News / USA

Are Violent Games Linked to Violent Crimes?

Are Violent Games Linked to Violent Crimes?i
X
December 27, 2012 1:37 AM
Analysts estimate people spent about $70 billion worldwide on video games and components in 2012. Gaming is on the rise in India, Brazil, Russia and Southeast Asia, while North America, Western Europe and East Asia remain key markets. As video-game images become increasingly realistic and graphic, VOA's Suzanne Presto in Washington explores whether there is a link between the violence depicted in those games and violence in real life.
Are Violent Games Linked to Violent Crimes?
Suzanne Presto
As video game images become increasingly more realistic and graphic, policy makers are debating if there is a link between the violence depicted in those games and violence in real life.   

A 20-year-old gunman's shooting spree at a school in the northeastern United States this month has reinvigorated discussions about violence, prompting lawmakers to call for greater examination of brutality in video games.

But evidence does not suggest violence in games causes violence in life, says Virginia Tech's James Ivory, a professor in the university's department of communication who researches the effects of video games.

"The agreement is pretty well universal among social scientists that there is not a clearly established link between actual violent crime and violent media usage," says Ivory.  

He adds that it is possible, though debated, that exposure to violent video games could make a person think or respond more aggressively in the short term, or, in Ivory's words, "might even make you potentially more of a jerk to somebody."  But, he emphasizes, temporary aggression and violent crime are worlds apart.

Graphic games are popular.  Eight of the 20 best-selling video games in 2011 contained intense violence, language or sexual content deemed suitable only for players 17 and older.

Criminal defense attorney Rene Sandler says she has represented clients who played violent shooter games, gaining points with each kill.   
    
"Violent video games are an enormous problem in this country, and violent video games have been at the core of violent behaviors after watching these video games or cumulatively playing games," Sandler says.

Video games differ from movies or other media because game players are active participants, not passive viewers.

"People have argued that violent video games should influence you more because you're taking on the role of someone violent," explains Ivory.  "Conceptually that all makes sense, but empirically, there's not a lot of evidence for stronger effects of games than television."

Players don't confuse games with reality, a high school student and gamer told VOA.

"I'm not saying it's right, but it's just virtual people," he said.  "It's not real people.  It doesn't have any intentions of killing anyone in the real world."

Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, disagrees.
 
"There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games," LaPierre told reporters this month.

He named the popular game 'Grand Theft Auto' as an example.

One of the creators of 'Grand Theft Auto,' Navid Khonsari, says he grew up playing video games in Iran, Canada and the U.S., where video games were enjoyed by people of all ages.

The discerning factor among the countries, says Khonsari, "is that while video games have been readily available, what has been limited is the accessibility to weapons."  

The focus on virtual violence might be limiting substantive discussions about firearm regulations and mental health treatment.

"When we talk about violent video games and actual violent crime, we're chasing something that hasn't really been observed and we're not talking about other things that have been observed," says Ivory.

Despite the renewed focus on video game violence, investigators of the most recent U.S. school shooting have not said whether the young gunman was a player of violent video games.    

Interest in video games continues to grow around the globe.  Analysts estimate people spent about $70 billion worldwide on video games and components in 2012.  North America, Western Europe and East Asia remain key markets, while gaming is on the rise in India, Brazil, Russia and Southeast Asia.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: alejandro from: calombia
December 28, 2012 1:11 PM
I think so because at that moment the virtual fighters are children´s heros, as a result they would like to behave like them, as we did when we just watched bruce and jackie chan´s movies. when the movie finished I used to kick almost everything that surrounded to me.

by: James from: Nebraska
December 28, 2012 5:52 AM
That's because the NRA wants you to believe anything kills but guns. The phrase "guns don't kill people" is one of the most inane ever devised, yet ingenious. It has you believe that the killers in homicides, deaths by accidents, or suicides would be have been equally committed if the person instead used a kitchen blender or a video game console.

On the other hand, EA has removed the direct links to gun sellers and manufacturers from its game "Call to Duty," though they left all the manufacturer logos and names in the games and still has its "gun partners" games and weapons descriptions. They removed the direct links because it thought them "inappropriate."
In Response

by: Kablooy from: US
December 28, 2012 12:29 PM
Seriously? You liberals are still blathering on about the NRA causing all evil in the world?
I guess blaming Bush for everything got old and you guys needed a replacement to blame stuff on.
How about you place blame on the people that commit the crimes....call me crazy but it just sounds like common sense to me.
Some crazy lady in a Ford almost ran me off the road last summer but I don't blame Ford or AAA "The evil auto owners lobby".
Get a clue and try using logic. It's not just for Vulcans.

by: Ali Hunzai from: Islamabad~Pakistan
December 27, 2012 11:53 PM
I believe violence based video games stimulate the minds of young children towards practical situation. My son who is 8 years old fan of John Cena. One day as his sister was lying in the bed he jumped over her and made her upset. When I asked, why did he do so? He simply told me, pa pa I wanted to be John Cena, its clear his young mind was stimulated by the actions of John Cena.

As parents and as society we should try our best to give our children nature based healthy activities and closely monitor, mentor our children during the activities, until and unless our children cannot take the responsibility for the actions towards themselves and the society.


by: ARChalupa from: Nebraska
December 27, 2012 3:15 PM
Even if violence doesn't breed violence, it definately breeds an acceptance of violence. People become immune/numb to the violence -- accepting it rather than being offended by it.
If these sorts of games must be on the market, then they should be limited to a play time of no more than 1 or 2 hours in every 24-hour time period. That would at least force players to take a bathroom break or something. Perhaps the game boxes themselves could have the time limit - then gamers couldn't just go from one game to another.
First-hand interaction with people brings about a realization that life (real life) doesn't get multiple lives, isn't a war/battle, shouldn't be cut-throat, and comes with caring and love.
This would also cut down on obesity in children who sit in front of media almost all day.

by: Lu from: PRC
December 27, 2012 2:15 PM
shooting games as well as firearms are kinds of tools, which are manipulated by soul. Therefore if you open a gate to introduce the bad ideology in by any kind of ways, you definitely will make mistake. For instance, the second scene of game "call of duty modern ops 2" asks player to massacre citizen in airport, I am woundering how this game had been passed through examination, who should take the response, why the game company still has not been asked to recall the products.

by: Steve from: Florida
December 27, 2012 8:57 AM
I do believe that violent games (and violent movies too), when watched repeatedly, have a desensitizing effect. However, this does not explain why only a tiny number of the players or viewers actually engage in real world violence. Obviously there must be some other cause.

by: Sam from: Chicago
December 27, 2012 5:37 AM
It is worth noting that out of the top ten counties that consume the most video games, the United States is far and away the one with the highest levels of gun violence and there is a correlation that the higher the video game consumption, the lower the violence. (no causational link has yet been established but definitely worth noting)

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 27, 2012 4:42 AM
If someone claims there is no relation between violent videogames and violent crimes on the basis that there is no evidence between them, they should also notice that someone could claim there may be some relations between them because there is no evience that shows they have no relations.   

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs