Study: Claiming That Games And Violence Are Linked Now Linked To Violence

from the we've-gone-meta dept

You know how this usually works when we talk about major media and their comments on violent video games. One of the mindless talking heads on one of the cable news programs that I've been trying to convince you to never watch jumps to the wrong conclusion about games after some tragedy and then I make fun of them. It's been a nice, tidy, symbiotic relationship thus far: they apparently need to say something stupid and I apparently need to tear their nonsense to shreds.

But now we've got a problem. It turns out that these baseless claims that video games lead to violence may themselves be leading to violence.

"Dude, bro, what does that even mean?"
Image Source
Okay, so it's just a parody article by The Guardian, but it so closely mimics the real nonsense spewed by the media about video games that, like me, you'll probably read it through the first time and think it's plausible someone actually said this stuff. The joke starts with a claim of a study.
Dr Mario Vance, a psychological researcher at the Rapture Institute for headline-inspired science, conducted a seven-year longitudinal study that monitored the anger levels of more than a thousand volunteers from gaming communities. The results showed statistically significant increases in overall aggression and violent tendencies that occurred very soon after tenuous mainstream media stories claiming video games cause violence.

"Mainstream media have never liked video games, but it's just getting silly lately," said Dr Vance. "Recently, several media sources focused on Aaron Alexis (the Washington naval yard gunman) and his enthusiasm for Call of Duty as a cause for his brutal crimes. Because when wondering what could have made a naval reservist, someone trained by the military to engage in actions with the express intention of killing people, turn to violence, the obvious conclusion is 'video games', apparently.
This is something we've actually seen in our comments about these kinds of tragedies: why are we so focused on the video games, or the guns for that matter, instead of banking that the source of violence might be the violence-training some of these perpetrators receive in our military? This, of course, isn't to say that our military turns people into mass murderers or anything of that nature, but it's a much better direct link than the fact that these guys played Grand Theft Auto.

The article about the "study" then goes on with some rather funny quotes that parody some other counter-examples we've heard in our comments section.
"I used to enjoy multiplayer gaming. Granted, it expanded my vocabulary for homophobic insults considerably, but I've never felt the urge to travel to war-torn regions and practise my sniper skills for real. But my mother read that I could turn violent so confiscated my Playstation. One dubious article in the Telegraph and she decides I'm too impressionable. She owns four Derek Acorah DVDs and keeps asking her fortune teller what to do about me, so yeah, I'm the main problem here."
So, if it's a parody article, what's there to learn here? Well, the problem is that all the made up quotes, claims, and bullshit in this parody article aren't far off from what's being spoon-fed to the public by a mass media that would rather go the lazy self-serving route of scaring the hell out of parents than actually tell the truth about the link between games and violence, which is to say there is none. Sure, this pro-gamer article was pulled out of someone's ass, but if mass media can do it we can too.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 12:28pm

    It is the job of the military to break things and kill people. That's what they do. It's also what they train their soldiers to do in the combat MOSes. This is not news; it's nothing new.

    The military is well aware that when it sends soldiers into combat they come back psychologically damaged. That does not stop them from releasing those soldiers back into civilian life without really addressing the damage that was caused when these men were put into these situations.

    As I've said before, if the politicians and the Veterans Hospitals don't want to take care of the damage that was caused there is a real easy fix to it all.

    DON'T MAKE SO MANY OF THEM IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO TAKE CARE FO THEM!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    I play Call of Duty. A single game might last 10 minutes. During that 10 minutes, I might die 20-30 times. (I considered fudging the numbers but I'm being honest here. I suck at Call of Duty.)

    If Call of Duty has taught me anything about violence, it's that in a combat situation it's extremely easy to die. There is no way I'd want to experience that in real life.

    It's only the people watching the game, not playing it, that could possibly think it was violent, or that I was enjoying the violence. No, the only thrill in the game is NOT dying.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 12:42pm

    The article had me grinning at Dr Mario/Dr.Vance, but it was
    Dr Vance's co-researcher Dr Freeman was unavailable for comment.
    that had my sides in stitches.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Rich, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 1:02pm

    Re:

    Sure, he's probably busy somewhere in Xen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    That is a sweet dog!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    william (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 1:20pm

    Despite there being no evidence that video game players struggle to separate fiction and reality, many media sources keep insisting that this is the case, a situation Dr Vance describes as "depressingly ironic".
    ===============
    One of the best line I ever hear on the "blame the game" mentality

     

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  7.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 1:26pm

    Claiming That Games And Violence Are Linked Now Linked To Violence

    Makes sense. When I hear someone claiming that violence and video games are linked, I do get some violent urges.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    The facts speak for themselves. Call of Duty has sold over 100 million copies, but we have yet to see anywhere near that number of mass murderers.

    I'd say the more likely cause of violence is poor economic conditions. I would then go on to argue that politicians are responsible for poor economic conditions.

    Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that poor economic policies passed by the politicians themselves, are one of the main contributing factors to widespread violence and mass killings.

    Remember, guns don't kill people. Desperate people kill people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Pips, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    Meh.

    The only people making these claims are the NRA and Republicans.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 1:46pm

    That's a sweet dog BTW. Very cute.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    lfroen (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 2:24pm

    Re:

    >>> Remember, guns don't kill people. Desperate people kill people.
    So, what do you think guns do? Make funny noises? Guess what - guns kill people, that's what they made for. Sorry, correction: guns _only_ made to kill.

    And while I agree that videogames have nothing to do with murder, guns (the real ones) are very related. And yes, military training is also related.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    Bored people kill people too. Thus COD works as a preventative.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re:

    I guess you've never heard of hunting...or target shooting...or skeet shooting...or Olympic competition...or collecting...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re:

    No, guns do nothing until they are picked up by a PERSON. If that person points the gun at someone and pulls the trigger, guess what? The gun STILL DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. That's like saying hammers build houses or spoons feed people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re:

    As a responsible gun owner I have trained my gun to not go out on it's own and kill people.I also keep it on a leash.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 5:00pm

    This made me remember a retort i came up with when i was younger " If video games makes you as violent as you say then why haven't i shot anybody yet?". I know its flawed but boy, did that work. Never heard a pip from my parents about how violent games can be.

     

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  17.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

    Guns

    Guns are an enabling tool that has been shown to alter the owners behavior.

    Ask yourself if you feel safer with your gun? Do you feel less same or odd without it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 7:03pm

    You know what else they all had in common? They all drank water at some point in their lives. Clearly, we need to strictly regulate water access. For the children.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Arioch (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 9:06pm

    Re:

    Being somewhat of the "older persuasion" I do actually remember queuing up in the pub to play the original "pong" game.
    I graduated from that to "Space Invaders" and then onward via Defender/Galaxians, etc etc to wolfenstein 3D on my Dos 6.2 computer (I fondly remember dosshell). Since then, as technology has advanced, like many other people I have played more and more realistic,violent video games.
    While I still enjoy playing "legacy" games such as various versions of Quake/Doom/Halo/Wolfenstein/Call of Duty, I also enjoy playing many of the more recent games like Far Cry/Crysis and such.
    Despite many years of being exposed to this virtual violence there has not been a single instance where this has spilled into my RL, I've never shot anybody, punched and kicked them unconscious, or indeed even thought about it.
    I've had many attempts at Microsoft's Flight Simulator and the only conclusion I have drawn from that is I cannot fly a plane.

    Seriously, computer games are exactly what they say on the tin - a game.
    If you cannot differentiate between real life and a computer game then you are either sadly missing some mental faculties, or you are a politician (possibly both)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 27th, 2013 @ 12:51am

    " a parody article by The Guardian"

    I'm not sure why people bother writing parody articles on certain subject. Eventually you get the same problem The Onion seems to have with the hardcore right wingers in the US - no matter how ridiculous the idea they come up with, some real politician will suggest something even more ridiculous and be totally serious about it.

     

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  21.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 27th, 2013 @ 12:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't want to turn this into a gun thread, but all of those things essentially come from the gun's creation as a tool for killing.

    Sure, some people are choosing to stick them in a case in a collection, or only use them to shoot inanimate objects, but their primary design function is to fire a projectile to cause damage that will most likely be fatal to a living being. You can dress it up all you want, but that's reality - even the use of a gun as a deterrent without intending to use it only gets it effectiveness because the potential criminal who sees it knows it can kill.

    Oh, and if you're trying to refute the idea that guns are made to kill, you might want to find a better example than hunting (i.e. killing animals). Just saying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 27th, 2013 @ 4:11am

    So now we know what is the cause of piracy! It's obviously the anti-piracy studies! And I thought Google was the root of all evil =/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    James, Sep 27th, 2013 @ 5:50am

    Look in the mirror, maybe?

    I went to your schools, I went to your churches,
    I went to your institutional learning facilities?! So how can you say I'm crazy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Sep 27th, 2013 @ 6:10am

    Re: Guns

    Do you feel less same or odd without it?

    Do you feel naked or odd without it?

    FIFY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Mikael (profile), Oct 4th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re:

    OMG this changes EVERYTHING! All of those innocent people in prison there for shooting people...they didn't do it! Their guns were responsible, not them!....

    /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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