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MMR: The Bully Conundrum

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October 23, 2006 11:07:49 AM

Rockstar Games has replaced Grand Theft Auto's guns, drugs and murderous mayhem with slingshots, dodge balls and teenage mischief in Bully. And the game even encourages players to go to class! Yet Bully is still under fire from critics and anti-gaming activists. Here's why.

More about : mmr bully conundrum

October 23, 2006 12:25:02 PM

Link doesnt work for me.
October 23, 2006 3:19:50 PM

I'd have to say that article is very well written. :D 

Beyond hypocrisy i can't imagine any valid reason to single out the Bully game for banning/criticism/etc.
October 23, 2006 4:35:35 PM

The real REAL reason why the game is being attacked?
Simple.
it's called Bully.
Most people think it's about bullying.
Most people = stupid.
October 23, 2006 4:49:08 PM

Has anyone here played the game yet? I spent the weekend playing it, and I have to say that while you can pull some malicious pranks -- sniping football players from a tree with a slingshot, for example -- the game's premise is pretty much based on standing up to bullies and defending geeks and other types of students that frequently tormented. I also think the game is pretty excellent. It's funny, it's exciting, and it's got some shrewed social commentary. It's far from perfect -- there's corny dialogue and silly side missions, but what game doesn't have those elements these days? -- but Bully is still one of the better games I've played recently.
October 23, 2006 8:34:17 PM

I think all this attention is due to a basic human reaction of if you don’t understand it get rid of it. I remember when my family got a vcr, my dad didn’t like it at all. He didn’t want to use it nor wanted to attempt to learn how to use it. Eventually after several years we got him used to it. Then DVDs came out same thing there but we got him up to speed, but it was like pulling teeth to get it done.

I don’t like to drag religion in to this but heck the pope didn’t like it too much when someone said "hey I don’t think the world is flat and I don’t think everything revolves around it."

It only took a few hundred years for them to say sorry. They didn’t like the idea because it didn’t align with what they thought at the time.

Then you have Socrates who died because he wanted people to simply question what they were told, not just believe everything they were told.

People don’t like things to change a lot, so when anything comes up that threatens change in a way they don’t like, those who don’t like it will fight to keep things as they are.

I guess in some way these games are too much of a change for some.
October 23, 2006 9:17:21 PM

I really hate Jack Thompson. The man is completely devoid of the fact that responsibility lies with parents. If you don't want your kid to play the game, don't buy him/her the game.

And video games make people kill other people like a spoon makes people get fat.
October 23, 2006 10:11:30 PM

Nice. I am a totally non-violent person, but I absolutely love a good old-fashioned violent game every now and then! It has absolutely nothing to do with actual violence. It's a game and nothing more.

That issue aside, Bully actually sounds like it's teaching a lesson that I would want my kids to hear (if I had kids). I wouldn't want my kids to never stand up for themselves if they were being picked on at school.
October 24, 2006 12:12:51 AM

If you guys hate Jack Thompson, then you'll be happy to hear that Take Two's lawyers have filed a motion for Thompson to be held in contempt of court for his outbursts in court and criticisms of the judge in the Bully case. Check it out:
http://www.twitchguru.com/blog/2006/10/take-two-lawyers...
October 24, 2006 2:00:10 AM

I actually emailed Jack during one of the GTA debacles. The guy is completely blinded by his hatred. He has no sense of the real world anymore (if he ever did).

I told him how the game is what it is and unless you are mentally unstable it won't have a negative impact. He said for the most part that he agreed, but he felt it was his duty to keep software like this off the shelves to prevent "the few" from corrupting "the many". Hum, sounds kinda like gun laws doesn't it?

I also told him I thought it was the parents responsibility to monitor what their kids play. He agreed, and apperantly he must be EVERY kids parent; he said "Why the Hell do you think I'm doing this?"

The guy is crazy. He should stop attacking and sueing every company with a violent game, and start supporting parent awareness groups instead. He'd get more done, but I guess he might go broke doing that.
October 24, 2006 9:49:24 AM

Quote:
Rockstar Games has replaced Grand Theft Auto's guns, drugs and murderous mayhem with slingshots, dodge balls and teenage mischief in Bully. And the game even encourages players to go to class! Yet Bully is still under fire from critics and anti-gaming activists. Here's why.


I'm not too sure what is there to debate. To be it's obvious that Rockstar Games has had the explicit strategy here to make Bully a controversial title in the public's eye, and then pulling a fast one on all of us by making it a potentially worthwhile game.

Cudos to them in the advertising department, and it puts some emphasis on the fact that in order to judge something, you have to have a look at the gaming experience first.

The only thing I don't approve of really is that a lot of arguments of activists do carry some merit and they should not be ignored, instead those issues should be debated in public.
October 24, 2006 1:21:13 PM

Quote:
The only thing I don't approve of really is that a lot of arguments of activists do carry some merit and they should not be ignored, instead those issues should be debated in public.

I have found myself thinking just that, if I were not a gamer what would I think of violent video games. As a gamer I know that violent games like San Andreas don’t make me want to go out there and kill people. But of course people who have not experienced what I have will disagree.

I have had a very free upbringing with a mother that did not care what I did or what I watched. I was watching 18 rated movies at the age of about 13 with Hell Raiser being that first movie. I even got Grand Theft Auto for the Play Station when it was first released, would have been 14/15 back then.

But you don’t see me wanting to kill anyone. I am not a reject of society that sponges off the nation, I have my own car, rent my own flat and pay all the tax that is required of me. I just believe you cant make a bad person out of a violent game you just get all the bad people playing violent video games as a release for what they feel like doing.
October 25, 2006 2:40:11 AM

I think the article was actually very well done, but it missed the point. Our culture in the United States has become very coarse and in general, is in serious decline. Now watching violent movie, listening to explicit lyrics, playing grand theft auto etc is not going to turn an otherwise healthy person into a mindless axe murderering prostitute. That said, I think we are kidding ourselves if we did not own up to the fact that pop culture sure is not doing what culture has traditionally done: reinforce positive social values. Culture does not simply reflect real life, there is a very real interaction with social norms.

It is no accident that by almost every metric, teen pregnancy rates, STDs, drug use, murder rate, divorce rate, flagging academic performance, spouse abuse etc we are in decline. I am not saying that there is not room for violence, sex and edgy stuff. But when almost every aspect of the entertainment industry hinges around questionable sex, violence, drug use, foul language, unethical behaviour etc, and all in the name of making money - we have a problem.

Sadly, Hollywood, the cable networks, the gaming industry and certainly the music industry have all pretty much ignored taking any responsibility for providing reasonable content unless some lawyer like Thompson threatens their bottom line. I really detest lawyers. But if the alternative is that mainstream culture will be determined by Paris Hilton, Snoop Dog, and "Tony Montana" - then my vote is for the lawyers to file away!
October 25, 2006 6:25:47 AM

Quote:
I think the article was actually very well done, but it missed the point.


I'm missing your point as well, and I'm wondering whether you actually read the article. The point of the article being, that it is a lot of fuss about nothing, it's a marketing gimmick and the game itself is actually somewhat enjoyable.

Hardly a good startup for a discussion about how how society is in decline, which is (almost by definition) an ill defined statement. At the very least it is a rather colored statement with regard to how you perceive history. It would help if you could start with pointing out since when society is in decline, in your opinion.
October 25, 2006 6:39:07 AM

Quote:

But you don’t see me wanting to kill anyone.


You're making a mistake I see a lot of people making when getting into this kind of debate. Very simply, how you turned out is irrelevant to the discussion. Discussing whether games are good or bad for one's health is a discussion about public health. So you need to look at it in terms of populations, susceptability and probabilities. How much damage will be done to society because of.... (fill in your favorite "decline of society" symptom, just to stitch this discussion to that post of Busto923) and is it worth it taking precautions by legislature. Maybe we're just talking about 10% of the population that is susceptible to violent behavior, with just a subpercentage of that causing 90% of the damage.

Prohibition is not going to work (we saw it with alcohol, we see it with drugs, and it won't work with violent games or movies either) so it is rather a discussion about whether effective legislature is even possible in the context of "violent" entertainment.

Two elements in the "effective" container:
1) Would such measures actually lead to decrease of violence in society (and how much more violent is society nowadays if you compare it with, lets say 100 years ago)
2) Can such legislature be enforced effectively?
October 25, 2006 9:43:12 AM

Quote:
Two elements in the "effective" container:
1) Would such measures actually lead to decrease of violence in society (and how much more violent is society nowadays if you compare it with, lets say 100 years ago)
2) Can such legislature be enforced effectively?
You can ask the question, is society more violent at all. After all in the last 100 years you will find two world wars and far too many genocides to bare thinking of. Violence has been a part of our human nature since our creation, but you have to ask what causes violence in this age in history? Hatred of something causes violence, jealousy causes violence and repression also causes violence. The thing you have to ask is, does violent video games cause or bring out the violence in people.

The nature of a video game is to immerse you in an environment that you enjoy and can have fun in. Every game you will buy today will shoot for that goal, even violent ones. People play games like Grand Theft Auto to get involved with drug deals and high-speed car chases with the Police or the Russian Mafia. But the game can also offer (people who wish to do so) the ability to do some horrible things.

The question I am trying to ask is that if games are just made for an escape of reality, how can they possibly influence people to do bad things? Surely the people who do these things would do them anyway, maybe even sooner if it were not for the games. Things like school shootings happen all over the world. The Dunblane School massacre that got all firearms outlawed in the UK, the shoot out in the Russian primary school last year and not to forget the many horrible shootings that seem to happen in American schools.

Also if they did prove that it was violent video games that were actually warping the minds of people that played the games. It would still be impossible to ban since the Internet has everything.
October 25, 2006 11:40:17 AM

Quote:
You can ask the question, is society more violent at all. After all in the last 100 years you will find two world wars and far too many genocides to bare thinking of.

This is exactly what I was hinting at. Not the world wars specifically but it is pretty obvious that human society has been pretty violent throughout known history.

Quote:
The question I am trying to ask is that if games are just made for an escape of reality, how can they possibly influence people to do bad things?

It's not just about how such games might manipulate people into violent acts, it is much more to do with inadvertently reducing personal inhibitions that normally would block out primitive urges. It's the same with alcohol for instance. People start to do crazy stuf, that they normally would reject doing but their inhibitions are lowered. As such games might have a similar effect (but this should be established through scientific means).

Quote:
Also if they did prove that it was violent video games that were actually warping the minds of people that played the games. It would still be impossible to ban since the Internet has everything.

That is what the effective legislature bit is about.
October 25, 2006 2:35:25 PM

Quote:
I'm missing your point as well, and I'm wondering whether you actually read the article. The point of the article being, that it is a lot of fuss about nothing, it's a marketing gimmick and the game itself is actually somewhat enjoyable.

Hardly a good startup for a discussion about how how society is in decline, which is (almost by definition) an ill defined statement. At the very least it is a rather colored statement with regard to how you perceive history. It would help if you could start with pointing out since when society is in decline, in your opinion.


I read the article, clearly you did not read my post. My point was that our culture is in decline and that this game, as symptomatic of the gaming industry along with other elements of the entertainment industry, is not helping to move culture in a positive direction. Further, you have demonstrated no understanding of the topic to offer critical discourse. 8O

Webster defines: Culture – the ideas, customs, skills, arts etc of a given people … Do some research and you will find that my "perception of history" is spot on - our society is demonstrably worse off today. I stated:

Quote:
“It is no accident that by almost every metric, teen pregnancy rates, STDs, drug use, murder rate, divorce rate, flagging academic performance, spouse abuse etc we are in decline. I am not saying that there is not room for violence, sex and edgy stuff. But when almost every aspect of the entertainment industry hinges around questionable sex, violence, drug use, foul language, unethical behaviour etc, and all in the name of making money - we have a problem.”


You have to be kidding yourself if you think that things are okay, or that we are just going through a rough patch. Have you ever actually looked at violent crime statistics for the US? In 1960 there were 160.9 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In 2005 the rate was 469.2; an improvement from the 1992 peak of 757.5, but still almost three times as bad as in 1960. Are you aware that the national graduation rate for the public school class of 2000 was 69% - that is 31 out of every 100 students did not graduate? The US teenage pregnancy rate is twice that of Canada and the UK and almost eight times higher than Japan and the Netherlands! Have you looked at our infant mortality rate, children borne to unwed mothers, drug use statistics, criminal incarceration rates etc? Have you compared these statistics through the years, as well as compared them to other first world nations? Our culture has clearly frayed.

Now look at pop culture in 1960, 1990 and today. There is a fair correlation between societal ills and the redefinement of cultural norms made by the entertainment industry over the same period. Teenage girls did not call each other b*&#$ in 1960 as a matter of routine. Pop culture sure changed that and I am not impressed. And the entire entertainment industry, including the game companies, has not responded positively to try and help reverse the decline.
October 25, 2006 2:50:28 PM

Quote:
You can ask the question, is society more violent at all. After all in the last 100 years you will find two world wars and far too many genocides to bare thinking of.


This is a great point, but there is a difference between organized violence between societies (war), and violence inside a society (crime). In the US, we have experienced a significant increase in the latter from the previous century.

I have a good friend who was priest in Spain who lamented that by 1995, most homocides in the US were committed between people who did not know each other. He contrasted this with Spain, and earlier periods in the US were homocides were crimes of passion between people who knew each other (e.g. husband comes home to find the wife sleeping with another guy). He thought that the crime of passion, was horrible, and wrong, but understandable in human terms, but that killing a stranger was dispassionate and almost inhuman. He compared it to the actions of a soldier at war, but without the moral context.
October 25, 2006 3:54:53 PM

Quote:
I read the article, clearly you did not read my post. My point was that our culture is in decline and that this game, as symptomatic of the gaming industry along with other elements of the entertainment industry, is not helping to move culture in a positive direction. Further, you have demonstrated no understanding of the topic to offer critical discourse. 8O


First of all, I did not realize you meant your culture in as limited a way as the national culture of the USA (if there is such a thing). Personally I was thinking western/modern world/first world culture, as I'm not from the US, but I'm from the Netherlands. We (westerners) all play games, watch movies and enjoy similar entertainment.

Secondly, if your only link from Rob's article to this debate is based on a game you think is not a highlight of modern culture then you must agree that you're just looking to shoot your rocks off, and you're not looking to debate the article itself (which is what this topic was intended for). There is plenty of more ammunition with regard to Hollywood's latest and greatest gore, than this particular game (if you really have read the article about Bully then surely you agree?).

Quote:
“It is no accident that by almost every metric, teen pregnancy rates, STDs, drug use, murder rate, divorce rate, flagging academic performance, spouse abuse etc we are in decline. I am not saying that there is not room for violence, sex and edgy stuff. But when almost every aspect of the entertainment industry hinges around questionable sex, violence, drug use, foul language, unethical behaviour etc, and all in the name of making money - we have a problem.”


Now I'm not disagreeing with you that (if what you state is actually true, and as I have no data at my disposal right now to prove the contrary, and I'm perfectly willing to play along with your assumptions without obliging you to cough up your sources) judging by the metrics you give in your post, those trends are worrysome to say the least. I'm sure it will also be possible to cough up a number of metrics that show a better picture.

However my point being if you want to judge the merits of a culture by just negative metrics and not by noteworthy accomplishments, then you will always sound like an old fart saying "life used to be better". Remarkable isnt it, that EVERY generation has many people around saying just that, even the generation that went through 2 world wars.

Quote:
You have to be kidding yourself if you think that things are okay, or that we are just going through a rough patch.


Actually, if you increase the scale of your time horizon somewhat then there's a lot more evidence to be found that will show we're "just" going through a rough patch, instead of a irreversible decline. Again, my perspective is not US limited, it's a democratic western culture perspective. And lets not confuse culture with world politics and world domination, although there are obvious correlations to be made (in terms of being succesful, etc).
October 25, 2006 7:40:33 PM

Quote:
First of all, I did not realize you meant your culture in as limited a way as the national culture of the USA (if there is such a thing). Personally I was thinking western/modern world/first world culture, as I'm not from the US, but I'm from the Netherlands. We (westerners) all play games, watch movies and enjoy similar entertainment.

Secondly, if your only link from Rob's article to this debate is based on a game you think is not a highlight of modern culture then you must agree that you're just looking to shoot your rocks off, and you're not looking to debate the article itself (which is what this topic was intended for).


Over a third of the article focuses on the legal ruling of a Florida state judge and the accompanying aftermath, along with references to film and other genres. While it did address reaction from various world-wide audiences, the article was clearly focused on the US. Putting the principal critics point of view (Thompson) in context is totally germane. :roll:

Quote:
However my point being if you want to judge the merits of a culture by just negative metrics and not by noteworthy accomplishments, then you will always sound like an old fart saying "life used to be better".


I am an old fart, and do agree with your point, but offer a major caveat. If people in a culture accept violence as a means of successful social interaction, tolerate rampant drug use, and willing subordinate their culture – that is the values that have made them great, then the noteworthy accomplishments do not mean much.

Quote:
Now I'm not disagreeing with you that (if what you state is actually true, and as I have no data at my disposal right now to prove the contrary, and I'm perfectly willing to play along with your assumptions without obliging you to cough up your sources) judging by the metrics you give in your post, those trends are worrysome to say the least.


No joke these trends are worrysome. The numbers are right, hence the frustration of a lot of people like Thompson with the entertainment industry (including game companies) and the "we're not responsible attitude".

Quote:
Actually, if you increase the scale of your time horizon somewhat then there's a lot more evidence to be found that will show we're "just" going through a rough patch, instead of a irreversible decline.


As a counterpoint: in 1965, 24 percent of black infants were born to single mothers. By 1990 the rate rose to 64 percent according to the Brookings Institute. Today, forty-three percent of black pregnancies end in abortion, and nearly 70 percent of all black children are born out-of-wedlock according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute. The impact on poverty, crime, and human suffering is unbelievable. Almost 50% of US prison inmates are Black. It did not used to be this way, African American society was every bit as moral as the rest of America, perhaps in some ways more so. What happened is that African American social norms have all but collapsed. Like I said, this is not a rough patch, we are looking at serious trouble, because mainstream US culture is headed in the same direction and with equally dire consequences.
October 26, 2006 2:29:20 AM

As you pointed out (and I actually looked up on my own several months ago) we are actually experiencing a decline in violent crime since 1994. A rather significant decline.

1994 was the year that the first popular violent first person shooter hit the market. Since that point violent crime has been in notable decline and shrinking fairly steadily. Blaming violent crime on violent video games just makes no sense from the statistical angle that many like you try to use. If anything using the same correlation argument, it looks like violent video games are causing violent crime to diminish.

I would say what we are experiencing is less of a decline and more of a rise after a long and violent fall. At least as far as violent crime is concerned.

Sexual crimes are also on a sharp decline on basically the same timetable.

That leaves teen pregnancy, drug use, and poverty.

Honestly I would say the first two are indicative of the last of those rather than some other cause and they just happen to exacerbate the problem there.

I will never condone blanket restrictions of entertainment mediums no matter the reason. Age restrictions I can understand and agree with, but banning is going too far. I may not enjoy games like GTA and consider them to be tasteless and stupid, but I will never call for them to be banned or made illegal.

Yes I think something should be done about violent crimes but censoring our entertainment is NOT the way to fix it. There are other, more effective methods that can be used, like programs designed to ACTUALLY rehabilitate inmates and getting rid of public access to criminal records which is directly linked to high recidivism rates due to inability to obtain worthwhile employment.

Going after scapegoats is just pointless. Fix the REAL problems and the rest will take care of itself.
October 26, 2006 11:33:56 AM

Quote:
You have to be kidding yourself if you think that things are okay, or that we are just going through a rough patch. Have you ever actually looked at violent crime statistics for the US? In 1960 there were 160.9 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In 2005 the rate was 469.2; an improvement from the 1992 peak of 757.5, but still almost three times as bad as in 1960. Are you aware that the national graduation rate for the public school class of 2000 was 69% - that is 31 out of every 100 students did not graduate? The US teenage pregnancy rate is twice that of Canada and the UK and almost eight times higher than Japan and the Netherlands! Have you looked at our infant mortality rate, children borne to unwed mothers, drug use statistics, criminal incarceration rates etc? Have you compared these statistics through the years, as well as compared them to other first world nations? Our culture has clearly frayed.


So you're saying that culturally the US is doing much worse than, say, Canada, the UK and the Netherlands?

Er, this might come as a shock to you, but those countries aren't living in the dark ages. We have Grand Theft Auto in Britain too, you know.

Congratulation on disproving your own argument. :trophy:

The problem with the US has nothing to do with the entertainment industry. If I had to put my finger on it, I'd suggest that maybe it's due to mass dienfranchisement. The gap between rich and poor in America is one of the widest in the developed world. Voter apathy is at a high, with the US having one of the worst election turnouts of any Western democracy. There are whole socio-economic groups who feel totally disenfranchises by the "culture" that they're supposed to admire. This is why America is violent - not watching "Die Hard" one too many times.

The whole debacle would be laughable if it wasn't so sinister. The feeble attempt to make the entertainment industry a scapegoat for widespread and prolonged failure of government smacks a little too much of Germany in 1936 for my liking. I'm just waiting for Thompson to claim that there are links between Rockstar and Al Qaeda. :roll:
October 26, 2006 3:28:13 PM

Quote:
As you pointed out (and I actually looked up on my own several months ago) we are actually experiencing a decline in violent crime since 1994. A rather significant decline.

1994 was the year that the first popular violent first person shooter hit the market. Since that point violent crime has been in notable decline and shrinking fairly steadily. Blaming violent crime on violent video games just makes no sense from the statistical angle that many like you try to use. If anything using the same correlation argument, it looks like violent video games are causing violent crime to diminish.


Again as an old fart (military retiree, and trained operations research analyst with federal law enforcement back ground), you are totally off base in your assessment. You are also misinterpreting those statistics:
1) You dramatically understate the long-term metric, which is that US society is still almost three times more violent than in 1960.
2) You are ignoring important variables that occurred in 1990s that have a much greater impact on lowering crime statistics such as the huge increase in the number of law enforcement officers in service (Bill Clinton’s 100,000 cops), the adoption of mandatory sentencing guidelines , three strikes and your out laws etc, which have put more criminals behind bars (a very good thing), but not truly diminished violence, nor addressed the $35,000 cost per inmate per year cost of keeping an inmate behind bars.
3) You ignore important factors like the absolute amazing US economy that roared in the mid 1990s and to date remains strong with an incredibly low unemployment rate (<5%). The economy and crime generally show a very strong, direct correlation.
4) You assume that the overall trend is downward, when in fact, there has been a 1.3% increase in the violent crime rate since 2004, and that future crime projection rates predict that the next two generations of juveniles will be significantly more violent based on demographics and criminal profiling. This is supported by appalling school graduation rates (69% in 2000), which predict long term poverty. Also, lot of those violent cons that were put behind bars in 1990s have served their sentences, and are coming back on the street.
5) You ignore the proliferation and effect of advance criminal investigative tools like DNA testing in improving prosecutions of violent criminals, and the reality that a lot of criminals have been apprehended by federal law enforcement as a result investigations into terrorism under expanded Patriot Act powers (wire taps). You ignore the effect of other technology such as the installation of metal detection equipment, alarm systems etc.
There are a lot of things that just did not happen in the 1950s and the 1960s, even in communities that were in utter abject, destitute poverty, that are commonplace today. Crime was not something mainstream America thought about, most people really did not lock their doors in 1960. Now, every body worries about crime. In 1960, it was almost unheard of to speak back to, let alone assault a police officer. Assaults on teachers were also unheard of – we had a teacher on the west side gang rapped by her 13 year old students this past summer. There are definitely “no go” areas now in most American cities where even law enforcement does not respond at night. That is something that unheard of previously and also has resulted on under reporting of crime due to intimidation.

Mass media has been advocating a powerful, self-reinforcing, counter culture message for a long time. Trying to pin violence and declining social values on the gaming industry, let alone a single game is ludicrous, but when you look at the social values promoted by mass media and the entertainment industry, of which gaming is a part, the picture is different. My point being that one song, game, movie will not do it, but continued exposure to violence, irresponsible sex, drugs, and a host of other questionable social behavior, on cable TV, in games, in music, at the movie theatre etc. over years of development do have an effect. Obviously, the effect is greater on people that have less support from family, but I guarantee there is an effect. The advertising industry isn’t a $2-300 billion dollar industry because the tens of millions of dollars spent on a thirty second TV ad don’t work. No guy wants to admit that he bought a car because the ads featured some hot babe in it, but the statistics tell us its true. Anyone with children will tell you how effective TV adds are at selling kids cereal. Our pop culture contines to promote violence, drug use, irresponsible sex and other behavior. Weapons training results in the military and law enforcement tell us its true.
October 26, 2006 4:04:41 PM

Quote:
As you pointed out (and I actually looked up on my own several months ago) we are actually experiencing a decline in violent crime since 1994. A rather significant decline.

1994 was the year that the first popular violent first person shooter hit the market. Since that point violent crime has been in notable decline and shrinking fairly steadily. Blaming violent crime on violent video games just makes no sense from the statistical angle that many like you try to use. If anything using the same correlation argument, it looks like violent video games are causing violent crime to diminish.


Again as an old fart (military retiree, and trained operations research analyst with federal law enforcement back ground), you are totally off base in your assessment. You are also misinterpreting those statistics:
1) You dramatically understate the long-term metric, which is that US society is still almost three times more violent than in 1960.
2) You are ignoring important variables that occurred in 1990s that have a much greater impact on lowering crime statistics such as the huge increase in the number of law enforcement officers in service (Bill Clinton’s 100,000 cops), the adoption of mandatory sentencing guidelines , three strikes and your out laws etc, which have put more criminals behind bars (a very good thing), but not truly diminished violence, nor addressed the $35,000 cost per inmate per year cost of keeping an inmate behind bars.
3) You ignore important factors like the absolute amazing US economy that roared in the mid 1990s and to date remains strong with an incredibly low unemployment rate (<5%). The economy and crime generally show a very strong, direct correlation.
4) You assume that the overall trend is downward, when in fact, there has been a 1.3% increase in the violent crime rate since 2004, and that future crime projection rates predict that the next two generations of juveniles will be significantly more violent based on demographics and criminal profiling. This is supported by appalling school graduation rates (69% in 2000), which predict long term poverty. Also, lot of those violent cons that were put behind bars in 1990s have served their sentences, and are coming back on the street.
5) You ignore the proliferation and effect of advance criminal investigative tools like DNA testing in improving prosecutions of violent criminals, and the reality that a lot of criminals have been apprehended by federal law enforcement as a result investigations into terrorism under expanded Patriot Act powers (wire taps). You ignore the effect of other technology such as the installation of metal detection equipment, alarm systems etc.


You are again providing proof to counter your position.

I was stressing the point I was making not because I actually think video games are the cause of the violent decline, but because that uses the same type of thinking and logic as saying that mass media is causing crime.

I say mass media is indicative of the culture rather than vice versa. If people were offended by sex out of wedlock and violence, then entertainment companies would not make money off of it.

As for economy, we just pulled out of a rather nasty recession or did you fail to notice. Unemployment rates were at 10 and 20 year highs for a few years straight back in the early 2000's

I have not seen statistics that show an overall increase in crime since 2004, but my sources might not be quite so recent. Also a 1.3% increase is nothing compared to how low it has dropped.

Also changing the message from mass media will not be an efficient way of changing the statistics in high school graduation. For that we need to focus on the schools and the penalties for failing to complete highschool. The American school system is an embarrassment. We desperately need to focus on and improve our methods and hold schools accountable for their failings not by restricting funding, but by removing incompetent administration.

As for criminals getting released, that needs to be addressed by how we handle criminals. First we need to close public access to criminal records. They should ONLY be available to courts during related trials or in the case of violent offenders, to cops when they are dealing with a suspect.

Countries with publicly available criminal records have high recidivism rates, countries with closed records have low recidivism rates. Why are we still keeping them public?

Also we need to have focused job training in prisons with the expressed goal of having a field available for the ex cons when they are released and effective job placement programs for them.

Targeting mass media and scuttling the first amendment and our country's freedoms is NOT the way to solve these problems. Once the REAL problems have been solved the rest will take care of itself. Focus on the actual problems not the symptoms.
October 26, 2006 4:17:11 PM

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The problem with the US has nothing to do with the entertainment industry. If I had to put my finger on it, I'd suggest that maybe it's due to mass dienfranchisement. The gap between rich and poor in America is one of the widest in the developed world. Voter apathy is at a high, with the US having one of the worst election turnouts of any Western democracy. There are whole socio-economic groups who feel totally disenfranchises by the "culture" that they're supposed to admire. This is why America is violent - not watching "Die Hard" one too many times.

The whole debacle would be laughable if it wasn't so sinister. The feeble attempt to make the entertainment industry a scapegoat for widespread and prolonged failure of government smacks a little too much of Germany in 1936 for my liking.


Wrong.

Having lived in an era of segregation, I can tell you that African Americans were the most disenfranchised groups in the US from before its founding, up through the 1960s, being first slaves, then unable exercise the right to vote, and not even being able to drink from the same fountains as whites. In spite of this, prior to 1960, there was no appreciable difference in violent crime rates amongst blacks and whites. Now, post segregation, when more African Americans are serving in the highest positions in our society, a black male is almost 8 times more likely to be murdered by the time he is 45 than a white male. This has nothing to do with simply having black skin, disenfranchisement, or any other liberal multicultural relativistic argument. It is because mainstream social norms (a key component of culture) in the African American community have disintegrated.

What is different now, as opposed to pre-1960, is that African American males are more likely to: 1) be born into a single parent home – 70% more likely (because of culture), 2) more likely to be born into poverty (result of being in a single parent home, again culture), 3) more likely to be involved with drugs (because of culture), 4) more likely to be in a gang (because of culture), 5) more likely to drop out of school (because of culture), 6) more likely to get arrested (because of gang involvement or culture), 7) more likely to not find a job (because he dropped out of culture), 8) more likely to sire additional children out of wedlock (because of culture).

It’s the change in culture that is responsible for this tragedy. And what is the message from popular African American culture to its youth? Obviously you don’t listen to hip-hop, watch movies, play games, read US magazines etc, because these venues glorify social ills and incourage youth to regect traditional values. Your argument is crap.
October 26, 2006 4:29:21 PM

You failed to provide any counter arguments by which you could accurately state that his argument is crap.

Just because of one instance where disenfranchisement did NOT lead to excessive violence and rebellion does not mean that it cannot be a major contributing factor now.

You are still pointing at the symptom (mass media) and declaring it to be the cause. This is inefficient, counter to the freedoms that any American should hold dear, and misguided.

If you want widespread censorship, move to a communist regime. I hear China is lovely. Is that what you want? Is that the kind of change you are clamoring for? That is NOT what our forefathers wanted, it is not what our soldiers died for (most of them anyway) and it is not what I, and I daresay most Americans, want now. Think about what you are calling for and what the cost and sacrifice of that would be. Think hard because those are not sacrifices I want to make when there are other, much more effective ways of dealing with the problem that do not cause us to lose our freedoms and rights.
October 26, 2006 4:57:59 PM

So anyway, back to Bully.....

Seriously, you guys are going in circles now. You're both making interesting points, but what does any of this have to do with a video game? Even if our popular culture is suffering from moral decay -- an argument that, to be sure, has been used for centuries since the written word was introduced -- is it right to attack a game like Bully which is significantly less violent than most action titles and actually features moral guidlines and lessons? And are games like this causing the moral decay or a reflection of it?
October 26, 2006 5:08:19 PM

Quote:
So anyway, back to Bully.....

Seriously, you guys are going in circles now. You're both making interesting points, but what does any of this have to do with a video game? Even if our popular culture is suffering from moral decay -- an argument that, to be sure, has been used for centuries since the written word was introduced -- is it right to attack a game like Bully which is significantly less violent than most action titles and actually features moral guidlines and lessons? And are games like this causing the moral decay or a reflection of it?


In a way, we were on topic. Since the topic was persecution of a specific video game, we just extrapolated out to the bigger picture. I don't really have much to say about the assault on bully in specific that does not apply the entertainment industry as a whole, which is still relevent. But its your article so how do you see the relationship? Do you see the battle for bully as indicative of a greater war or a seperate skirmish off to the side with entirely too many onlookers?
October 26, 2006 5:08:56 PM

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I say mass media is indicative of the culture rather than vice versa. If people were offended by sex out of wedlock and violence, then entertainment companies would not make money off of it.


This is the argument of the industry, but I strongly disagree with it which is why I used the advertising example. Do not underestimate the celebrity effect - a lot of people behave as weak-minded sheep. Example: nobody knew what cocaine was in the US until it became hip in Hollywood and NY. Then there was an entire news industry (e.g. the Smoking Times etc) that promoted getting high, along with the example set forth in movies, music etc that popular people got high. Ask a DEA, FBI or local NARC about the resurgence of heroin post Pulp Fiction…

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As for economy, we just pulled out of a rather nasty recession or did you fail to notice. Unemployment rates were at 10 and 20 year highs for a few years straight back in the early 2000's


You need to read the Wall Street Journal more. 8) Unemployment peaked at 5.9% in 2003, which is low compared to most European nations, and nothing compared to the 7.9% rate in 1992 and the 9.7% rate in 1982. It was a mild recession by US standards, followed some historic lows, and as someone who grew up in blue collar Cleveland, it was nothing compared to other recessions. Which admittedly is small comfort if it was your job that got axed.

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I have not seen statistics that show an overall increase in crime since 2004, but my sources might not be quite so recent. Also a 1.3% increase is nothing compared to how low it has dropped.


Nope, our violent crime rate is still almost three times worse than 1960 and prior.

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Also changing the message from mass media will not be an efficient way of changing the statistics in high school graduation. For that we need to focus on the schools and the penalties for failing to complete high school. The American school system is an embarrassment. We desperately need to focus on and improve our methods and hold schools accountable for their failings not by restricting funding, but by removing incompetent administration.


If you have a better idea, I am all ears …

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As for criminals getting released, that needs to be addressed by how we handle criminals. First we need to close public access to criminal records. They should ONLY be available to courts during related trials or in the case of violent offenders, to cops when they are dealing with a suspect.


Really? Do you want your school system hiring teachers, bus drivers, janitors etc to work around your children without being able to check and see if they were pedophiles? Shouldn’t a bank be able to find out if a job applicant has a history of petty theft? What about people running for public office? Isn’t it relevant that the clown running for county auditor has a history of fraud and income tax evasion? Do you think that violent felons should be allowed to be security guards or bouncers (jibe at the rape/murder case recently in the news)? Good people sometimes do really stupid things, but I think you are being very unfair to society by what you are proposing. The right answer is to deter someone from being a criminal in the first place.

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Countries with publicly available criminal records have high recidivism rates, countries with closed records have low recidivism rates. Why are we still keeping them public?


Because I want to know if my prospective next-door neighbor is a sexual predator before I make the largest single financial purchase of my life and buy a home.

Honestly, these sound like great ideas, but when you really think about them, they are not really valid (hint, Dad was a long standing member of the parole board). Again, the right answer is to deter someone from being a criminal in the first place.
October 26, 2006 5:21:04 PM

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If you want widespread censorship, move to a communist regime. I hear China is lovely. Is that what you want? Is that the kind of change you are clamoring for? That is NOT what our forefathers wanted, it is not what our soldiers died for (most of them anyway) and it is not what I, and I daresay most Americans, want now.


Censorship no, self restrain yes.

I am a retired vet, and will tell you straight to your face that fredom of speach means political freedom of speach, not the right for someone to do or say anything.

As for throwing the founding fathers into the fray - well they also believed in personal honor and were pretty dang religious. Many engaged in or were prepared to engage in duels. If you tried to shove some crap like grand theft auto at Patrick Henry, he probably would have had you tarred and feathered!
October 26, 2006 5:22:24 PM

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Your argument is crap.


I suppose you'll be telling me that the French Revolution was caused by a pamphlet? The Easter Uprising by a saucy postcard? Maybe the LA riots were actually due to a poster?

Oh maybe people become violent because of anger, fear, desperation and a feeling that society has nothing to offer them. Not by reading a book.


Oh, and for someone who enjoys harping on about "social decay", you might want to curb your language on an all-ages forum. Hypocrit.

[Edit: fixing code]
October 26, 2006 5:26:02 PM

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Many engaged in or were prepared to engage in duels.

That sounds quite violent. Or did they tickle each other? :roll:
October 26, 2006 5:36:17 PM

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But its your article so how do you see the relationship? Do you see the battle for bully as indicative of a greater war or a seperate skirmish off to the side with entirely too many onlookers?


I don't think it's a seperate skirmish by any means. I think the problem is that every now and then, a boogy man comes along in pop culture -- comic books, rock 'n roll, horror movies, punk rock, heavy metal, rap, violent action movies and now video games. Bully makes a good target because it's a Rockstar title and becuase it appears to be aimed at kids. Like I wrote in the article, we should spend more time figuring our why our social estbalishments in public schools aren't working and less time worrying about a video game that merely reflects these issues.

It's the gangsta rap argument. Now, I despise gangsta rap; I think it's garbage and promotes unhealthy stereotypes and role models . I cringe every time I see teenagers, black or white, worshipping a thug like Tupac and treating him like he was freakin' Malcom X.

However, I always wondered why we as society spent more time condemning the music and less time trying to figure out what inspired the music and where it all came from -- inner city poverty, drugs, and minority neighborhoods that nobody gives a damn about. We freak out about the message yet the music is just a symptom of a larger, more complicated problem that we don't want to acknowledge. Yes, American culture and, in a larger sense, that of Western civilization suffers from its share of reprehensible and negative content. But such art and culture isn't created in a vacum -- never is. We have to ask ourselves what is the root cause is.
October 26, 2006 5:45:36 PM

I will agree with you that we should have better deterrants to commiting crimes, and perhaps some particularly sensative jobs should be aware of certain relevent crimes, but to provide information that prevents a guy from getting a worthwhile (ie more than just burger flipping) job for pretty much the rest of their life unless they get lucky because they did something stupid as a kid, is just practically forcing them back into a life of crime.

Again I point out that statistics have shown strongly that countries with open criminal records have MUCH higher recidivism rates. And as for checking up on your neighbors before moving into a neighborhood... is that something you actually do or is that just bluster? I ask because I know no-one who has ever done this. It is not normal behavior at all and honestly.... kinda creepy.

Also I make the point of censorship because if you start banning things from entertainment mediums, its not going to be long before we have a state approved list of culturally filtered do nots which will stifle creativity and lead to a bland and over-homogenized existance. I do not want to go down that road and I do not think it is necissary.

I do encourage self restraint. That is Restraining of the Self, not of other people. I myself restrain myself from drinking alcohol, smoking, drugs, violence, and swearing in front of children when I can avoid it. What you seem to be calling for IS censorship. Thats where the state forces restraint of certain types of entertainment or information.
October 26, 2006 5:54:21 PM

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Yes, American culture and, in a larger sense, that of Western civilization suffers from its share of reprehensible and negative content. But such art and culture isn't created in a vacum -- never is. We have to ask ourselves what is the root cause is.


Precisely.

The legal attacks on Bully are just a particularly misguided backlash on a symptom of the larger problem.
October 26, 2006 10:52:42 PM

Busto963 wrote:
Many engaged in or were prepared to engage in duels.


Quote:
That sounds quite violent. Or did they tickle each other?


Alexander Hamilton was killed by sitting Vice President Aaron Burr on July 11, 1804, in Manhattan. Hamilton’s only son was killed in a duel three years later.

Button Gwinnet, who signed the Declaration of Independence, was shot down by General Lachlan McIntosh in a duel.

Future president of the United States Andrew Jackson killed Charles Dickinson in 1806. Jackson was an enthusiastic dueler.

General James Wilkins challenged Congressman John Randolph of Virginia to a duel.

Dueling was common enough in the US up until the Civil war. It was outlawed in DC, but not in Maryland, so many government officials took their desputes from capitol hill into Maryland. Can you imagine Hastert and Pelosi going at it now? 8O
October 26, 2006 11:13:55 PM

I think it might actually benefit our government to start doing that again.

A man willing to die for his beliefs is truly voting with what he believes is right.

All the same you are providing more evidence counter to your position.

Life before the 60s wasn't all sunshine and roses. In fact there have been many times in recorded history where things have been worse than they are now.
October 27, 2006 12:29:20 AM

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Oh, and for someone who enjoys harping on about "social decay", you might want to curb your language on an all-ages forum. Hypocrit.


I meant no offense by my language, but few Americans in the Midwest would take issue with the word, or its use in this context.

I still find your arguments ludicrous, and having been a first responder for the 1992 LA riot (and a few others), have to laugh at your use of what was a classic case of crowd manipulation that triggered the violence. If you meant the 1965-Watts Riots, I am not old enough to give first hand accounts of that one, but the evidence points to the same. You certainly did not watch the entire RK video did you? I will also wager that you never lived in East LA or actually went into Watts after dark either? I will bet that you have never formally studied the clinical psychology of crowd violence, let alone had to put down a riot, or faced a violent felon have you? You certainly do not have a military or a police background. So with no training in the use of force, no experience with crime in the US, or the US criminal justice system, or really having done any serious research into crime in the US; you feel confident in calling me a hypocrite, apparently while living in comfort 5000 miles away.

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Shoplifting food and medicine because your poor and can’t feed your child is one thing – shooting the 7 11 manager in the head because its easier to take the register is something else.
Sadly, there are people who make an amazingly good living on playing societal violence and mayhem in the US into personal profit by manipulate the media and pop culture. These guys would have you believe that vicious thugs like Stanley Tookie Williams are “victims of the system” rather than the product of a self-reinforcing culture of decay. The book rights, the movie deals, air time on local and national TV, celebrity dinners – do not lecture me about the root causes of US violence, drug use and the role of popular culture.
October 27, 2006 2:11:41 AM

I think largely we agree on many things except that one sticking point of whether the media is more of a cause, or an effect.

I will definitely concede that mass media, particularly TV and movies, perpetuate unhealthy societal trends, but I am of the opinion that they are not primary or sole contributers. There are more direct causes of the problems you have listed and those problems are the ones that need to be addressed.

I agree that there are some people who use and accept the "victim of the system" excuse far too often. I am not familiar with this Stanley person you mentioned (yes, I live under a rock, THG is my primary news source) but I am familiar with several other cases where that excuse has been used and even accepted.

People are usually a victim of themselves, but their environment is as always a contributing factor. No matter how bad their environment gets however, there are certain activities that are simply inexcusable. Petty shoplifting, frivolous intercourse, and even drugs I can accept being primarially caused by the environment... murder, aggravated assault, grand theft, and similar victim oriented crimes on the other hand are beyond that.

This however points more to my explanation. Mass media IS a large part of the "environment" and as such is of course a contributing factor, but it is not the primary cause.
October 27, 2006 4:36:50 PM

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Dueling was common enough in the US up until the Civil war. It was outlawed in DC, but not in Maryland, so many government officials took their desputes from capitol hill into Maryland. Can you imagine Hastert and Pelosi going at it now? 8O


You've completely missed the point of my post, and agreed with me. Oh dear.

So - you agree that people were violent long before ganster rap, violent video games and MTV? Congratulations on self-destructing your own poorly-thought-out argument. :roll:
October 27, 2006 4:42:10 PM

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Oh, and for someone who enjoys harping on about "social decay", you might want to curb your language on an all-ages forum. Hypocrit.


I meant no offense by my language, but few Americans in the Midwest would take issue with the word, or its use in this context.

We don't all live in the US. :roll:
Besides, my point was that it hypocritical to blame the media for the decay of social values when you choose to swear in front of (potentially) minors.


Quote:
So with no training in the use of force, no experience with crime in the US, or the US criminal justice system, or really having done any serious research into crime in the US; you feel confident in calling me a hypocrite, apparently while living in comfort 5000 miles away.

I called you a hypocrite because of your use of language. I fail to see why having put down a riot gives you the freedom to swear.

You consistently fail to understand anyone else's point, which makes it impossible to have a debate with you. No wonder America's in a right state if the best people it can find to be law enforcement officers are as close-minded and with such poor grasp of English as you.
October 29, 2006 1:58:31 AM

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I called you a hypocrite because of your use of language. I fail to see why having put down a riot gives you the freedom to swear.

You consistently fail to understand anyone else's point, which makes it impossible to have a debate with you. No wonder America's in a right state if the best people it can find to be law enforcement officers are as close-minded and with such poor grasp of English as you.


Theres no need to be so antagonistic. While he does seem to be reluctant to concede a single point, I would not say he has shown a weak grasp of English, nor would I say swearing is cause for such condemnation.
October 29, 2006 12:38:52 PM

This game looks fun.
I'm sick and tired of people giving entertainment grief. If you are a concerned enough parent, you would stop your child from playing it. But really, what's the big deal. It's not the real thing. It's ones and zeroes. Jee whizz.
October 31, 2006 2:52:00 AM

Quote:
We don't all live in the US.
Besides, my point was that it hypocritical to blame the media for the decay of social values when you choose to swear in front of (potentially) minors.

I called you a hypocrite because of your use of language. I fail to see why having put down a riot gives you the freedom to swear.

You consistently fail to understand anyone else's point, which makes it impossible to have a debate with you. No wonder America's in a right state if the best people it can find to be law enforcement officers are as close-minded and with such poor grasp of English as you.


The article deals with a game that the author believes has drawn unfair criticism, particularly from anti gaming activists in the US, and a Florida Judge has issued a ruling that rejected the position of the lobbyists. Any intelligent discussion of Mr Thompson's position should address links between violence, drug use, and other social ills, and the effect of gaming on them in the US. My point of view goes beyond yours in not only in experience and training, but also historical understanding of trends. If I sided with your arguments, I suspect you would cheerfully accept my credentials. Since I disagree, you have resorted to name calling. Having lived in the UK, I would not presume to lecture a British “Bobby”, a member of MI5 or Scottland Yard about violence in the UK. I expect you to have the courtesy of actually having researched your argument. I also know that people in the UK have the good sense to not get upset about one of the most benign descriptions of excrement.

Let me summarize: You have absolutely no background pertinant to the topic under discussion. You have thrown out the most tenuous, irrelevant, and in at least one instance, false arguments. When rebuffed, you retreated into stereo typical arguments about Nazis and hypocracy without providing a single fact, statistic or position of medical authorities to contribute to the argument. You are too lazy to actually do some research to support your position – (hint, google will lead you directly to the US DOJ/FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) which provide statistics outlining criminal violence in the US).

Let me quote The Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children, Congressional Public Health Summit, July 26, 2000 http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/jstmtevc.htm
Signed by preeminent medical authorities in the US (The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Academy of Family Physicians):

“The effect of entertainment violence on children is complex and variable. Some children will be affected more than others. But while duration, intensity, and extent of the impact may vary, there are several measurable negative effects of children's exposure to violent entertainment. These effects take several forms.

Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume that acts of violence are acceptable behavior.

Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decrease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.

Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behaviors and a mistrust of others.

Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed."

So tell me why you think the The American Medical Association is wrong and line up you credentials.
October 31, 2006 8:34:22 AM

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Although less research has been done on the impact of violent interactive entertainment (video games and other interactive media) on young people, preliminary studies indicate that the negative impact may be significantly more severe than that wrought by television, movies, or music. More study is needed in this area, and we urge that resources and attention be directed to this field,

We in no way mean to imply that entertainment violence is the sole, or even necessarily the most important factor contributing to youth aggression, anti-social attitudes, and violence. Family breakdown, peer influences, the availability of weapons, and numerous other factors may all contribute to these problems. Nor are we advocating restrictions on creative activity. The purpose of this document is descriptive, not prescriptive: we seek to lay out a clear picture of the pathological effects of entertainment violence. But we do hope that by articulating and releasing the consensus of the public health community, we may encourage greater public and parental awareness of the harms of violent entertainment, and encourage a more honest dialogue about what can be done to enhance the health and well-being of America's children.
The thing is all that work is very old, to the point in where the violent games where the top down views of the original Grand Theft Auto’s and games like Mortal Combat. I bet most of the research they looked in to where also many years old even at that time, I don’t see how you can use that research on games when it is even admitted by them selves that the effects of interactive violence is in anyway worse or better with them stating a guess that it is.

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Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behaviors and a mistrust of others.
This statement really lets the whole document down, if by now or even back then you did not see the world as being a violent place you are indeed a very naïve person. You need only take a walk in some areas in of the world and see evidence of extreme violence. You will also need to note that almost all the violence is due to extreme poverty or drug addiction, not because some people played violent interactive content.

If you see unhappy of violent kids nowadays I believe it is completely ignorant to blame it on the fact that “oh Jimmy has Grand Theft Auto”. It is normally because they have extremely unpleasant lives. Bullying can cause kids to become very violent as well as childhood abuse. I don’t see how a kid that plays a game where you can punch people and shoot people can change a young persons mind to think that such actions are ok to do.
October 31, 2006 1:21:51 PM

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The thing is all that work is very old, to the point in where the violent games where the top down views of the original Grand Theft Auto’s and games like Mortal Combat. I bet most of the research they looked in to where also many years old even at that time, I don’t see how you can use that research on games when it is even admitted by them selves that the effects of interactive violence is in anyway worse or better with them stating a guess that it is.


False – you did not read the statement, which clearly cites overwhelming evidence linking media violence and aggression (hardly a guess). Just because some of the studies are older does not make them incorrect. The fact that there has been consistency in scientific and medical research stretching over decades strengthens the position. Ivan Pavlov’s study of conditioning was researched starting back in the 1890s, yet remains valid (and widely taught today). In fact, there have been numerous studies conducted since that declaration showing immediate physiological and behavioral effects following violent game play. Search the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) and you will find studies as recent as 1st quarter 2006! Here is what you missed from the statement:

“At this time, well over 1000 studies - including reports from the Surgeon General's office, the National Institute of Mental Health, and numerous studies conducted by leading figures within our medical and public health organizations - our own members - point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children. The conclusion of the public health community, based on over 30 years of research, is that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children.

The bottom line is that the preeminent US medical organizations continue to support the position linking violent behavior to violence in media.

Quote:
I don’t see how a kid that plays a game where you can punch people and shoot people can change a young persons mind to think that such actions are ok to do.


YOU don’t, but the majority of medical professionals DO. :roll: When you become a doctor, get a grant, and publish contrary results that stand up to scientific scrutiny; you can dissent.
October 31, 2006 2:51:37 PM

Busto, I have a degree in Psychology focusing on child studies and causes of personality traits since credentials mean so much to you. As the document clearly states the problem lies predominantly in other areas and that violent media is only a contributing factor, which is what I have been saying all along.

Also at that time and since then there have been an approximate equal number of studies that show an insignificant effect of violent media upon violence exhibited toward other people.

A number of the studies that show immediate violent behavior show this violent behavior in play only such as the Bobo doll experiment. I know of no well done study that demonstrates a higher likelihood of violent behavior toward other people. Even children know the difference between play and reality.

I do admit that violent media desensitizes, but living in large cities has a much higher correlation with desensitization than playing a lot of video games or watching violent TV/Movies.

As far as other moral judgements such as premarital sex and drugs, I will concede that our media has glorified these things to the point where it is exacerbating an already widespread issue. However as before, the media is indicative of the sensabilities of the people, not vice versa. The more people are willing to accept, the more it will be prevalent in our entertainment sources.
November 3, 2006 1:28:44 PM

Quote:
However as before, the media is indicative of the sensabilities of the people, not vice versa. The more people are willing to accept, the more it will be prevalent in our entertainment sources.


Bingo - media sources do what they can to become and remain successful media sources; they are almost entirely corporate entities, and their goals are ratings and resultant profits. It is very hard to make such an industry a cause of cultural decay, when what makes it successful is providing what the people seem to want.

If I may throw out an idea linked to evolutionary biology and not be lynched, I would say that we are experiencing the cultural equivalent of punctuated equilibrium. Modern evolutionary theory holds that organisms spend long periods of time evolving little (environment is stable, low pressure to adapt), then a upheaval occurs that forces rapid adaptation, or extinction. Culturally, the US was a pretty stable place until the 60s, when many of our cultural institutions were called into question, and we shifted from a population that had allegiances to higher social structures (country, government, city, company) to a model where we were all lone individuals, we were taught to be distrustful of everything, and whatever we wanted to do was OK. We are finding that many of those narcissitic strategies just don't cut it, but there has not been enough time for self-correction to occur and things to settle back down into a more steady state, which I suspect will be less violent and fragmentary. Food for thought - flame on, gentlemen!
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