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Videogames and Violence: Is there a Link?

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avatar skipper587
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
72
Warning! Below you will find an analysis of the argument 'Videogames cause violent behaviour.' This is a scholarly essay, so do not expect this to be a light read. Similarly, this is an argument analysis, not an argument. I am not making a case for either side, simply presenting both sides of the argument for readers to evaluate. All debate will be constrained to the comments. So, without further ado, here is my evaluation.

For a gamer like myself, hearing others talk about gaming from the outside looking in has always been frustrating. As with many things in the past, there are many who rise too quickly to condemn the things they dono t understand. This has always been a trait that humanity has possessed, and it has brutally followed us through our history. However, the converse is true as well. Many gamers rise too quickly to attack those who would label gamers as lazy or make suggestions that video gaming has a negative effect on oneo s social capacity. And all the while beneath the noise of the argument on the surface, an emerging art form sits unnoticed. For if you really take the time to step back from whichever stereotype you hold about videogames, it is impossible to mistake the universes that development studios imagine for anything other than art.

Despite this, there is no doubt that there is a taint in the clear water of the video game industry. The argument that video gaming can and does lead to increased violence in gamers is not without precedent. The topic has made its way into politics, religion, and almost every other major debate field in the world. Positive correlation between video gaming habits and increased acts of aggression has indisputably been shown in many studies by top researchers around the world. So why does the question still remain? Can video gaming in fact lead to violence?

The truth is, it can. At least in part. In a study conducted by Craig Anderson and Brad Bushman of Iowa State University, a positive correlation coefficient of r = .27 was found between those who play videogames and increased aggressive cognition (Anderson, Bushman 358). According to a scale created by Jack Cohen in 1988 ranks as high-small or a low-medium correlation (356). Similar correlations between gaming and physiological arousal and gaming and increased aggressive behaviour were found, both ranked mid-small on Coheno s scale (357-8).

The argument is well established and clear. The results are posted with a confidence interval of 95%, leaving some room for error, although it is a very small window. A negative to this side of the argument is that it fails to discuss where its shortcomings are, almost as if the writers didno t see any problems with their argument. And there are several to be named, too. There is also some concern that the method of study is not narrow enough, however that will be discussed with the counter argument. From the standpoint of analyzing how well the argument covered what the researchers initially set out to discover, it passes with flying colours. So now the burden of proof falls on the other side of the argument.

From the above results, the link between videogames and increased aggression is established. By definition, increased aggressive cognition alone can translate into a violent action. This presents an immediate problem for anyone who would support the now counterclaim in this argument. With such substantial empirical proof that videogames and violence are linked, it is easy to be discouraged from making the case for the opposite side of the argument. However, ito s also easy to make the mistake of believing empirical evidence as truth, and this statement is the foundation of the counterargument.

A study conducted by Michael Ward of the University of Texas at Arlington takes this principle and tests not for a correlation between videogames and violence, but a correlation between other covariates and the sought result (Ward 611). From the counter argumento s standpoint, if it can be shown that there are other possible causes for the violence that is o associatedo with video gaming, then the counter argument can succeed in refuting it. Ward uses gathered Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) responses in an attempt to show that other factors lead to violence more often than video gaming, and succeeds undoubtedly in what he set out to do.

Ward studies the relationship between youth fights and video game habits. The results of the study show that in youth who do not play videogames alone account for 31.94% of the total population field (Ward 620), while increasing percentages are shown as the amount of hours of gaming increases . The results, like those of Anderson and Bushman, show positive correlation between the amount of gaming and increased acts of violence, however Ward succeeds in showing that unaccounted for factors account for more instances of violence than any amount of video gaming. Throughout his analysis, he further streamlines these statistics through complex mathematical formulas which I cannot begin to understand. Finally, Ward arrives at the conclusion that any video game play actually reduces fighting by -1.23% (Ward 621), which shows results counter to the claim made by the opposing side of the argument.

A possible problem that Ward did not discuss was the combined results of gamers and violence vs. non-gamers and violence, for which the percentage actually exceeds that of the latter group. He does, however, acknowledge the link between videogames and an increased rate of violence. Another thing that Ward does well in his argument is that he directly cites the study done by Anderson and Bushman in 2001 while he is explaining the background of his side. Ward also takes the time to note possible problems in and for his argument, which is something that Anderson and Bushman did not. Overall, his argument is sound, and supports the counterclaim side of the argument well.

So what do these results mean? There is strong evidence for both sides of the argument. On one hand, undeniable evidence that video gaming can lead to increased aggression is presented, and on the other equally solid evidence that video gaming and physical acts of violence are less related than the opposing side suggests is shown. As with any engaging argument, the results are decisively left to those who have observed it.

How this applies to Minecraft:

"Everything is good in moderation."

The lesson is in moderation. As with anything, excessive use can and probably is a bad thing. In my opinion, the reason that videogames can lead to violent behaviour in gamers is that many gamers fail to properly moderate their time spent playing and their response to the game. The first study mentioned above discusses all kinds of violence, not just blood and gore violence. This includes cartoon violence like what you see in Minecraft. Just because a game like Minecraft isn't overly violent doesn't mean that it is exempt from this category.

So, fellow PMC-ers, I submit to you this advice: Use your time wisely, but most importantly strive to learn self-control.

So, now it's your turn. Comment below and tell me what you think. Am I right? Tell me how you agree. Am I wrong? Tell me where! See you in the comments.

For more writing like this, be sure to subscribe. If you think I made sense, diamond or favourite.

Cheers,

~Skipp

SkippBlueCCpng




Works Cited

Anderson, Craig, and Brad Bushman. "Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Scientific Literature." Psychological Science. 12.5 (2001): 353-359. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.

Ward, Michael. "Video Games and Adolescent Fighting."Journal of Law and Economics. 53.3 (2010): 611-628. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.

Y'all did it again...

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148 replies

1
04/07/2013 12:46 pm
Level 36 : Artisan Geek
Upper_Echelon
I did a project like this for a persuasive essay at my school
1
04/07/2013 3:56 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
As am I. I'll post a link to the 14 page paper I have due as my Final Exam.
1
04/07/2013 12:38 pm
Level 44 : Master Artist
pyaroshi
I think that if something is presented as "the usual way", it can slowly grow into something usual indeed. And the younger the receiver is, the greater impact it has, since when a child, one interprets everything perceived as the only and so the only right thing. Generally - let's stop making games like Manhunt. These present violnece as 1. something usual and 2. something that exists for itself. There are at least 2 levels of violence using: a. One uses violence to reach something else. b. One uses violence just for the pleasure comming from it. Neither is better but it seems like b. [for mere pleasure] is more pervert because if used to reach something else, it may also be something like freedom or other ideals... I'm not defending violence, I'm just trying to describe different ways of understanding violence. Anyway, if games present violence in either of these ways I described, then they present it to us in the way that we may find quite plausible and so we can say yes, video games do enhance violence. Then there is a question about the people, the receivers of such presentations. If there is no way how to stop game creators flooding us with blood and entrails, we must rely upon kids being strong enough to resist and having their cognitive skills solid enough to understand where the limits are.
1
03/28/2013 12:14 am
Level 4 : Apprentice Architect
Leon333
Big...words...bahh... it burns
1
03/26/2013 10:16 am
Level 18 : Journeyman Pirate
Lightning393
Honestly, it's nice to see such thoughtfulness on PMC. I still haven't regained my faith in humanity after... the... last incident... BUT it's a nice blog.
Perhaps space it out a bit for some readers (extra spacing between lines, page break thingies); All of that clumped together wording tends to scare some readers away.
1
03/26/2013 10:10 am
Level 18 : Journeyman Pirate
Lightning393
1
03/16/2013 6:33 pm
Level 19 : Journeyman Creeper
_CandyCane_
lol that picture
1
03/16/2013 9:38 am
Level 10 : Journeyman Explorer
edlee0220
Haha awesome diamond and favorite and subscribe check out my blogs like who wants to know how to make a server?
1
03/15/2013 10:20 pm
Level 63 : High Grandmaster Button Pusher
Ash
Oooh. Now I have to step up the game and write a blog again :P
1
03/16/2013 1:27 am
Level 25 : Expert Skinner
Turtle
your lips are very snowy...
ie em turtle
1
03/15/2013 10:43 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
You finally get around to reading this! :P
1
03/15/2013 7:24 pm
Level 27 : Expert Geek
Magmalord
"Warning!
Below you will find an analysis of the argument 'Videogames cause
violent behaviour.' This is a scholarly essay, so do not expect this to
be a light read. Similarly, this is an argument analysis, not an
argument. I am not making a case for either side, simply presenting both
sides of the argument for readers to evaluate. All debate will be
constrained to the comments. So, without further ado, here is my
evaluation."

Well, I guess you meant it. :/
1
03/15/2013 3:48 pm
Level 8 : Apprentice Architect
Nanosaxon
I think that when a violent person or mentally ill person play video games they become more violent. Ã A normal good person is alright. A What a lot of people don't know is video games have cut back A HUGE AMOUNT on violence with less blood, unrealistic blood, and less violent scenes. A Yes it exists, but they don't lead to shootings. A Shootings happen because people have something they can't control hurt their life and they lose sanity or mental health. There are very violent cartoons like Happy Tree Friends which are much worse than video games.
1
03/15/2013 10:44 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
However, I never proposed that it led to shootings. I just stated that it increased aggression (which it does).
1
03/15/2013 10:44 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
True story.
1
03/16/2013 7:39 am
Level 8 : Apprentice Architect
Nanosaxon
I know and yes it does increase aggression, but if used right the aggression can be beneficial. It was a good blog and I didn't mean to be rude. Sorry. And ignore random a's in the paper my computer is glitching.
1
03/15/2013 3:34 pm
Level 38 : Artisan Goblin
ItsBill
The obvious answer is that people being violent in nature cause them to play violent video games.
Which then correlates to them being even more violent when they register a blip on the radar. </joke>
But in all seriousness, the sort of people that caused this issue (for example, that one shooter who claimed that they used DOOM to practice firing a gun...) were kind of jerks that would likely have been just as hostile if they didn't play video games anyway.
1
03/15/2013 1:00 pm
Level 40 : Master Architect
TextualJavakid
Maybe it also depends on what kind of a gamer you are. When I play Halo 4, I rage because I'm competitive like that (not because I suck, But because its annoying)
1
03/15/2013 8:00 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
I know this feeling, I'm the same way in Halo 4.
1
03/15/2013 12:41 pm
Level 21 : Expert Geek
WaterCharizard2
The answer to your question is NO ONE CARES :D
1
03/15/2013 8:00 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
This is ignorant and immature.
1
03/15/2013 10:43 pm
Level 21 : Expert Geek
WaterCharizard2
Why thank you!
:3
1
03/15/2013 11:02 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
No problem.
1
03/15/2013 9:39 am
Level 26 : Expert Goblin
GTV8
Well, i never played violent games, açç the games that i have played until present were rated E (some rated T like Majora's Mask). I think the only 2 violent games that i've played were Castlevania 64 and Conker's Bad Fur Day. But, going to the point, i don't see how cartoon violence could influence someone to act violently
1
03/15/2013 1:33 am
Level 39 : Artisan Enderdragon
Aspiria
I could say a bunch of stuff about this but take this diamond for getting on the front page and also investing time in researching for this blog
1
03/15/2013 7:54 am
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
Thanks mate!
1
03/15/2013 12:43 am
Level 51 : Grandmaster Cowboy
SnargleBlargle
If video games made people violent, then I would be stabbing people in the neck because of Assassin's Creed III, right?
1
03/15/2013 12:57 am
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
Not necessarily. You might be a little more irritable with your mother, or think angry thoughts more often.
1
03/15/2013 6:49 pm
Level 51 : Grandmaster Cowboy
SnargleBlargle
Oh. I just inferred it like that because people said that the Connecticut School Shooting was because of Call of Duty.
1
03/16/2013 12:46 am
Level 1 : New Miner
King William I
I think that the media was looking for something to blame it on...
1
03/16/2013 12:48 am
Level 51 : Grandmaster Cowboy
SnargleBlargle
Yep, it's like saying fireplaces encourage smoking just because fire makes smoke.
1
03/14/2013 11:59 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
King William I
Nothing does more to undermine the notion that video
games increase violence in real life than crime statistics. While video
games continue to sell -- sales rose from $5.5 billion to $9.5 billion
from 1999 to 2007 -- violent crime among youth actually declined. In
1999, 1,763 people under age 18 were arrested for homicides in the U.S.;
in 2007, that age group accounted for 1,063 murders.

You don't see minecraft players go out and punch trees.
The reason video games would make someone violent is
if the already had mental issues to begin with.
1
03/15/2013 12:59 am
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
This is true, however I will stress again, it's pointless to argue against the fact that videogames cause violence. It's been proven by the world's top psychologists and researchers. The argument to be made is how much does the increase in violence really affect people?
1
03/14/2013 10:02 pm
Level 49 : Master Pegasus
ColinJay
Hmm, for me, games make me less violent, it lets me let off some steam if I'm pissed about something. Call of duty calms me down so much. lol Oddly enough.
1
03/14/2013 10:12 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
One might call you 'not normal' :P
1
03/14/2013 10:01 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Droid
MineCraftatron85
I have you know I played violent video games for 20mins and I only killed 15 people.
1
03/15/2013 10:56 am
Level 24 : Expert Network
RiotShielder
I hope you mean that you killed 15 people in the game, and not 15 actual people.
1
03/15/2013 5:35 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Droid
MineCraftatron85
Uh, yeah! 15 people in the game... Yeah...
1
03/14/2013 9:33 pm
Level 64 : High Grandmaster Hero
sed11
Well, anyone who's smart/sane enough will only be violent in-game....
Take their anger out in the game, or have no anger at all.

I feel no anger at all when playing games, unless I lose or something or lose valuable items in Minecraft, but the anger disappears shortly after, and I don't really get that kind of anger like people raging and screaming, etc.

It basically depends on the person, and if they go crazy just because of a video game, then it's a problem with the person allowing themself to rage so much.
1
03/14/2013 9:51 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
And this is probably a fair evaluation. But there is a link between the two, you said it yourself, you can get angry because of videogames. That's all that the first article in the above blog sets out to prove.
1
03/14/2013 9:56 pm
Level 64 : High Grandmaster Hero
sed11
I did say it depends on the person, though.
1
03/14/2013 10:12 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
Now there I would disagree with you.
1
03/14/2013 10:36 pm
Level 64 : High Grandmaster Hero
sed11
I believe it does, though, as there are people that wouldn't get angry at all, or not angry enough to go mad...
1
03/14/2013 10:40 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
But see, that's not what the articles above are discussing. They're only discussing the link, which undoubtedly exists. I dunno why people keep missing that.
1
03/14/2013 6:19 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Robot
BetaEdit
Does videogames make me angry? Frustrated? Yes, it does, but only then and there. It doesnt affect me in real life, atleast not to a degree thats noticable.

As everyone is different, people will react different to gaming anyway. As Azie said, normal sane people wouldnt have any problems with violent games.
1
03/14/2013 6:49 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
And that's all the statistics set out to prove. That there is a link. Nothing more.
1
03/14/2013 5:44 pm
Level 28 : Expert Spelunker
kaihiwatari55
If you think video games cause violence, click here.
It's rather enlightening.
1
03/14/2013 5:59 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
Whether or not videogames can lead to outright violence is still under debate. Personally I think no. But whether or not videogames increase aggression is not debatable, they do.
1
03/14/2013 9:18 pm
Level 28 : Expert Spelunker
kaihiwatari55
Did you watch the video? Yes, people get mad at video games. That alone can't cause lasting murderous intent like most people think.
1
03/14/2013 9:50 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Dragon
skipper587
Of course I watched the video. I'm saying that the video doesn't disagree with the above blog.
1
03/14/2013 5:37 pm
Level 31 : Artisan Skinner
oceoano
That's a nice picture.

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