Video Games & Violence
Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility
Instructor: Wendell Johnson
March 11, 2013
Our real day to day life is saturated so much violence, we need an escape from reality. It is difficult to vote away that violence and aggression. Instead of dealing with the actual crimes the legislators, not surprisingly want to deal with fictional and fantasy images of aggression portrayed in the video games. Gang members don't commit drive-by shootings simply because they played a video game, nor do school kids shoot others simply because they played a video game. (Richards and Calvert, 2005) On the other hand the highest levels of aggression were found among teenagers who played violent video games and strongly identified with the main character. Researchers think that adolescent boys with low educational skill are very susceptible to the effects of violent video games and can influence them to act more violently in the real world. (Mansoor, 2008) Chris Ferguson, a professor at Texas A&M and one leading researcher in the field of media violence said, "There are over 100 studies at this point that in some way or another tap into video game violence and aggression and most of them are horrible”. Many experiments show null effects to the subjects and the researchers tend to think that something went wrong. One of his experiments for example was students from the local university were split into two groups, randomly picked. One group played the shooter game Medal of Honor and the other group played the adventure game Myst III. "No link, either causal or correlational, was found between violent-video-game playing and aggressive or violent acts," Ferguson wrote. (Schreier, 2013) Eventually, Ferguson had a meeting with several leaders in the gaming industry and the vice president Joe Biden, to speak about video games that are violent. It is his opinion that there are three things that could be fixed with today’s research. The first of the three are: many of the studies are not focusing on children; they are only focusing on college students. The second of the three are; in Ferguson's opinion, with current studies, it is not ideal for what they have to measure for testing aggression. They call the third flaw the methodological flexibility problem, Ferguson said. Researcher can pick and choose outcomes to fit whatever hypotheses they have because more than a few of the testing procedures used in the experiments are very flexible. Researchers love this so they can make the results fit whatever they want, it does not have to be the truth. (Schreier, 2013) Next, Ferguson is getting support from the U.S. legislation. The Supreme Court in 2011 demolishes a law that would have made it criminal for stores to sell violent video games to kids. When the highly mediated case was finished, the Supreme Court had figured out that there was no positive connection between video games and aggression/violent acts. They wrote that “Most of the violent game studies suffer from significant and admitted flaws in methodology”. (Schreier, 2013)
It is concluded from what Ferguson has pointed out and friends that play video games that their experiences with the games in general, that society wants to blame them for anyone’s violent or aggressive tendencies. There are studies out there that say video games can be relaxing for people. People playing can take out their frustrations out on the game instead of anyone in real life. Games are good for hand/eye coordination, making quick decisions, designing and building, these are just to name a few things.
Those who follow utilitarianism would probably agree that it would be in the best interest to just play the video games. Utilitarianism’s theory is that people have free will to choose what makes them the happiest and to pick what act helps their happiness along. There is nothing wrong with playing video games and...
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