pretty much total say over what happens including what time they go to bed.
      There are studies that say that being in front of a monitor can inhibit sleep for up to an hour after being exposed to the light, but all that means is that parents have to stop their kids from playing games at least an hour before bedtime. It’s not rocket science.

      1. As far as sleep deprivation goes, that’s more of a screens in general issue than solely video games. I recently noticed a feature on my phone called “Blue Light Filter,” so I did some research on it and learned that most screens emit blue light, which causes eye strain due to the fact that it scatters more easily than other types of light, forcing your eyes to focus more. Blaming video games for an issue related to all screens regardless of their displayed content is ridiculous.

  35. I don’t think media/video games are child abuse.I think the parents watching the kids are using it as an escape goat/ nanny so they don’t have to watch their kids. Many parents I know when they don’t want to deal with their kid set them down in front of the t.v to either watch a show or have them play a game. So they are using media to their advantage. I do think there should be a time limit on how much a child watching t.v or plays video games on nice days they should be outside playing with friends not inside looking at a screen.Which in our block has become a problem the number of kids outside has dwindled. As for I pads in school they can be a great tool for learning, if the teacher watches what they are doing. In second grade my son was given an I pad to use during an open learning period. I was told by him that many kids went on to you tube and watched whatever they wanted or played whatever game they wanted. If I pads in schools are going to be worth using there should be a parental control on them. Media or video games aren’t bad in my opinion if used correctly.

    1. Personally, my parents never put a limit on how long I played games, although I suppose using video games as a digital nanny is a more modern trend. I will say that media in general has definitely led to less people being active and lowered productivity, but I’d say that it would be disingenuous to say that this is somehow a ‘children’ problem. While I would say there is certainly a wrong way to go about using media in many settings, the issue of activity and productivity is definitely something that needs working on in both adults and children.

  36. You make a lot of interesting points in this article. As ridiculous as the handout phrased some of those claims, I have to admit that there is some basis to the argument that violent video games can create violent tendencies in children. This was famously modeled by Albert Bandura’s Bobo Doll experiments in the 1960s; children emulate behaviors modeled to them. However, violent video games alone cannot be held accountable for an increase in violent tendencies in children. There are many other factors that go into that equation, such as the child’s home environment, community, and culture. For example, a child living with an abusive father in the rural area where hunting and shooting guns are a part of the culture, violent video games are likely to feed into the child’s aggression, not as a solo agent, but as one piece among many that come together to create the child’s disposition. Violent video games can be a factor, but they are not a sole cause.

    1. I actually recall there was a study done on video games that tested aggression. I think they tested children and teenagers. Long story short, the results showed that video games cause a short term increase in aggression but in most it would not cause a long term increase. The example you gave could definitely result in games playing a factor, but it really depends on how on how the child’s psyche is effected by the abuse. If the abuse were to make the child submissive, for example, I don’t find it as likely that video games would be a catalyst towards violence. Really depends on the situation.

      1. That’s a good point. Given that they result in only a short-term increase in aggression, then, and that a sound mind should not be influence enough by violent video games to make drastic changes to their behavior, I’m curious as to your theory on why the media has it out for violent video games. In your opinion, is it more a matter of conflict with traditional wholesome beliefs and standards, or something else entirely?

      2. While I can’t speak for modern media in general, I can most definitely speak on where this all might come from in terms of video games and especially what initially brought it into the limelight.
        The boogieman before video games, Rock ‘n’ Roll…well, it became part of the culture. Something else had to fill in the gap of what was corrupting our children. While cartoons and TV were already getting attacked, the interactive nature of video games made it a far more interesting target. Just about every culture has had its scapegoats. From pagans to communism. Quite simply, video games was the next big thing the kids were interested in and was breaking new grounds in terms of what was available. You introduce something new, at least some people are going to get frightened by it.
        However, a more likely explanation for this comes from the initial audience for video games. At its inception, video games were always advertised as toys. When people of the day thought video games, it was generally seen just as much of a toy as, say, an action figure. Of course there were adults at the time who played them, but the public perception was generally that of something for kids. Video games for a more adult audience were nearly non-existent at first. They did certainly exist. Custer’s Revenge, for example, was a pornographic game for the Atari 2600. Not only were the graphics laughable in terms of ‘realism’, but it was obnoxiously difficult to get the game, let alone know it existed. You actually had to know the game you wanted and request it specially. I believe the Angry Video Game Nerd did an episode on it, I’d highly recommend it. However, for a time, despite these irregularities, the perception of “for kids” hung around.
        And then video games started getting more realistic. You could start doing more and more interesting things with games…but that perception of “for kids” never went away. So, of course, a product everyone thought was for kids suddenly becoming more adult? Yeah, that was only going to get ridiculed. Despite far more depictions of violence and sex occurring in movies, the one stigma movies didn’t have was it was that children were the primary audience. This scar over the needs of the children is actually the reason we have a rating system in the united states at all; specifically thanks to the games Mortal Kombat, Doom, and (weirdly) Night Trap.
        It has taken decades to shake that “just for kids” stigma to the point where gamers and creators alike had to fight just to get people to recognize that MAYBE video games are a form of art and expression. But, of course, that stigma still hangs around.
        The one thing that might stand out is that video games are almost fully integrated into our culture like Rock’n’Roll before it. A vast chunk of America’s population has played some video game in one form or another, many house holds have at least one gaming console, and they are even making (mostly terrible) movies based on them. However, video games are still under attack. Why?
        If I had to guess, video games still haven’t quite shuck off the “for kids” label. What’s more, while video games are now a common part of our every day life, it remains an easy target as “common sense” (despite the study I mentioned) would indicate that the interactive nature of video games somehow leaves more of an impact on our psyche than, say, movies or books.
        Hope that answered at least part of your question.

  37. That’s really interesting. I think that the concept of video games as a product for children is definitely a factor in the negative attitude toward violent video games, and I agree that these days, the medium is starting to gain a distinction between games for kids and games for adults. As far as games as a form of art and expression, I think that we are slowly getting more into that side of things. Indie games seem to be slowly making themselves known, with popular releases like Journey or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.
    I think one of the reasons video games in general are still under fire despite the growing distinctions due to our rating system is that the lines between games for children and adults can be blurred through mods. I remember coming across a Facebook discussion between a group of moms talking about how they would not allow their kids to play Minecraft because an article was published about a nudity mod that someone created. Even though mods like these can easily be avoided, once a taboo topic becomes attached to anything perceived to be aimed toward children, it’s going to get a bad rap.

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