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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid