PS3 News: Violent Game Debate Is A Non-Issue If Parents Did Their Jobs - PS3 News

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Violent Game Debate Is A Non-Issue If Parents Did Their Jobs

Somebody really needs to explain this to me. I must be just plain obtuse.

A new study has come to light, providing the public with more evidence that violent video games can have a desensitizing effect.

The study focused on 30 teenage boys between the ages of 13 and 15; one group played violent games for three or more hours a day, while the other played for less than one hour. Researchers than tracked the attitudes and behaviors of the boys after playing Manhunt and Animaniacs; obviously, two distinctly different titles. The results showed that boys exposed to the violence were more stressed at night, and even had "feelings of sadness." The study suggests that continued exposure to violent games will cause participants to become desensitized to brutality.

...well, duh.

Firstly, this study isn't necessary. We've seen a thousand others exactly like it over the years, as researchers have done the same thing with all forms of violent entertainment, including movies and music. Some of you who are old enough may remember studies from the 80s, when violent music lyrics were called into question (Twisted Sister's Dee Snider even went before Congress and gave a much-publicized speech). The result of that was the Parental Advisory label we see on some music now.

Look, we know we're supposed to protect young, developing minds from the barrage of badness the media constantly throws at them. It's hard to do, but we have to try. And we have to try because violence does have an impact during developing years; anyone who says otherwise is just being naive. But excuse me, I must be missing something: We already have the ESRB. Video games are rated. Games like Manhunt are clearly rated M for Mature; hence, restricted to 17 years of age and older. So what the hell were those aged 13-15 doing playing that game in the study? They shouldn't ever have that game, should they? The industry has taken appropriate strides so they won't have that game.

Ah, but once again we come to the crux of the issue, and it's one everyone wants to avoid because it's sacrilege to blame parents. We've reached a point in this society where we're simply not allowed to do that. Blame anything and everything; blame the developers, blame the publishers, blame the advertisers, blame the retailers, but God forbid, don't blame the parents. I mean, after all, they're the ones who must've bought a game like Manhunt for their 13, 14, or 15-year-old, right? The bottom line is that if parents simply did their jobs and acted like parents, there would be no violent game debate. There can't be until a study proves that violent games and media can have a significant and long-lasting impact on mature, fully grown adults. They're the intended audience for mature products!

I haven't seen such a study yet, have you? Why are these studies involving violent games and underage kids? The kids shouldn't be playing them; says so right on the box. So what is the point, please? We already know all this. How's about doing a study with parents? How about having one group where the parents let a kid play and do whatever he wants, and another group where the parents actually exercise some discipline?

Know what those results will be? 'cuz I do. In our heart of hearts, we all do.

Tags: violent video games, violent game study, gaming culture

5/10/2013 11:03:26 AM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (19 posts)

Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 11:51:10 AM

The thing everyone needs to get clear, that we ALL MUST understand, is that sometimes bad things happen. Throughout history, there have been bad guys doing terrible things. Even in the most "civilized" societies. Even in the most upscale neighborhoods.

To blame anyone other than the perpetrator I think is a copout. I have seen even the best parents have kids that just are no good, after what I would consider real good upbringing. And I have seen neglected children grow up and be doctors and such.

No matter the circumstance there will be some people you just cant reach. Nature is brutal. Between "Mother Earth" and all the animals who live on it, you have to wonder how people can even try (we are the only ones) to be the opposite of evrything else, the call of nature, so to speak.

As a society we always try to explain things, because it cant be random. But it is sometimes. And until we learn to accept that, then there will always be these discussions. And there will always HAVE to be someone or something to blame.

Last edited by wackazoa on 5/10/2013 11:52:40 AM

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Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 12:20:13 PM


What you've said reminded me of this.

"The world is not perfect and that's what makes it so beautiful."

By: Roy Mustang (from Full Metal Alchemist).

I adore that Anime.

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Comic Shaman
Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 12:05:01 PM

Hey Ben,

There's a book on this subject that I think you might enjoy if you haven't read it. It's called Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence, by Gerard Jones.

The book makes a number of compelling points, and central to its premise is that kids know the difference between fantasy violence and real violence. In a world where real violence exists and real traumas occur, fictional violence helps us build the tools we need to emotionally deal with reality when it happens. "Desensitization" is not an intrinsically bad thing -- in fact, you have more trouble if you remain over-sensitized to violence.

Not saying that young kids should be playing Manhunt. But the psychological issues are more complex, and parents would benefit from being informed by a more nuanced understanding than a broad "violence in the media is bad!" assumption.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 1:02:42 PM

That's fantasy violence. The likes of superheroes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I think there's a gigantic difference between that and the gritty, ultra-bloody, ultra-violent, ultra-realistic content found in most M-rated games these days.

Huge difference psychologically.

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Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 12:09:28 PM

When I see this assault on video games I see a nation looking for reasons why we're having these shootings and violent crimes. Somewhere to affix the blame.
I wonder though how many people recognize that the most basic functioning working unit in a society starts with the family. When families begin to break apart so does the cement that holds the greater unit together. A family is usually the most accessible and simplest way humans can learn to serve and love others. So when I start hearing and reading about gross tragedy's involving younger people I don't think "well, what video games or media were they playing?" That's ridiculous. If I spent time with my son playing Halo or Tekken or something, among doing many other things with him as a father, I truly don't think I'd have to worry one significant iota about the effects of such violence on him, baring out of course some psychological disposition then of course special actions would need to be procured.
So many seem to be focused on what a person SHOULDN'T be doing or consuming but don't seem nearly focused enough on the ample portions of things we should be receiving. If we're balanced in eating our healthy food before enjoying our desserts we really wont have a lot of malnutrition, so to speak. Many seem to like to tell others what not to do but don't have any care to suggest what to do.
I say the greater concern should be over what sort of decisions we make that allow ourselves to isolate ourselves from others where it's so easy to serve only oneself and much harder to serve others. It's here where I feel emotional inefficiencies, pain and hurt fester and build to a boil. Then at this point the outcry is met with something like hurting oneself or suicide or a violent outward expression of an inward turmoil.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 5/10/2013 12:11:54 PM

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Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 12:32:22 PM

... and while my parents probably wouldn't have approved because they probably didn't know how video games were changing, but they were good parents. When I was 15-16 I did go to the video arcade to play Mortal Kombat II frequently. I remember trying to memorize all of the fatalities and stuff. I remember thinking the whole game just seemed cool at the time. It was like the 'in' thing. It was a real enjoyable time for me back then.

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Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 12:57:19 PM

You make good points.

I think most of us played Mortal Kombat when we were younger and just had to perform those fatalies. And we have all seen movies like Scarface and Full Metal Jacket and Platoon. And most of our parents have listened to the song Helter Skelter.

We have all made conscious discisions to be good people and try to obey the laws.(I hope) But not everyone thinks and acts the same. We all have FREE WILL.

Last edited by wackazoa on 5/10/2013 12:57:59 PM

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Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 1:23:53 PM

Oh man, this is just sooo typical to hear from a non-parent.
As a parent of two I gotta say that it's anything *but* sacrilege to blame us parents. In fact, it's what we get everywhere. The rest of the world reserves their rights to go totally bonkers around us - it's after all *our* job to raise our kids, and we better not crash any party while doing so.

I sometime feel like the non-parents expect us to just quit our jobs and end our lives as independent human beings the moment we turn parents. Trust no-one, follow our kids everywhere, monitor their every move, scan their belongings, inspect every product, do a background check on every individual, research every piece of consumable, be aware of any traps, pay attention to everything the kid hear, play, watch and do - and that includes their friends too, their parents and all between.

And god forbid if any - *any* - of this leads to any sort of inconvenience for the rest of the world. Cause after all - it's *we* who decided on getting kids. It's our problem. And we should be reminded of that. Every. Single. Day.

Last edited by Beamboom on 5/10/2013 2:02:47 PM

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Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 2:43:39 PM

I'm with Beamboom on this one.

Sure, the games are rated mature - and advertised where? People freaked out about the stupid cartoon camel on a pack of cigarettes because it was marketing to kids - but T-rated and M-rated games are advertised on shows and sites that are targeted to kids (or at least to family audiences), too.

I'm not asking the society at large to raise my kids for me - but it would be nice if they didn't fight me so hard! The media seems to paint a bullseye on pre-teens, target them with ads for things that simply are not age appropriate, and then when there are complaints they say, "Well, if only parents would be parents, this wouldn't be a problem." If you weren't trying to coax my kid into doing something I keep telling her is inappropriate for her age, then we wouldn't have a problem, either - but if I say THAT, then I'm a bad parent who wants to censor everybody.

Just work with me. Give me even better ratings systems that tell me what to expect from media without having to pre-screen every last thing, so I know when to say it's okay to watch at a friend's house and when I want to be there (the movie industry is actually starting to move in this direction). Give me a way to say "No, I don't want my kid to play that M-rated video game" that actually works - and better yet, stop telling my kid that all the cool teens are playing that game.

If it's a copout for parents to blame the media, why isn't it a copout for the media to blame the parents? Aren't both trying pretty hard to influence the kids? Isn't the media outspending the parents rather considerably, too?

Last edited by RobN on 5/10/2013 2:47:32 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 9:08:35 PM

"Trust no-one, follow our kids everywhere, monitor their every move, scan their belongings, inspect every product, do a background check on every individual, research every piece of consumable, be aware of any traps, pay attention to everything the kid hear, play, watch and do - and that includes their friends too, their parents and all between."

I'm sorry Beamboom, but in this world, that's what a parent has to do. Or at least try to do. I'm not saying it's even possible; I'm saying they need to make an attempt.

This is a very simple issue. The ratings are there. The education is there. Don't buy the kid a violent game.


I'm aware you can't control what children are exposed to at friends' houses and it's basically impossible to oversee everything they do. But not buying them a violent game isn't complicated at ALL.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013 @ 3:20:29 AM

No, that's what a parent *can't* do, Ben. We can't, and even if we could it's not *right* to do so. Kids do need and deserve their own space too.

Most parents today have a job to return to. Many today grow up with just one parent. What we as parents *can* do to the best of our ability is to move to a good neighbourhood for the kids to grow up in, and teach them good morale and behaviour. But we are all - no exceptions - dependent on the society around us.

It's not as easy as just "read the instructions and follow them". There are no simple receipt to parenting.

I personally have no problems letting my kids play some of my games with 18yr labels on. My son is 14 now and beat Dragon Age 2 last year. Saints Row is one of his favourite franchises.
He's played Borderlands 1+2 in coop with friends ever since they were released. All those games got "Adult/18yr" rating.

We are all responsible for this world we grow up in, all of us. We got a common responsibility to build the society we want the next generation and the generations after to grow up in. It's *our* challenge.
Do we want a society where we have to hire guards to watch over our kids? Or do we try to tackle the reason *why* we have to monitor our kids so closely? To just hire guards is the easy answer. But is it the best?

But to explain this to someone who don't have children of themselves has proven to be a challenge many times.
To listen to a non-parent giving me advice on how simple it is to raise a kid, really is quite similar to listening to a non-gamer talking about video games.

Last edited by Beamboom on 5/11/2013 8:34:01 AM

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Saturday, May 11, 2013 @ 6:09:48 PM

Yeah but the question here Beam is... Do you complain about the fact that they do play violent games?

I think you are one of those nice parents who teach their kids properly while giving them enough freedom so that they don't freak out.

Some just straight-out blame games. Do you?

If not then you are on the same side. :)

You don't have to defend the sorry excuses of people who just blame everything around them instead of looking at themselves in the mirror first. There are many types of parents out there afterall.

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 5/11/2013 6:13:18 PM

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Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 2:06:49 PM

You tell em Ben. Why does nobody ask this question?

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PSN French
Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 2:39:38 PM

A new study shows that new studies are a bunch of biased nonsense!!

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Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 3:10:49 PM

Wow, theres a inflammatory statement/title. Speaking as a parent you really do not know what that position entails. And if you are a parent... wtf are you coming from? There are some parents out there for sure who really need their heads examined, but for the rest us, we cannot be at our kids friends place all the time looking over their shoulder. Yep we can meet said friends parents to judge or even pry as to what they allow their kids to do. But really how far do we have to go to be sure the likes of people who do not seem to think games influence them or us. The inflammatory statement says it all, be it defensive and at the same time definitely offensive.

You know, NO matter what study or frigging paper comes out supporting one or the other or neither if thats possible... NONE of the gamers nor the anti-gamers nor whatever will EVER be happy.

This is a tiresome issue and instead of people pointing fingers and all that crap, tell you what, lets ALL help each other out and understand the consequences of this issue and work together. Its called, geez, a COMMUNITY! We live in the same frigging world. So lets work together and live together... not quite literally.

Yes, life is tough, but as a parent my daughter learnt that, over a long period of time growing up until now that she is old enough she can face it when it comes knocking. And I hope she is prepared for it. And it was not easy as a parent, dealing with people like some here who think, well you guarding your daughter from all the violent media is your problem. Please.

Enough is enough, live and let live, and lets work together as a community, with friends and families. If not, a few words come to mind but why bother. Minds are made up for the most part. Good luck to you whatever your stance on this tiresome issue of little kids yelling at one another and pointing the finger, or the birdie.

So much for ... Keep Playing!

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Saturday, May 11, 2013 @ 12:34:13 AM

It's not sacrilege to me to blame the parents on this issue, Ben.

Watch, I'll do it right now:

Those stupid, irresponsible, self-centered, mindless, do-nothing f'n parents that let their kids play games not intended to be seen with their beady little eyes and experienced with their fragile, easily molded Jell-O brains!

See... easy. :)

All kidding aside, it is a complicated issue trying to control what kids are exposed to when sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence are being bombarded in all media forms all day every day.

That isn't to say that parents can't be more firm and responsible in restricting the content their kids are exposed to as much as they can, but for every one parent or parenting couple that do the best job they can, it seems that there are 10 parents or parent couples that could care less what their kids do, as long as what they do doesn't disturb the parent in any way, shape, or form.

Last edited by JROD0823 on 5/11/2013 12:40:37 AM

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Saturday, May 11, 2013 @ 2:28:28 AM

Well that is kind of dumb in general. I remember growing up playing violent video games and watching violent films and never had any problem. The thing that is wrong with these studies, the major thing that is wrong with these studies, is that they are being controlled. We don't know how te studies are being tested. There could be other factors that we are not aware of while they are performing these studies. That is the reason why a controlled group is bad when doing these kinds of things because they will always come out biased.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013 @ 4:43:08 AM

its not as simple as parents doing their job, they cant be watching their kids 24/7!
maybe if store employees actually gave a flying f*ck about the law then this problem would not be so large.
if i had a nickel for every time i walked into a store and saw a kid buying a 15+ restricted game id be the richest man alive by now!
hell even when i was a kid i never got asked for ID either at game shops or even when i use to rent movies.
i remember taking my cuz out to the shops a few years ago, and meet him back at the car and he has a copy of edie murphys delerious with him.
how the flying &^%$ did a 14 year old purchase a copy of a R18 docco!?

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Saturday, May 11, 2013 @ 9:08:30 PM


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