How’s Your Self-Control?

Parents, I present to you another affect that violent video games have on a child’s behavior, which is decreased self control. The article is by Brad J. Bushman, an extremely authoritative figure on social psychology.  Bushman has conducted a plethora of studies published in scholarly journals, the news, and other sources of media.  In this particular article, Decreased Self-Control, Bushman discusses numerous credible empirical studies/experiments and presents the collective data.

Through each article, Bushman discusses the ways in which violent video games decrease self-control and how it is negative.  Overall, those who played violent video games indulged in unhealthy things, cheated, and caused unpleasantness to others more than those who played non-violent video games.  Furthermore, in these same studies, a Moral Disengagement Scale was conducted.  The conclusions of this are particularly important because they concluded that:

“teens who played the violent video games, those who scored higher in moral disengagement were especially likely to cheat, eat more chocolate, and act more aggressively.” (Decreased Self-Control)

These conclusions at first glance may not seem too problematic to some people, but in reality they are.  Parents, I would hope that you don’t want your child thinking that stealing and/or cheating are not that big of deal.  Both stealing and cheating can lead to violent and/or aggressive situations…on top of being immoral!  Parents, decreased self-control is extremely problematic, not only for your children, but also for society.  I believe that having self-control is what basically keeps the majority of society functioning.  We all have impulses, good and bad.  If everyone always acted on their negative impulses then the world be a violent and corrupted place.  Since playing violent video games is proved to potentially cause a decrease in self-control then violence in video games has to be addressed.

Parents, what do you think? Have you ever noticed a lack of self-control in your children that play violent video games?

Gamers, rate your self-control? Do you ever feel that you have a lack of self-control and/or don’t care if you commit immoral acts?

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A Debate that Can’t Wait!!

There has been an ongoing battle on the banning of violent video games being sold to children.  This issue is best seen through Supreme Court cases in California that have addressed the issue.  The articles below explain the two opposing view points on the most recent case that went to court:

Against the Ban of the Sale of Violent Video Games to Children

VS

For the Ban of the Sale of Violent Video Games to Children

Here is another link that shows a debate between the two sides: Debate.

Parents have been deeply involved in these court cases over the past decade and a half.  Especially parents that know and understand the impact and threat that violent video games have on children; these parents mostly fight and take the side of the ban of violent video games sold to children.

There are several arguments that split the issue into two sides, but ultimately the issue comes down to two main problematic points:

  1. Should states be allowed to lawfully decided what entails a violent video game
  2. Is banning the sale of violent video games to children violating the 1st amendment (Freedom of Speech); and if so, should there be a clause enabling the ban of violent video games since there are potential negative/harmful effects.

Ultimately, any decision the courts make is going to leave a vast group of people upset.  But I think it is important to approach this case with the idea in mind that children’s safety should be our main concern…not the sales of video game companies.  I believe that both sides of this debate have viable reasons; however, “we”, as Americans, should be thinking about the future and how violent video games can potentially harm the future of children that play video games.  I do understand the seriousness of violating an individuals first amendment; it’s extremely important that that never happens.  I do believe that creating a clause that only applies to adolescent children buying violent video games is plausible and almost necessary. How do these children need to be exposed to this violence.  The law doesn’t prohibit adults from buying or renting the games for themselves or their children…just children themselves doing it.

Another quick comment: If states aren’t allowed to decide what is too violent for children using vast amounts of data, research, and public opinion, then who will…the video game companies who make the violent video games? The video game companies are mostly worried about their sales; which means the greater the demographic, lower the age group that can buy them, the more sales they rake in.  Just a thought.

Parents what do you think?  Is not violating the first amendment of children (adolescents) more important than violating it to try to keep children safer?  If it isn’t, then who should decide what video game is or isn’t too violent for children to purchase and play?

As of today’s date, the Californian Supreme Court has ruled against the banning of the sale of violent video games every time.  Parents, after all of the evidence for and against the effects violent video games have on aggressive behavior, presented in my previous posts, do you think there is enough evidence to overturn this reoccurring Supreme Court decision?

The “Need To Know”!

Warning: The Videos Below Show EXTREME Violence!!!

If you could bring yourself to watch the videos above…you’re brave! It seems ridiculous that any person would want to play these types of violent video games…and for fun!!  To me it seems unnecessary.  I understand that violence can be exciting and/or exhilarating, but to what extent should we allow the violence in video games to be until it becomes too violent, too real, or even traumatizing?  Parents, the videos above are of just two games that are out there for your children to get their hands on.  Whether you are unaware of the violence in them and purchase the violent video games for your own child, or if your child plays it at a friends house without you knowing, it is pertinent that you are aware of and are informed about the potential side-affects violent video games can have.  Here is what you need to know: Click Here To Get Informed!

What do you think?  I found this reading to be insightful and thought provoking.  It makes me think more about how much I have played violent video games in the past (not the ones that have the same amount of aggressive/gruesome violence in the above video games), for how long and often I played, and the ways it contributed to my own aggressive behavior.  Growing up with two brothers I obviously got into some fights with them, it was pretty much inevitable.  I am curious though how many of those fights were instigated from the result of playing violent video games, which all three of us played very often.  The reading discusses how violent video games are just one factor that may contribute to violent behavior.  Well for me, having two brothers to argue and fight with is another factor, or two.  This leads me to believe that violent video games may have tempted some of my family confrontations.  I have been fortunate enough to never have run into any confrontations outside of my household, with strangers.  However, I am curious if I had been confronted with individuals that were aggressive, how would I have handled it; especially since I played a lot of violent video games and fought with my brothers (2-3 factors right there).  I may be a more violent person now if I had run into more outside confrontations.

Parents, I think it is important to ask yourself, especially if you have more than one child, close in age too, if violent video games are really the best thing for your children.  It is important to realize all the factors that contribute to violent behavior, and if your children playing violent video games may be that one extra factor that may push your child to have aggressive behavior that may potentially put themselves in harmful situations.  If your children do play violent video games, and you’re fine with it, at least be aware of the warning signs discussed in the link above so that you’re knowledgeable enough to notice if the video games are affecting your child/children.

Remember what you “Need To Know”

KKGO – Keep Calm and Game On

Stress, stress, stress…nowadays it seems as if kids of all ages experience stress in everything they do; it’s unavoidable.  School (stress!), chores can be stressful!, homework (stress), friends (more stress!), and then when it comes time to relax and blow off some steam with some violent video games…surprisingly enough…..EVEN MORE STRESS!  Everyone knows that stress can be hard to cope with and manage….which means it can play a key role in aiding in violent/aggressive behavior.  With this in mind, PARENTS, you need to pay close attention to the results of this study I am about to present to you!

Here is a quick summary to the article: Article Summary; and here is the full article for more of the particulars: Full Article.

More precisely, the study concluded:

“Violent game players are placed in emergency situations in which many enemies are trying to kill them.  One consequence of this exposure is an increase in stress.  The present research showed that violent games reduced cardiac coherence.  Cardiac coherence, in turn, was negatively associated with aggression.  Thus, violent games may increase aggression in part by stressing players out.  Although nobody actually gets killed in a violent game, players do experience increased stress. which makes them more cranky and prone to aggress against others.” (Reading List: Begue, Laurent)

According to this study violent video games do correlate to an increase in stress, which in-turn makes the players more prone to aggressive behavior.  Parents, isn’t this a concerning and discerning conclusion?!?!  With the amount of stress already placed on children, this added stress from video games, when they’re supposed to be enjoyable and fun, seems as if it could produce a stress overload.  And lets be honest parents, you probably have enough stress to deal with already, and dealing with the aggressive and/or violent behavior from your children might just send YOU into a stress overload too!

I think that in a child’s spare time they should be doing something to relieve stress in a healthy manner, not gain stress playing violent video games.  However, if parents become more aware of this and are able to talk to their children about the ways to manage stress, then I don’t think this stress factor from violent video games would be as big of an issue.

This is just one study; do you think that violent video games do cause stress? or do the violent video games only stress a small portion of a certain type of individuals?  Parents, would you much rather eliminate or control the amount of violent video game play of your children?…or teach them stress management strategies and let them play the violent video games?

Either way, I think everyone, when playing video games in general, should always be aware of their actions and emotions and if still able….KEEP CALM and GAME ON (KKGO)!!!!

A Look Into “Our” Violent Society!

Check This Vid Out!!!!

The video above does a tremendous job informing everyone how violence is perceived in American society and where it has been, and continuously is heading.  Do you think there is ever going to be a point in time in which there will be a limit on the detail and the amount of violence in our media?  With a little background on violence in our media, lets move forward…

It has been brought to my attention, thanks to one of my followers, John Hodges, the importance of how different violent forms of media affect aggressive/violent behavior.  Yes, the main debate is if violent video games cause violent/aggressive behavior; but investigating the affect of other forms of violent media on aggressive/violent behavior is also pertinent to addressing this problem.  If other forms of violent media have shown little to no significant affect on aggressive behavior then it could be safe to assume that violent video games should have the same affect; right?  What do you think?  One of the main differences between video games and other forms of media is that you are interacting and controlling the video games’ violence first-hand, and not just observing the violence like other forms of media.  This difference could lead to potential differences in the affect it has on aggressive behavior.

I know, I know…It seems as if I am skipping around, a lot, but PARENTS, all of this is interconnected and therefore should be extremely important to you!  Gaining knowledge on how violence is perceived and consumed in American society is pertinent in understanding how individuals are affected by the violence consumed through media.  Gaining information on this aids in analyzing the affect of violent video games on aggressive behavior.  Furthermore, knowing the side-effects that violent media has on your children is very important to your child’s mental and physical health.  With all of this in mind…now lets examine studies done on violence in the media…

This is an incredible study; check it out: Media Violence Study

Important Article Conclusion:

“Research clearly shows that fictional television and film violence contribute to an increase in aggression and violence, both in the short term and across the life span. Television news violence also contributes to increased violence, principally in the form of imitative suicides and acts of aggression. Video games are clearly capable of producing an increase in aggression and violence in the short term, although no long-term longitudinal studies capable of demonstrating long-term effects have been conducted. The relationship between media violence and real-world violence and aggression is moderated by the nature of the media content and characteristics of and social influences on the individual exposed to that content. Still, the average overall size of the effect is large enough to place it in the category of known threats to public health.”

These conclusions are amazing! They prove that the most common forms of media violence (i.e. television shows and film and television news) do have an effect on aggression in the short and long term!  Also, I found the last two statements to be particularly intriguing. It is stated that the relationship between media violence and real world violence and aggression depends on several factors.  This is interesting because these results are parallel to the violent video game results I presented in the previous post Breaking Down The Research. Lastly, concluding that violent media is put in a category of a “threat to public health” is very poignant.  If these other forms of media violence cause short and long term aggressive behavioral effects then violent video games probably do to!  However, more individuals are exposed to television, movies, and television news; whether it is first hand viewing or through stories…so doesn’t that change the extent on which they have an effect on aggressive behavior? What do you think…can these forms of violent media even be compared with video game violence?

Parents of gamers, and parents in general, regardless of the possible intricate complications with the reseach/comparisons, it is important that you take away from this that there are short-term and long-term aggressive effects from violent media; and from this study, also short-term aggressive effects from violent video games!

Thanks again to John Hodges for his insight on further research!  And if any readers also have an interest in student debt and the dilemma of young students building poor credit, visit John Hodges blog!

Mind Numbing Violence! Yikes!!!

Mind Numbing Video Game Violence

A key term is continually brought up in the debate of violent video games causing violent behavior; that term is desensitization.  Desensitization is the process in which something causes someone to experience something, usually an emotion or a pain, less strongly than they did before.  In “layman terms”, the more you experience something the less it effects you.  For example, if you burn your hand, it’ll hurt a lot!  However, if you burn the same spot on your hand every day then eventually you will lose that feeling in your hand and it won’t hurt as much anymore.  This idea of desensitization is what parents and other advocates against violent video games are afraid of; and Parents…you have good reason to be worried!

In an empirical research study, done by Nicholas Carnagey, Craig Anderson, and Brad Bushman (Desensitization Study), the effects of violent video games on desensitizing individuals to violence is conducted.  The results of the study concluded:

“The present experiment demonstrates that violent video game exposure can cause desensitization to real-life violence.  In this experiment, violent game players were less physiologically aroused by real-life violence than were non-violent game players. It appears that individuals who play violent video games habituate or “get used to” all the violence and eventually become physiologically numb to it.” (Anderson – Desensitization Article)

These results are crucial in analyzing the effects of violent video games promoting violent/aggressive behavior.  Since individuals do become desensitized to violence, from violent video game play, then that makes the players perception of killing and what it means to kill change.  Being exposed to the violence makes peoples understanding of violence change; and therefore their minds are “numb”, unaffected, to violent exposure.

This analysis may be a little confusing so this is how I like to think of it:

Lets suppose in one scenario I grow up thinking guns are dangerous and shooting them at people is bad.  In this scenario, I won’t like being around guns and when introduced to them, through any media, I will most likely be scared of them.  On the other hand, in a second scenario, I grow up playing violent video games and constantly exposed to the idea of shooting guns, shooting people, and other types of aggressive/violent behavior.  In this second scenario, I will be more inclined to want to shoot a gun and potentially commit aggressive acts that I consistently see in the games I play; this occurring because of the exposure I have to it and not realizing that it is dangerous and unhealthy for myself or others around me.

Parents! This article (Desensitization Study) provides pertinent information to the safety of your children.  According to the article, the more you allow your kids to be exposed to violent video games, the more violent/aggressive behavior they will most likely show.

Although the information/data presented in the article is accurate, there are key questions to be considered.  The data shows that violent video games desensitize “gamers” to violence; well how much exposure to the violent video games is necessary to cause permanent desensitization to violence? Individuals may be desensitized for only a few minutes after playing a violent video game.  Parents, if that’s the case then is that really a big deal? Gamers,  how ofter do you play? And do you feel that you are being desensitized?

In summary, parents, I think it’s best to limit game play for children daily and weekly.  Not only because of the violent video game affects, but because doing anything in extreme excess is usually unhealthy.

Remarkable Background Stats!!!

REVIEW THESE: Video Game Stats

This Is NOT What I Expected! Take a glance at this link showing a slew of charts and tables giving background statistics and information on video games, amount of violent crimes over the span of several years and much more!

I want to draw particular attention to these handful of charts and tables:

Frequency of Video Game Play by Gender

Source: Cheryl Olson, ScD, et al., “Factors Correlated with Violent Video Game Use by Adolescent Boys and Girls,” Journal of Adolescent Health, Jan. 2007

Does this table surprise anyone?  This does not surprise me significantly; however I believe it is important to be aware of what gender is particularly the most exposed to video games, and therefore more exposed to violent video games.  I will have to do further research on if male or females are more inclined to react aggressively to violent video games.  However, the trouble with this research is that the debate is still “up in the air” on whether or not violent video games do cause violent/aggressive behavior.  Also, another potential contributing factor to research can be whether male or females are more inclined to have aggressive behavior or react aggressively to any given situation in life in general.  What do you think?

What next?…An overview of violent crime offenses!

Violent Crime Offenses and Video Game
Sales, 1996-2007

Violent Crime Offenses and Video Game
Sales, 1996-2004

Source: Entertainment Software Association, “Essential Facts
About Games and Violence,” http://www.theesa.com, 2008

Source: “Chasing the Dream,” Economist, Aug. 4, 2005

Two different tables, different sources, analyzing the same type of data within a slightly different time span, but ultimately showing the same results.  I think the data is pretty obvious.  As time has progressed since 1996 the amount of video games sold and played have increased; meanwhile total crime offenses have decreased!  If everyone were to specifically look at this data then one could assume that violent video games have helped decrease violent/aggressive behavior/acts.  This data seems controversial to a lot of studies that suggest violent video games most certainly cause aggressive behavior.  However, maybe I am reading to far into the data here.  The tables do not explicitly say violent video game sales have risen, just video games in general.  Although, I do believe it is a fair assumption to assume that violent video game sales have also risen.  This assumption is also based on the other research presented on the link above, that shows that violent video games are typically favored more than others that aren’t.  Do you agree with the data presented?  Have you found any statistics, that I have yet to find, to contradict the ones presented?

Juvenile Violent Crime by Type and Year, 1995-2008

Source: Adam Thierer, MA, “Violent Video Games & Youth Violence: What Does Real-World Evidence Suggest?,” http://www.pff.org, Feb. 9, 2010

This table also falls into the same direction as the previous two tables.  This table just shows in more detail how much different types of violent behavior/acts have dropped over a specific time frame.  Most importantly this table shows the how violent crimes have fallen since 1995 in JUVENILES.  First, it is important to define what a juvenile is.  A juvenile is someone that is young person; specifically, according to U.S. law (that varies from state to state) someone that can not be tried as an adult in court (Mostly of the time persons younger than 18, sometimes younger than 17).  This brings a big issue to my attention.  If video game violence does cause violent behavior/acts and sales of video games have gone up since 1996 (according to the previous tables), then how, according to this table, have violent crimes continually decreased?!?  As I have discussed in Breaking Down The Research there are a lot of facts that come into play when analyzing aggressive behavior and the causes of it; so even if this table is completely accurate that doesn’t mean violent video games do not contribute to aggressive behavior.  With so many variables to account for it is a lot to contemplate and truly analyze.