Obama Wants More Violent Video Game Studies, and That’s Okay

As defensive as I am about video games, and my right to enjoy them like any other form of speech, I draw the line at declaring we don't need any more knowledge.

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Carolyn Kaster / AP

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, gestures as he talks about proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington.

Here’s an interesting fact that came out of the recent debate over gun control: Thanks to the U.S. Congress, the government has been unable to fully research firearm safety for the last 16 years.

In 1996, as Reuters tells it, the National Rifle Association pressured lawmakers into cutting $2.6 million worth of Centers for Disease Control funding, which was being used for firearms research. Congress later restored the funds, but with a restriction on any research that “may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” Apparently the NRA had been dismissing past studies as “anti-gun propaganda,” but it’s hard to see the group as anything but afraid of what we might learn through more research.

Now that President Obama wants Congress to fund research into violent video games, I’m sad to see a parallel among some of my fellow gamers and game journalists, who think the government should just leave games alone.

“Dear Mr. President, We are not ignorant about the relationship between media including videogames and violence. Studies show there isn’t one,” Garnett Lee, Editorial Director of GameFly Media, wrote on Twitter.

“No matter how many studies show no links, it’ll never be seen as a reason to not fund another one,” Wired Editor Chris Kohler wrote.

Sorry, but I can’t join in on this collective freak out. For as defensive as I am about video games, and my right to enjoy them like any other form of speech, I draw the line at declaring we don’t need any more knowledge.

True, there isn’t much strong evidence to prove that violent video games make children violent in the real world. That’s why, in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to let California outlaw the sale of violent games to minors. The state didn’t have enough evidence to prove that violent video games cause violence — certainly not more than any other media — so just like the movie and music industries, the video game industry gets to regulate itself. It uses its own ratings system, and retailers take it upon themselves not to sell mature-rated games to minors. They happen to do an extremely good job, too, according to the FTC.

But just because existing research doesn’t link violent games with violent behavior doesn’t mean we know everything there is to know about how these games affect us. Just today, Kotaku published a lengthy story on everything we do know from violent games research. One of the most surprising takeaways: hardly anyone has studied whether video games are bigger primers for aggression than non-interactive media, such as movies. As Polygon reports, the CDC has supported violent media research before, and believes there’s more work to be done. We shouldn’t be afraid of that.

We also shouldn’t be afraid of the implications. There is a serious debate to be had about whether a certain level of media violence — I’m talking really gruesome, depraved stuff — deserves the same type of classification as pornography, which is illegal to sell to minors in the United States. The Supreme Court actually allowed for this possibility in its 2011 ruling, but it tossed out California’s violent game law in part because it was too broadly-defined, and because it unfairly targeted video games instead of all media. The government long ago decided that minors shouldn’t be allowed to see hardcore sex on the belief that it’s harmful, so either we start figuring out similar parameters for media violence, or we decide that trying to legally prevent minors from seeing anything is an impractical and misguided enterprise. Either way, it’s hard to have that debate without more knowledge about how violent media affects us.

I do wish Obama hadn’t singled out video games over all other media in Wednesday’s briefing to the press. And I admit that the parallel to the NRA’s crackdown on firearms research is a bit unfair. After all, guns literally are weapons; video games are not. One of these things is clearly more dangerous to possess than the other, and unless you’re NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, it shouldn’t be hard to recognize which.

The good news is that the Obama administration seems to be aware of all this, and I don’t see much evidence that there’s a video game witch hunt at hand. Obama’s official memorandum on gun violence research doesn’t specifically mention video games at all, and mentions the importance of giving parents the tools to decide what media their children consume. Even the video game industry’s main trade group, the Entertainment Software Association, is okay with Obama’s push for more research. That’s a pretty good indication that the government isn’t coming after our right to virtually shoot aliens in the face. It just wants to know more about what happens in our brains when we do. So should we.

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39 comments
holy24hoursnow
holy24hoursnow

Obama kills babies and heterosexuality he's the real killer!

ValKain
ValKain

Not this again.  Fine, while were at it, lets do a study of all things bad and attempt to ban more than just violent games and gun.    I mean this is a dead and beaten horse, but they continue using a sliver of an association to bring something under trial to validate their ludicrous belief of cause and effect.

Based on that, I propose additional studies to ban the following because there's a chance (Column A)  has evil nasty side effects that result in (Column B).

(Column A) - (Column B)

Cooking Oils - Adds fat and causes Obesity

Pornography - Leads to cheaters, sexual predators, crimes, divorces and pedophiles

Teachers - Because when a kid turns into a delinquent, the teacher obviously are not doing enough to raise people's children to instill good discipline.  I mean it's not a parents job to raise kids right?

Facebook/Youtube/Twitter - Because it violates the 5th Amendment.  You just know the guy that robbed the bank last week tweeted about it and has pictures of new bling on facebook.followed by a youtube video saying fu to the feds and that they can't be caught.

Alcohol - can cause liver damage, bad decisions, drunk driving and waking up to a complete and ugly stranger


Oh wait they did ban Alcohol at one point.  How well did that go again?

Short summary, my ludicrous list of what needs to be studied and banned is no different than this witch hunt over video games an guns.  Pointless, ineffective and like prohibition, cannot be stopped. 


You cannot eliminate from society from past video games.

You cannot eliminate from society from being able to create video games

You cannot eliminate from society, information and access to other countries who do not follow your laws (e.g the Great Firewall of China)


Money and energy needs to be focused elsewhere.

guitardude
guitardude

As Nr3 said the M-rated and AO rated games should be legally enforced...however with games that are T-rated it's understandable to sell by if the customer looks over 13...most people don't even get their first form of id till at least 15 so it's a bit difficult to control the sale of those games+ it's easy for the most part to tell if someone looks over 13. Personally I believe that the sale of mature and adult video games should be controlled the same way that cigarettes are controlled: If you look under 30 you're asked for photo verification of your age. The worst part however is that if violent video games are banned there is a possibility of a domino effect...eventually things like paintball and air-soft will be attacked for "promotion of violence" and "simulation training to commit violent acts". My parents were not exactly supportive of me when I was 16 years old getting into air-soft, but after taking me to a game and meeting all the friendly ex military and other adult players who took me under their wings they left and had no problem with me playing. I know this thread is not about air-soft, but what i'm saying is when people see or hear about something which they have not been involved with and do not truly understand they misinterpret everything about it. A "concerned" adult who watches a game of paintball or air-soft may say it encourages violent behavior but what they do not see is the joking between teams and people and the family-like feeling when you're out on the field and even in the background while no one is playing. Joe Biden and the NRA head (whatever his name is) look at these video games like someone who is stepped foot into completely foreign ground...there's a feeling of culture shock for them and they do not understand anything about these games. The games are not created to promote violence or make violence "cool". A violent video game is just a movie which you control...most people like things going BOOM, cop chases, and etc. Of course most people playing these games would pee their pants if something like that happened in real life. I've even see a car on fire in front of me before...I pulled up about 75 feet away behind it to make sure no one was in and called 911; it's nothing to laugh about in real life and the people trying to ban the games see kids in their heads playing them all day and exhibiting antisocial behavior...in reality most players are 17+ with friends ordering pizzas just having a good time while going to school  or going to work and being productive and well-mannered citizens. I'd honestly support a 1% price increase to go toward mental illness research or even charging $5 extra for research, but not a 1% tax increase on the violent games to go toward a pointless government agenda. There is room for reasonable modifications of rights granted by the constitution, but this is nothing but a violation caused by misinterpretation, bad parenting, and a need to seem like our government is doing something productive and  an act to boost egos by showing "patriotism" and acting as true "leaders, and this case, i'd say dictators because when it comes to actual important issues affecting everyone like the debt ceiling they can't get anything done...it's all just an act to distract. 

Nr3
Nr3

If the game industry would simply stop puttin video-games as a child or teenage-only thing then it wouldn't have the problems it's facing now. Infact, parents should be held LEGALLY responsible too for handing material not suitable for the age-group of the player. I strongly agree that mature materials should be kept out of the hands of minors and those who's age(the player) is not suitable for said materials. The same is done with pornography and acholhol, so why not-videogames. You can't flash pornography stuff on Youtube or National Television WITHOUT restrictions, so why not video-games.

So, if a video-game is rated M+17 guess what? A 16 year old shouldn't be playing it,neither should an 8-year old. It's time for the video-game industry to stop treating AO-Tittles as the "Kiss of Death" and start embracing them. It would save both themselves and older-gamers future headaches with this who "violent or graphic video-game=automatically associated with how it affects a minor".  

If your game is rated for an older audience, there should be NO need to grant permission for 13-YEAR OLDS on the site or inside the game by so called 'Terms of Service'. This is VERY common and can be seen on almost any gaming website in the United States. It's disgusting because I know what's in the content of the game thatI buy, and that these same games with mature themes are being exposed to younger people should not be allowed.

TGrant
TGrant

For thousands of years, children spent large amounts of time working and playing alongside their parents in extended family groups. Implicit/procedural knowledge, social intelligence, transmission of language and culture; and the ability to correctly perceive reality was the result of direct physical experience (embodied and enacted cognition).  By contrast, some scientists are looking to children held in detention for long periods because of war, famine, or other extreme conditions to understand our current situation. Its not the video games themselves that are the problem. It is that they take up time during critical windows of development biologically reserved for other processes. Vigorous outdoor movements not only enhance muscle growth, but they also support the healthy development of the heart and lungs, stimulate the digestive system, help improve appetite, and increase the growth and development of the fundamental nervous centers in the brain for clearer thought and increased learning abilities. Like a Jenga game, if a child has an large enough number of developmental gaps--when a life crisis or catastrophic event occurs (as they often do) - a complete collapse can occur.

WilliamWhalen
WilliamWhalen

I'm a video gamer.  I love violent, gory video games and I have played them since I was 8 years old.  I am also a pacifist, a vegan, and an advocate for world peace.  Games aren't reality - but parents aren't teaching their kids about reality.  EVERYTHING is a bad influence when there is no parental guidance.

ChristianOrtiz
ChristianOrtiz

Ill be honest getting rid of video games is just gonna make the majority of America pissed off and angry and there will be a whole lot of violence by taking something like this away from people not to mention even if you do people will either move to do what they want or order online. Violence in people isnt in video game or movies its on how they were raised and what they do with life. I've played violent games of all sort but im not going around crazy trying to kill people, why because i was well raised and i understand the difference between right and wrong, reality and fiction.


PANATAG
PANATAG

PRIMARY OBLIGATION OF "CHURCH OFFICIALS"  

TO RELAY SENTIMENTS SPECIALLY OF ITS OWN MEMBERS & 

NOT ASSISTS IN PERFECT ACCOMPLISHMENT OF CRIMES*

*PLS ASSISTS US IN IDENTIFYING THE ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES 

PLS! SPECIFY LEGAL REASONS WHY THE AUTHORITIES CHOOSE TO DISPLAY THEIR IDENTITY  IN DOWNTOWN AREAS

RESTRICT FROM MS USE, ABUSE OF USING YOUR PLACE MANY PEOPLE SUFFER & CONTINUE TO SUFFER DUE TO ILLWGAL REASONS 

Step11
Step11

Remember when we thought that Rock N' Roll music was contributing to the delinquency of our youth?  And when we said the same things about comic books in the 80's?

Or when we thought that playing heavy metal music backwards made kids commit suicide?

Or when Dungeons and Dragons was contributing to devil worship?

Seeing a pattern yet?

Basnig
Basnig

My nephew is 10 yrs old and he has been playing video games since he was 5. He gets in trouble in school because what he considers play with his classmates and friends actually physically hurt. When I confronted him a few times about this, he seemed confused and did not understand how playing with karate, boxing and all those other moves used in video games can actually hurt. I explained to him several times that in video games, the characters recover and move on, but in real life, people can get badly hurt and can even be killed by those moves.


Whoever is contesting that seriously looking into violence in video games is narrow minded and selfish. It's about time the executive government start looking into this issue.

bonjublog
bonjublog

SERIOUSLY? YOUR OPINION IS DRECK. Video games violent or not - come on now! Stupidest argument ever. Well then....what about those WARNER BROTHERS CARTOONS BABIES LISTEN TO UP TO THE AGE OF 5? Hmmm- Rabbit that talk and then hit other animals on the head? A hunter who hunts the rabbit and gets pounded into the ground like a nail? Really? What about that genius? 

Oh violence yes - it's caused by video games! Of course! How silly of me! Let's ban all the games - Well what about the books that are violent? DAN BROWN CAN'T PUBLISH ANOTHER VIOLENT BOOK ABOUT RELIGIOUS ITALY!!! THAT'S A NO NO. 

SERIOUSLY?  It's mental. If we move against our freedoms what is left NOTHING - NOTHING IS LEFT.  Seriously? Really? Jared? Helllllloooo Jared.

Violence has been a part of mankind's history since recorded time (I'm writing thru gritted teeth- my dentist is happy). If we had a cure for it don't you think we would have used it by now? Huh? Yes, AND, what about the parents of these kids? Hmmm you don't think they have anything to do with their kid's being violent?

THINK AGAIN. If you want to get rid of violence STOP PEOPLE FROM HAVING VIOLENT KIDS. If you ban alcohol - people will go out of their way to drink it (speakeasies). If you ban drugs (people will go out of their way to get them) , 

THE KEY TO VIOLENCE STARTS WITH THE PARENTS. IF THEY DON'T DO THEIR JOB- WE ALL SUFFER. PUT THE PARENTS IN JAIL. 

CURE: STOP HAVING KIDS. WE HAVE TOO MANY OF THEM ON THE PLANET AS IT IS. THAT'S ALL I HAVE TO WRITE.

Marlot
Marlot

"Either way, it’s hard to have that debate without more knowledge about how violent media affects us." This sentence appears near then end of Mr. Newman's piece. Whether or not ongoing research on the matter of video game influence on behavior ever ends, it is true that both the United States Marines and the United States Army (of which I am a past member) have both developed and are marketing violent 1st person shooter video games. I believe that this indicates that the training aspects of video games toward shooting and killing have already been established. And that the product of these decisions on the part of the Marines and the Army are taxpayer supported.

How much more research is needed to determine the relationship between violent video games and the incentive to shooting and killing is a moot point. That relationship has already been determined and put into practice. And of course, lots of money is being made. Hard to stop that.


aero405
aero405

"I don’t see much evidence that there’s a video game witch hunt at hand."

I don't know about that. As someone in the science/research community, my concern is that a bias (and witch hunt) arises simply from the way the funding is provided in a case like this. If your lab is funded to study the gun-game correlation in the context of the political hot-button issue, which results do you think would be more prestigious/publishable: finding a correlation, or not? I'm not even saying the researchers would be explicitly unethical, but they may simply work harder to find the results the POTUS apparently expects, or keep looking as long as they don't. At the same time, is anyone going to study whether violent video games might actually *reduce* violence by giving people a virtual outlet for violent tendencies? Probably not.

commentonitall
commentonitall

"deserves the same type of classification as pornography, which is illegal to sell to minors in the United States."  There are age restrictions though.  Games rated M are not sold to minors, an ID is needed.  How can you not know this working in the industry and playing video games yourself?  Gamestop, Toys R us, Walmart, Bestbuy and others will not sell M rated games to minors.  I take issue with the video game research because publications just like times show pictures of dead people and talk about all the horrible violence occurring daily in the world, yet there is no type of age restriction put on the content, anyone who can read is able to read about violence and see pictures of it ad nauseum.  What type of affect does reporting on violence have?  Why has that never been studied?  Why is it okay for media outlets to write about tragedies in order to get ad revenue?  Why is it okay to take Sandyhook and talk about it for weeks because media TV stations wants everyone to watch their network programming over others?  The answer is it's not and you can't single out one platform because it's a political hot button or trending issue.  It makes America look dumber than it already looks.  The real issue with all these shootings that no one wants to address is mental health.  Funding for mental health has gone on a steep decline the past few years.  In turn look what has happened in the past few years and how many of the people involved had mental health issues?  There is a correlation worth studying, yet no one wants the answer because it equals spending money on something no one wants to.  To hell with new gun laws, lets take a serious look at what is available to people in society with mental health issues and the types of help available to them.  If the mental health issue continues to get no support and more funding is continued to be taken away, then violent acts will only increase no matter what type of restrictions you put on firearms.  Not to mention banning assault weapons will make a great new form of revenue for the black market, which you can't regulate.  I'd rather know who has one and where they live than guess who might have one.


DanMan'99
DanMan'99

@Basnig Why the hell is a 10-year old playing violent video games?

JB821
JB821

@Basnig Why in the hell is a 5-10 year old playing violent video games? This is a prime example of a complete failure in parenting. You would think the parents would have enough intelligence to censor their child, if not they're unfit to be a parent.

Nr3
Nr3

The game industry has done this 10 million worth Disease and Control assestment to themselves, and the government has now wasted tax money that could be going to more meaningful and urgent things on a piece of plastic case and disc. Game Industry have made video-games a big 'child's only' plaything and now their reaping what they sow. You want to sell adult-like material to kids in your 'games' then deal with the consequences whether other "gamers" like it or not. It's pretty sad the game industry refuses to realize that the average gamer is atleast 30 years old and not some minor they need to keep selling their products to.

And for those crying about wanting "morals" in Mature-rated games(skimpy clothes or violence), you can't cry about the content of the game yet do a hypocrite stance and hand your child those materials that are disagreed with or ignoring that your teen is getting into things they have no business poking around with. It's called PARENTAL, RESPONSIBILITY.

newmanjb
newmanjb

@bonjublog You seem to be arguing against nothing that I wrote in the article.

Step11
Step11

@Marlot It's a shame that your belief is trumping what was already ruled upon by the Supreme Court, as well as studies have shown that the evidence is inconclusive at best.

Also, your belief ignores that other countries that have the same access to the "harmful media" that the U.S. does (ie. Canada) and they don't have anywhere near the levels of gun violence, yet have stricter gun laws.  See a correlation?

newmanjb
newmanjb

@aero405 That's a fair point. Right now, though, we don't even know what the CDC is looking to find. There are already lots of studies that claim to prove/not prove a link. I at least hope that the CDC wouldn't just try to pile on top of that, and would instead try to answer some different types of questions, like how video games compare to movies/sports/other things, not just whether they prime aggression. (Also, the flip side: Maybe POTUS expects to find little evidence and make a stronger case that guns are really the problem, not media.)

newmanjb
newmanjb

@commentonitall From the article:

"the video game industry gets to regulate itself. It uses its own ratings system, and retailers take it upon themselves not to sell mature-rated games to minors. They happen to do an extremely good job, too, according to the FTC."

I'm well aware of the industry's self-regulation. The question is whether there's a level of violent content that's so gruesome that it needs to be sales-restricted. Just like with the movie industry: Everything up to hardcore porn (G - NC 17) is self-regulated, but there's still some stuff that is illegal to sell to minors.

Basnig
Basnig

Let me make a clarification here -- my post said "karate, boxing and all those other moves used in video games" --- video games that are not even classified VIOLENT -- FYI - those are E classified. IF you are all reading that as violent - then clearly, there is something that needs to be seriously looked at in the gaming industry. And just like the NRA misinterpreting and overblowing everything, looking seriously into violence in video games does not mean taking ALL video games away, in the same way that gun control means taking away a citizen's right to bear arms. And yeah, this is a perfect world, and everyone can be a good parent because divorce never happens, single moms or single dads don't exist, and everyone has the time to be a full time mom or parent or have all the resources to hire excellent nannys and all that, and therefore, we don't need to regulate anything outside the home because we have perfect control inside.


Basnig
Basnig

@JB821 Point taken. I agree there is a parenting issue right there. But how many parenting cases are out there? I don't know if you have children, and if you do, you'd know that kids will find ways to play these games outside of the home. It still does not take away from the fact that violence in video games influence violent behavior and needs to be looked at seriously.

commentonitall
commentonitall

@newmanjb @commentonitall

Videogames already have 18+ ratings and stores wont sell them. So you really thinking the earn is going to risk a lawsuit by not rating something appropriately? What you propose is redundant. Now why not answer this question. Why is tmrw not age restricted? I have seen pictures of mass graves and mutilated bodies, I have read stories about rape, murder, suicide, yet I saw no barrier keeping young people from seeing it. How do you defend that? You know something the world had no idea what a school shooting was until the media reported on it. It was all you saw for weeks, just like all the terrible tragedies that have followed. Where do you think these sick minds that have carried out these horrendous acts got the idea to do so? It wasn't a videogame, it was the news media. Younger generations see it and that is where the idea is born from. Why does the world need to know about sandy hook and would it have happened if the news media stopped caring about their ad revenue and ratings for one minute and realize what they have helped to create? The media needs to realize they are number two in evil right behind the sick minds that carefully out these acts because they give them a voice, a face, and out their message out there for the world to see. Answer these questions for me and the rest of us.

Step11
Step11

@JB821 Yeah, the NRA also left out of their speech their biggest possible future recruiters for membership in the video game world.  They mentioned ten year old video games like Slaughterhouse and Mortal Kombat (games that don't feature really much in the way of firearms if at all) and didn't breathe a word about the super modern military shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield. Can't bite the hand that might feed you in the future.

JB821
JB821

@Step11 I agree, just look at the NRA, they stated that violent video games cause violence, not the actual weapons that are used for the crime.

JB821
JB821

Violence isn't only in video games, Its in every facet of our society. TV, movies, and primarily news. Look at NBC, CNN, and CBS, what do you see on the front page? Stories about murders, rapes, fatal wrecks, and glamorization of mass shootings like Newtown. Singling out video games as the cause for aggressive behavior is overall ineffective. Of course if you give a small child video games they will show aggressive behavior, children are very impressionable and act by example. Whoever would let a small child play these games is beyond me.

Step11
Step11

@Basnig @JB821  

What fact?  Research studies (including those reviewed by the Supreme Court) shows that video games influencing violent behavior is inconclusive at best.  

 I'm not saying that this concludes all research into the matter, but there's a point where you got to start asking why people are asking the same question over and over again with the same results being none or inconclusive if they're looking for an agenda for blame rather than actual insight into a connection or not.

commentonitall
commentonitall

@newmanjb @commentonitall 


Thank you for the well thought out reply, it just comes off to me as a witch hunt, much like the Elvis pelvic thrust was supposedly the downfall of youth during it's time.  Human beings by nature are violent animals, make no mistake, we are animals no matter how you slice it.  The more populated the earth gets and the more we medicate with synthetic drugs the worse things are going to get.  The broken windows theory pretty much sums up the behavior of today, only instead actually needing to be in the physical vicinity for the theory to apply the internet now allows for the physical vicinity to be global.  Humans think too much of themselves and like the theory stating it, the simplest answer is usually the correct one. 

commentonitall
commentonitall

@Nr3 


The game is rated mature, meaning 18 +, so your nc-17 rating is meaningless, not to mention your nc-17 ratings means someone who is 17 and older can watch it, which is less restrictive than the 18+ they plaster on the box.  Then again people with knee jerk reactions are usually the smart ones right?  Maybe if parents did their job instead of wanting others to do it life would be better, because looking at a box and seeing the numbers 18+ and the letter M meaning mature is so hard to figure out.

Nr3
Nr3

It's questionable when that AO rating when games like Far Cry 3 can get away with sex-scenes (no gentials shown but it is very sexual) in a M-17+ titled game.

The character is literally having sex with a chick on a stone table and the camera bumps and moves around as he is "doing it".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2xycweeQNM

But before that he slices the throat of his friend with a knife and blood pours out. So he graphically murders his female friend by slicing her throat, then has raunchy sex on a stone table.

newmanjb
newmanjb

@commentonitall @newmanjb I guess I should have been clearer then. But in the article I do use the term "media violence" several times and not "video game violence" (including the paragraph that we're focusing on in this thread), and I do say that I wish Obama hadn't singled out video games in particular.

But I do think both things--violent media in general and video games in particular--are deserving of study. As I noted, hardly anyone has even looked at how the effect of video games differs from other kinds of media. It may not be any worse. It may just be different. But we don't really know and I think it'd be interesting to learn more. Heck, I've always been really curious about how video games compare to, say, watching/playing football, which by most measures is a pretty violent sport. I haven't seen any studies that talk about that either.

commentonitall
commentonitall

@newmanjb @commentonitall 

If by more research you mean all media, including news then I agree.  If you mean more research into video games solely then that is hypocritical and based on what you wrote in your article it seems the latter, no missing the point on my end.

newmanjb
newmanjb

@commentonitall In video games, AO is basically the equivalent of NC17. It's still self-regulated but not invoked very often. But there's still a level beyond that--straight-up porn--that's illegal to sell to minors. I'm asking if there's a level of media violence that deserves the same classification.

My personal feeling is that you can't really age-restrict things anymore. It's incredibly naive to think adolescent teens don't have access to porn because they can't walk into an adult video store and buy a DVD. The same is inevitably true of violent media. You can't stop it, you can only hope to educate people. It's easier to do that when you actually know what the effects of consuming this stuff are.

I have zero interest in seeing certain types of media banned, or blaming tragedies on video games or other media. My whole point with the article--and maybe it's my fault that the vast majority of commenters here have completely missed it--is that we can always use more research. That doesn't mean video games should be banned, or blamed for national tragedies. That's ridiculous. But if we start declaring that knowledge is bad, that we shouldn't be studying this stuff anymore, we've been just as bad as the NRA.

DanMan'99
DanMan'99

@commentonitall  The level of shootings in the US has actually been DROPPING since the 1930's. It's the media elevating them from "local tragedy" to "national news" that makes it seem like there is more then ever. Also, years ago, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all agreed that they would never let an AO-rated game (AO= adults only) be published for thier systems. So, this ruckus isn't near as bad as it sounds. Video games didn't cause the shooting, guns didn't cause the shooting. A mad man caused the shooting. He didn't even own the guns. He stole them from his mom (who probably had them solely for self defence). Also, good point about violence and the news. I have seen plenty of gruesome covers/pictures in news magazines and sites, as well as newspapers. Who's going to censor those?