School Violence and Video Games

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Grand Theft Auto, Doom, Mortal Kombat, and Resident Evil. One thing all these games have in common is they are all rated M for Mature. The definition of a Mature rating according to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is "Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language." The ESRB states that the "ratings are designed to provide information about video and computer game content, so you can make informed purchase decisions." The ratings consist two parts one is the ratings symbol which can be found on the front of the box. One the back of the box the ESRB also includes a description of the game so the purchaser knows why a game is rated the way it is. Media Scope states that interactive video games revenue that exceeds $18 billion worldwide. That figure is over double what is spent on movies annually. Despite the ratings children have major access to these violent video games. By allowing children and youth access to play these kinds of games are we setting ourselves up for school shootings and violence?

"Meet people from all over the world then kill them" was an advertisement slogan for the video game subspace according to PG News. Additionally according to PG News, in two out of five school massacres video games have been targets of blame. Researchers have also claimed that the military uses video games for training purposes. According to Lt. Col David Grossman, a U.S. Army expert and author of the nook On Killing, point and shoot video games make killing a reflexive response which is why the military uses them for training.

Some researchers feel that children and youth loose touch with reality when they play these violent video games. Children and youth who play video games are also said to be more aggressive. Some research even states that children who are avidly involved in the gaming world performed more inadequately on their academic tasks then children who rarely play video games. Leonard Holmes, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and he agrees with researchers who have stated the violent behavior connection with video games. He also believes that "children tend to imitate the moves that they just 'acted out' in the game they played." This means that children may act out video games scenes with friends for fun.

At www.infoplease.com there is a timeline of school shootings. The first documented story is from 1996 and the last documented story is on March 21, 2005. There are a total of 39 documented school shootings between 1996-today. Each shootings description describes the shooter or shooters as being quiet and reserved. Media violence which includes video games is the most cited source of blame in these shootings. Most people instantly assume that a troubled child would come from a poor neighborhood however "safe and quiet" and "religious/ churchgoing" neighborhoods found to be where majority of the documented shooters resided. Some articles blamed parents, bullies, guns, video games, music artists, mental problems, society. But who or what is truly to blame? Dr. John Grohol, who is a specialist in mental health services, has an interesting approach. He breaks down the shootings and looks at each blame factor. As he states "no where do your hear the blame on the shooter themselves." Dr.Grohol believes the shooters are to blame for their own actions. He believes that video games can not make someone do something that he or she does not want to do. He says that "Millions of kids play violent video games everyday in the U.S. 99.99999% of them do not go around killing their classmates because of it." He feels that if video games were the cause of school shooting then we would have shootings everyday all day long. So is it right to stop the sales of certain violent video games because of possible false blaming? Some children's parents may feel they are...
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