Violence in Video Games

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Violence in Video Games
Kadie Lawrence

The controversy concerning violence in video games dates back to the release of Death Race in 1976[i], a game in which the player runs over “gremlins” loosely depicting human stick figures with a car. Since its uproarious rejection by parents and educators, production of the game was ceased, however not before protestors forcibly removed the game from arcades and burned them in parking lots. It had been reported that the original working title of the game was Pedestrian. Programmers and video game enthusiasts would argue that this kind of reaction to a seemingly harmless game is unnecessary and over-the-top, whereas millions of anti-gamers, so to speak, would say that violent video games are corrupting our youth and training them to kill.

In 1999, Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano, co-authors of Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence stated that video games cause players to associate happiness and fulfillment with causing physical pain in others[ii]. However, significant study of the matter shows that gaming does not increase juvenile crime. The number of minors arrested for juvenile murder has decreased 71.9% between 1995 and 2008[iii], just as the number of juvenile arrests in total has fallen by 49.3%. [iv]In the same time frame, video game sales have more than quadrupled. Several studies that would show otherwise use unreliable means of study, such as noise blast tests and there is a considerable lack of studies that monitor children and teens over extended periods of time.[v]

It has been said that video games also decrease social skills in gamers ranging from children to teens to adults. The truth could not be more contrary as recent studies show that video games in fact increase social interaction. The results of a study of 1,102 subjects between twelve and seventeen years of age are that gaming is a social experience. 76% play games with others, 65% of...
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