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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?

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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.)

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"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
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How to help your kids feel safe
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Districts look to beef up school safety with panic buttons

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Photo: Image Source/Getty Images

794Comments
Jan 17, 2013 8:41PM
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Absolutely!  They devalue human life!  All violent video games must be eliminated now along with TV and Movies.
Jan 17, 2013 8:40PM
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"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."

 

That is called common sense and logic.

Jan 17, 2013 8:38PM
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It's a fact that American's love violence. Whether it is in Video Game form or movie, television, etc. Every time I turn on my television I see some new movie or serious glorifying some form of violence whether is past, present or future.

 

I can't watch television 5 minutes without seeing some form of violence....A new series called ripper street....then the commercial is about the release of the Judge Dredd DVD...Paper view MMA match on January xx, 2013....now its a trailer for the new Sylvester Stallone movie coming out titled 'Bullet to the head'....bullet to the head!!!!! This is what i'm seeing on my television on a daily basis!!! If my television is not depicting violence then its so form sex...

 

But to blame one genre for tragedy's that heppen everyday is ridiculous.

Jan 17, 2013 8:38PM
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First person shooters do desensitize in my opinion. But Hollywood and the TV industry are the biggest offenders.

 

If gun violence was removed from movies and TV, they're wouldn't be much left to watch!

 

My view is that violence in entertainment is far more disgusting and obscene than what is currently classified as porn.

Jan 17, 2013 8:38PM
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You need to ask if VIDEO GAMES are PART of the problem? Of course, they are. So are violent MOVIES, TV shows, violent MUSIC, the GANGSTER CULTURE, the VAMPIRE fanatacism, DRUGS, DRINKING, and cultural stuff I am way to old to know about. BAD or LOOSE PARENTING is hugely contributable.

 

These things create in some people, an absence of conscious, and a mental framework desensitized to the sort of moral understandings that I grew up with...even though I was a HUGE fan of the bang-bang cowboy movies.

 

Guns are the least significant part of the problem - except for one thing: these soul-less people are devoid of the courage to do their hideous deeds without guns - OR - in the face of armed opposition, like in a Texas theater last month, or in Kalispell, MT just last week.

 

If they really want to work for a cure for our societal crisis, gun laws have the least prospect for success.

 

Jan 17, 2013 8:38PM
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http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2013/01/10/dont-blame-video-games-for-real-world-violence/

Jan 17, 2013 8:38PM
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This is absolutely ridiculous. Another case of our government looking for any possible way to get money and pass the laws and bans they want. Complete B.S. I've played video games, violent and non-violent since I was a little kid, from Wolfenstein 3-D to now playing Call of Duty Black Ops 2.  I've owned guns, responsibly, never even so much as pulled a gun on another person, never had the desire or urge to kill anyone, let alone go on a rampage, I watch violent movies, I listen to heavy metal and rap, and, guess what, I've never killed anyone.  The parents are a large part of the problem here, there is no discipline and respect in society anymore and it shows.  Parents and schools do not teach kids that kind of stuff anymore.  There seems to be a much higher number of people with severe mental illness than there used to be and I think the government should use their resources to find out why that is instead of banning things, taxing things, and taking away our rights as American citizens.  All our government cares about is their personal interests and agendas and that right there is another huge problem.

Jan 17, 2013 8:37PM
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I agree....don't show it on the news....out of site out of mind......how can you get fame on television if the national networks don't show it...i think a paper is fine but cable and the internet make these kids look famous......i say never give them one minute in the spot light...... kind of like most people know "the U.S. Government" does not negotiate with terrorist under any circumstance......i think you would see even more terrorism, abductions and ransoms if the United States gov't did indeed negotiate with terrorist and criminals.  
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