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Violent video games and child aggression

Survey finds 75 percent of parents think violent video games contribute to actual violence.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Jan 16, 2013 9:40PM

Little more than one month has passed since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and the world still grieves for the 26 lives lost.

As the community of Newtown and the nation struggle to make sense of the devastation, gun control, mental health issues and violent video games have all been called into question. Groups like Sandy Hook Promise call for a ‘national conversation’ and President Obama is rolling out plans to curb gun violence, but the search for solutions on how to avoid a repeat incident remains.

Photo: Image Source/Getty ImagesIn the days following the shooting, details unfolded surrounding Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old Newtown shooter, his “strange” behavior and “obsession” with violent video games kept surfacing. Lanza lived at his mother's colonial-style mansion, where he had two of the house's four bedrooms – one for himself and the other for the computer where he played violent video games, reports the The Telegraph.
According to express.co.uk, Lanza's favorite video game was said to be a shockingly violent fantasy war game called Dynasty Warriors. Was it a game or easy access to a deadly arsenal of guns – he reportedly learned how to shoot after his mother took him to local ranges - that inspired Lanza to carry out the deadly massacre?

 

The topic of virtual violence resulting in real life aggression has long been controversial. Are these games simply a fun hobby, or for children who may already be mentally or emotionally unstable, do these games have the ability to push someone over the edge?

More from MSN Living: The top 10 worst moments in mom judgment

A new survey from Common Sense Media found that 75 percent of parents think violent video games contribute to actual violence. 1,050 people were surveyed, and 89 percent of them say violence in video games is a problem. (45 percent say it's a major problem; 44 percent say it's a minor problem.)

News: In letters, kids ask Obama to change gun laws

"There is a real harm in children having exposure to violence, such as playing violent video games," says Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Debra Kissen, Ph.D., M.H.S.A. of Chicago, IL. "By playing violent video games, children (and adults) become desensitized to this content and therefore experience less of an emotional reaction to violence," says Kissen. "Therefore, violent behavior becomes normalized and becomes a more reasonable alternative when experiencing a conflict."

News: Gun group: Our industry didn't cause Newtown

Jason Schreier, Editor of Kotaku, the Gamer's Guide challenges the Common Sense Media survey findings and the association between violent video game use and violence.

Bing: How to tell if your child is emotionally disturbed

“There have been no scientific studies that connect violent video games to violence,” he wrote on the site.  “There have been studies that connect violent video games to aggression (more on that in the near future), but there is absolutely zero evidence, according to leading researchers in this field, that links violent video games to violent crime in any way.”

Tell us on Facebook: Are you ok with your kids playing violent video games?

More from MSN Living:
12 violent video games to avoid
50 ways to stay bonded to your kids
How to help your kids feel safe
Is homework really necessary?
Districts look to beef up school safety with panic buttons

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Photo: Image Source/Getty Images

794Comments
Jan 17, 2013 6:30PM
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Why don't we ban driving cars since drunk people are always killing by crashing?
Jan 17, 2013 6:30PM
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His mother taking him to a shooting range doesn't seem to be a big issue, but him playing Dynasty Warriors ( Which is NOT a shooting Game ) seems to be the main problem? Give me a break !!
Jan 17, 2013 6:30PM
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Doesnt Microsoft make Gears Of War, one of the most violent games out?! Why would they allow a stupid story like this???
Jan 17, 2013 6:30PM
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I am a middle aged gamer that started with Pong and have played everything, including all of the games on the "DO NOT FLY" list, that has come along since. It is a cherised hobby of mine. My 12 year old son is a gamer who plays "violent" video games, a past time that he truly enjoys also. We are no more violent or non-violent for it. Describing Dynasty Warriors as "shockingly violent" is laughable. It contains no more violence than your average Marvel movie. No game I have ever played has made me feel like hitting or killing anybody. I would argue that watching football, which I also do, has the capability to drive you to violence much easier than any game I have ever played. It is not the guns, the clips, the bullets, the games, the movies, the music, etc. ad nauseum that causes people to kill other people. Guns are tools that can be used by people to cause or suppress violence among many other things. Banning guns will do nothing to stop violence. Does anyone truly believe that Adam Lanza cared if his weapon was properly documented and approved by the Federal Government before he killed those children? Does anyone believe banning rifles would have stopped him from causing violence? If you think governmental control of guns works, look at the murder rate with handguns in Washington, D.C. where it illegal to possess any type weapon. All this is going to do is further divide this country, which I am starting to truly believe is the only goal our current leadership has.
Jan 17, 2013 6:29PM
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"Dynasty Warriors. Was it a game or easy access to a deadly arsenal of guns" –LMAO. Dynasty Warriors is about midievil China. No guns, you idiot!
Jan 17, 2013 6:28PM
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 you are a idiot it all adds up to your conscience you have to know right form wrong and video games and tv are fake not real THIS IS A JOKE all of you people are just blaming something else because you are too lazy to teach your child right form wrong and if your kid has a bad attitude it is because of video games and tv well then it is Americas fault because our county thrives on vlioent video games and movies tv shows and just because some people have no conscience you blame video games and tv and movies so figure it out  
Jan 17, 2013 6:28PM
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I THINK THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW MUCH CONTROL U.S.A WANTS TO HAVE OVER THE SALES OF GUNS, THERE'S ANOTHER SYSTEM THAT NEEDS TO B CHANGE SO TRAGEDIES LIKE THOSE DON'T HAPPEN, AND FAMILIES NEED TO STAR @ HOME PARENTS NEED TO STAR PAYING MORE ATTENTION TO THEIR CHILDREN, ALL THE INCIDENTS THAT HAVE OCCUR, THE KILLERS HAVE HAD SOME SORE OF ABUSE OR HAVE NOT BEEN LOVED ENOUGH FOR THEM TO APPRECIATE HUMAN LIFE, HAVING KIDS IS NOT ONLY ABOUT FEEDING THEM, GIVING THEM CLOTHES, AND SENDING THEM TO SCHOOL, IT HAS A LOT MORE TO IT.  FOR ME THE GUILT LANDS ON THE PARENTS, WE DEFINITELY NEED TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO OUR KIDS AS THEY GROW UP.  SHOW THEM LOVE NOT WAR, SHOW THEM VALUES NOT VIOLENCE, SHOW THEM LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL NOT THAT IS A CURSE TO LIVE, IF WE START DOING THOSE THINGS OUR FUTURE KIDS WILL BE THE BEST OF MANY GENERATIONS.

Jan 17, 2013 6:27PM
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There is absolutely no evidence to support this kind of witch hunt; as for taxing games for mental health funding, why not tax congress for the same thing?

 

What a bunch of maroons! 

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