Argument on Banning Violent Video Games

Topics: Video game controversy, Violence, Video game Pages: 5 (1429 words) Published: November 14, 2010
T.J. Watkins

Dr. Marohl

English 112-4202S

June 10, 2010

No to Banning Violent Video Games

Over the past five decades there has been a discussion over violent media. This has included movies, music, music videos and television. Since 1990, there has been another venue on the chopping block, video games. Although video games have been around since the 70’s, the ones mainly considered in this argument have only been around for the last ten years. Some of the titles of these games are Doom, Grand Theft Auto, Warcraft and Manhunt. These are some of the games that have been the focal point of this discussion because of their violent content. On one side you have concerned parents and politicians, and on the other you have the video game industry. The reason why violent video games are argued is the same reason why the other aspects of “media violence” are discussed, because it is believed that these games cause the people who play them to have violent tendencies or aggressive behavior. The main focus is on that of adolescents and their behaviors after playing these games. The argument here is not whether these games cause aggressive behavior, but whether or not the government has the right to step in and ban a person’s form of art or free speech. Video games are just an interactive movie. Does this mean that violent movies should be banned? Who is the overall responsible party in allowing children to play or not to play violent video games?

Most of the research involving violent video games has only been done over the past decade. Short term studies do, however, show that there is a link between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior. Craig A. Anderson, a member of the Psychology Department at Iowa State University has been one of the leading researchers in the debate over violent media. Mr. Anderson has used historical data along with current studies to help show the correlation between aggressive behavior and violent video games. In his article, for the scholarly journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, he states “Research on violent television and films, video games, and music reveals unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and long-term contexts” (81). Most of his research was involving most of the other areas of violent media and not violent video games. There were only two studies specifically involving violent video games and he concluded with “Neither of these two longitudinal studies has all of the desired features needed to draw strong longitudinal conclusions about effects of violent video games on aggression. Nonetheless, both are strongly suggestive” (91). Though Mr. Anderson’s studies found some positive correlations between violent media, video games included, this is not a cause and effect outcome. The choice of words used to defend the argument are “likelihood” and “strongly suggestive”, which are not convincing enough to give aid to the rally for banning violent media or video games specifically.

Another study conducted by Craig A. Anderson and colleagues, focused on the cognition or mental functioning of persons playing violent video games exclusively. After playing a violent video game, Mr. Anderson used a battery of tests, such as: self reports, reactions times, and word stem completion, and he was able to make a positive correlation between aggressive cognitions and video games. In Mr. Anderson’s article for Psychological Science September 2001 issue he quotes, “Violent video games increased aggressive affect in males and females, in children and adults, and in experimental and nonexperimental studies, suggesting that violent video games may also increase aggression by increasing feelings of anger and hostility” (358). Unfortunately, Mr. Anderson cannot conduct a study to see how long an individual will remain aggressive after repeated exposure to violent video games, or...

Cited: Anderson, Craig A., et al. “The Influence of Media Violence on Youth” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4.3 (2003): 81-110. JSTOR. Web. 6 Feb.2010.
Anderson, Craig A. and Brad J. Bushman. “Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Psychological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior” Psychological Science 12.5 (2001): 353-359. JSTOR. Web. 6 Feb. 2010.
Gledhill, Lynda. “ Violent Video Games under Fire in Assembly/ Bill Banning Minors from Buying M Rated Volumes has its Foes” San Francisco Chronicle 5 April 2004. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 3 Jun. 2010.
Holland Jesse, J. “Supreme Court will Rule whether California can keep Violent Video Games from Kids” The Canadian Press 26 Apr. 2010. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 3 Jun. 2010.
Price, Marie. “Federal Judge Strikes Down Ohio’s Violent Video Game Law” The Journal Record [Oklahoma City, OK] 18 Sep. 2007. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 3 June 2010.
“Violent Video Games is Banning the Right Answer” The New Zealand Herald 5 Sep. 2009. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 3 Jun. 2010.
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