Join 3,436 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Video game violence decreasing children commiting violent crimes
August 9, 2005 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Video game violence has been leading to less violent crimes in children. Does that mean Jack Thompson should have read the leading causes of crime (pdf) first?
posted by cleverusername (34 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: self-link, banned



 
This has shown to me to be the best argument against the anti-video game violence advocates.
posted by cleverusername at 10:07 AM on August 9, 2005


Video games dont kill people, people kill people.
posted by MrLint at 10:15 AM on August 9, 2005


Wait, wait, wait. Show me where in this article is says that video game violence has been leading to less violent crimes in children. (I assume, btw, that you mean fewer violent crimes, as opposed to crimes that are less violent.) It shows that, in the time of video games' ascendency, the rate of violent crimes has dropped. That tells us nothing about one leading to the other.

I just wonder if the people who jump into video-game-violence thread with their eyes ablaze about bad science are just going to remain demurely quiet about this bit of "proof."
posted by argybarg at 10:15 AM on August 9, 2005


Is there any actual proof that video games cause people to kill? Since the people ranting about video games leading to violence obviously aren't using high quality information, wouldn't this be a legitimate response? Fighting fire with fire and all that.
posted by aburd at 10:22 AM on August 9, 2005


I can't say for others but after a session playing Grand Theft and I go out driving, I have to remind myself constantly that I can't just ram that bastard who just cut me off.

Or that I can't just mob my car around corners on the sidewalks. Or that I can go and get my car sprayed and all of a sudden the cops can't recognize me.

Does video game sex lead to less promiscuity in teens? Is the Hot Coffee mod really just a way to reduce the amount of teen sex? Is Rockstar really just doing their part to help make the world a better place by allowing pixelated fantasy relief for violent and sexual urges? Nah, probably not but I still love to play my games anyway.
posted by fenriq at 10:28 AM on August 9, 2005


The V-Chip is on hand to protect kids from Christina Aguilera videos.

Yes, but who's going to protect adults from Christina Aguilera videos?
posted by Slothrup at 10:29 AM on August 9, 2005


Jack Thompson needs to quit undressing the children in The Sims 2.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:29 AM on August 9, 2005


I can't say for others but after a session playing Grand Theft and I go out driving, I have to remind myself constantly that I can't just ram that bastard who just cut me off.

There was a time in college when I had been playing a bit too much of one of the King's Quest games. On one occaision, I was going to turn in some homework at midnight in a building where the stairs going up from the ground floor were not connected to the stairs going down, despite being in the same stairwell [1]. I remember being very tired, and wondering how hard it would be to jump from one set of stairs to the other. My next thought was "failing would be bad, because I'd fall down two stories and die, and then I'd have to restore from a saved game." Fortunately, I realized my error in time...


[1] I imagine they do this so that, when evacuating a building, you don't accidentally miss the ground floor.
posted by Slothrup at 10:34 AM on August 9, 2005


Correlation implies causation, eh?
posted by smackfu at 10:34 AM on August 9, 2005


aburd, my argument is that the evidence is weak on both sides.

Here's a blasphemous argument: Perhaps this isn't an issue for science and evidence to settle. Perhaps reason, observation, anecdotal information and careful value judgments are, you know, not entirely worthless.
posted by argybarg at 10:40 AM on August 9, 2005


Sure, video games may promote violence in children, but let's not forget that they teach defensive tactics as well. For example, whenever a GTA-addled youth comes after me with a tire iron, I just engrave "Elbereth" on the ground. Works wonders.
posted by aparrish at 10:43 AM on August 9, 2005


Post hoc, ergo propter hoc, eh?
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:49 AM on August 9, 2005


Part of my grad school duties for my supervisor was doing research on video games. Guess what - there are as many studies saying video games cause aggression as there are studies saying that there isn't enough data to support the theory. Which is a far cry (I think) from saying that there is no data to support it.

The studies that advocate the "video games cause violence" theory are mostly all scientifically credible, using a variety of techniques to measure aggression in children who play games, and mostly all of them show that video games can increase aggressiveness in some children some times. However, it is still debatable on how long this rise in aggression lasts for, as well as the effects of repeated exposure.

I can't help but think that this post is more agenda-filter. Sure, I don't think that you can make a direct cause/effect link between playing violent video games and acting violently, but at the same time I am not ready to dismiss this theory outright, as I do believe it can be a factor.
posted by Quartermass at 10:51 AM on August 9, 2005


Well, then what about self-inflicted video game violence/death?
posted by Blue Buddha at 11:15 AM on August 9, 2005


of those numbers people, here they are: The ten-year period between 1992 and 2002 yielded a 66% decline of violent crime committed by children ages 10 to 17. That's almost twice the rate of decrease of violent crime among Americans in general, which only yielded a 35% decline. It hardly seems gaming has transformed our children into the violent little devils some might have you believe.

Well, I stopped reading at this point. Is this the evidence? There was a bit of an economic boom in those days, you know, which reduces crime across the board.

Violent video games can cause aggression, that is, if you make sure to measure aggression less then an hour after the game was played.

At least, that's what I was told when I worked (as a programmer) on a huge study of video game violence at Iowa State. Programmers were recruited to manage people as they ran through the experiment, and there was a huge sense of urgency instilled in us by the researchers.

I never did find out what the results were.

---

Also, video games do cause your brain to change the way it operates. After playing games like Jet Set Radio I constantly think about jumping on to and "grinding" just about every railing I see.

But does that altered thinking produce altered behavior? I doubt it.

And the question isn't whether or not it makes you more aggressive the question is whether or not it makes you less humane in the long term. There's a pretty big difference.

Aggression doesn't harm anyone if it's controlled.
posted by delmoi at 11:22 AM on August 9, 2005


Jack Thompson's dark secret.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:27 AM on August 9, 2005


The Freakonomics argument is that the sudden legalization in abortion in the early 70's is directly responsible for the plummeting crime and violence rates of the 90's and beyond. It's rather compellingly argued...among other things, states that legalized two years early have a matching plummet two years early as well, and when Romania did the exact opposite in '66 (suddenly banned abortion), they had an opposite experience for crime about 20 years later.

The basic idea is that mothers know when they won't be able to raise a child in a healthy environment.

(Please don't inject the morality debate in here. We're simply discussing causes.)
posted by effugas at 11:39 AM on August 9, 2005


The law has indicated that a vision test is required to drive a car. Parhaps a test can be designed to protect those who cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality.
posted by mouthnoize at 11:40 AM on August 9, 2005


"that mysterious Xbox is a den of inequity"

But is it the ones oppressing the zeroes, or the other way around?
posted by nickmark at 11:51 AM on August 9, 2005


Since, of course, there was no youth violence before video games were invented.

I had intended to use Lizzy Borden as an example, but it turns out she was in her 30s when she allegedly hacked up her parents. She was, by the way, acquitted. In any event, she did not play video games.
posted by ilsa at 11:53 AM on August 9, 2005


Social conservatives have long been trying to engineer society by suppressing non-prefered behaviors.

Fantasy, a difficult world to regulate, has long been hated by those who try to regulate behavior.

Recent studies suggest that participation in fantasy activities of various kinds increases tolerance of physical pain, responsible sexual activity, and increases anxiety tolerance.

Or we could just pray. sadly, recent studies also suggest that prayer is not helpful.
posted by ewkpates at 11:53 AM on August 9, 2005


Jack Thompson needs to get his head out of his ass and quit bugging people like Scott Ransoomair (can he even sue a Canadian?)
posted by wakko at 12:04 PM on August 9, 2005


Video games do kill people...

S. Korean man dies after 50 hours of computer games
Aug 9, 1:11 PM (ET)


SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean man who played computer games for 50 hours almost non-stop died of heart failure minutes after finishing his mammoth session in an Internet cafe, authorities said Tuesday.

The 28-year-old man, identified only by his family name Lee, had been playing on-line battle simulation games at the cybercafe in the southeastern city of Taegu, police said.

Lee had planted himself in front of a computer monitor to play on-line games on Aug. 3. He only left the spot over the next three days to go to the toilet and take brief naps on a makeshift bed, they said.

"We presume the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion," a Taegu provincial police official said by telephone.

Lee had recently quit his job to spend more time playing games, the daily JoongAng Ilbo reported after interviewing former work colleagues and staff at the Internet cafe.

After he failed to return home, Lee's mother asked his former colleagues to find him. When they reached the cafe, Lee said he would finish the game and then go home, the paper reported.

He died a few minutes later, it said.

South Korea, one of the most wired countries in the world, has a large and highly developed game industry.
posted by nyc stories at 12:05 PM on August 9, 2005


Way to read the thread, nyc. And delmoi, that's when I stopped reading the article too, and I had exactly the same thought. But really, I lost my respect for it when they said "CDs burn at 451 degrees, too."
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:22 PM on August 9, 2005


1up.com did a very similar article except it had graphs and stuff from the dept. of justice. I think the articles made it. Unfortunately, 1up.com has stopped playing nice with my connection.
posted by Navek Rednam at 1:11 PM on August 9, 2005


I can't say for others but after a session playing Grand Theft and I go out driving, I have to remind myself constantly that I can't just ram that bastard who just cut me off.

But by the same token, I remember some years ago I found myself whiling away many hours on trains with no entertainment save Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. Though I managed not to murder anyone, the book's character really got into my head, and it took at least a day before my compulsive feelings of aggression disappeared.

I don't think video games should be singled out as having a bad influence on people, which is to say, I don't think anything should be.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 1:29 PM on August 9, 2005


This article makes the same point, but with less spin and more data.
posted by gemmy at 2:18 PM on August 9, 2005


I've found that Mario Kart 64 & Mario Kart: Double Dash! have the most negative effects on my driving. After playing them, I am constantly thinking about hurling turtle shells and running people off the road.
posted by papakwanz at 2:43 PM on August 9, 2005


fact - violence in video games is becomming more and more realistic.
fact - more and more children and adults are playing video games, including but not limited to violent video games.
fact- crime among all age groups in all places and of all types (property crime/violent crime/etc) in the united states is in decline and are reaching the levels we saw 40 years ago.

i don't think one causes the other. i don't think the two are even correlated. I DO think its telling that crime continues to fall despite the rise of violent entertainment. Mrs Clinton may sit on a nail encrusted fun pole.

here is a good article on what MAY actually be causing the decline in crime. ABORTIONWTFBBQ?!
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:29 PM on August 9, 2005


I can't say for others but after a session playing Grand Theft and I go out driving, I have to remind myself constantly that I can't just ram that bastard who just cut me off.

Perhaps, but the feeling is much stronger for me after I make a trip to Kart Kountry. It takes a great deal of willpower not to spin out the other drivers.

Teenagers drive go-karts at Kart Kountry for hours at a time ... then drive home. There are much, much, much bigger things to worry about than violent video games.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:57 PM on August 9, 2005


Football and the bully jocks it creates in high school halls would seem to me to lead to more violence than video games.
posted by tio2d at 8:42 PM on August 9, 2005


citizen premier: But really, I lost my respect for it when they said "CDs burn at 451 degrees, too."

Way to read the article, Citizen Premier. The sentence directly following that one is "At least that's what the manual from my Congressman's office said." He ends the article with the statement, "I really don't want to know at what temperature CDs really burn."

I believe the author's citing of declining crime statistics is merely to prove by contradiction that the claims of Thompson and Clinton are wrong.
posted by ddf at 9:49 PM on August 9, 2005


What do you call two strawmen fighting?
posted by HTuttle at 11:22 PM on August 9, 2005


MORTAL KOMBAT!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:18 PM on August 10, 2005


« Older "..there is not, and has not been, a state of war ...  |  "I think my beliefs had change... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments