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Study: Violent Games Have A Negative Impact On Morality

Video games aren't going to give you a good sense of right and wrong.

In fact, according to a recent study, they'll do the exactly the opposite; they'll blur the lines. Researchers at Brock University in Ontario studied the behavior of about 100 individuals aged 13 or 14, and the conclusion was as follows, as reported by the BBC:

Those who spend most of their time playing violent games "could experience weakened empathy" for other people. They might also lose any sense of right and wrong, which is a very serious issue for developing individuals. For the record, a "violent game" was defined as any title where the player kills or causes serious physical harm to another human character. Non-violent games were titles like Rock Band and Mario.

The study found that teens who played violent games for more than three hours a day were more likely to experience a lack of "moral maturity." However, it's important to note that this study is only correlational, in that it's not designed to prove anything. It was also admitted that other factors typically come into play; i.e., cognitive abilities, social relationships, socioeconomic status, etc.

So, what's your take?

Tags: video games, game study, video game research, gaming industry

2/10/2014 9:40:43 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (21 posts)

Alejandro562
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 10:19:42 PM
Reply

I have played violent games all my miserable life and i am very passive , some would say girly ,

Challenge Complete,
Alejandro562 out.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 10:28:36 PM
Reply

Could be, but I doubt it's a real effect. Remember that "Mozart" effect or whatever on children where the music made them smarter? Yeah that was based on a deteriorating effect that lasted a couple minutes. Answering a few questions on a sheet after a rousing shootout probably does show some effect. I dunno if blasting baddies in a game is going to make MOST people forget that doing it in real life is bad in any permanent way.

I would add that no violent game binge for me challenged contemporary morals like a few basic courses in philosophy.

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LimitedVertigo
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 10:29:12 PM
Reply

Duh? There's a reason children shouldn't be playing Grand Theft Auto.

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Broady
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 @ 4:08:54 AM

Exactly, I was just wondering what games that are made for ages 13-14 that are violent?
Should this test even have been done, are they not breaking a law by carrying it out???

From the article:
"Violent" games were defined as those where players acted out the killing, maiming, decapitating or mutilating of other human characters.

this seems to me to be games that have a minimum 15 rating!

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Knightzane
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 10:47:38 PM
Reply

Still not done with this?

I'm not geologist, but I think if games impacted people's behaviors as much as any movie or song could, than wouldn't the entire world be nothing but people killing each other? I mean the streets would be running with blood and there would be no hookers left to kill after they perform a service for you! The world would be utter chaos!!!

These are getting out of hand. Want to study? Lets find out why our economy continues to plummet and why every other countries health care is 1000 times better than ours.

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ProfPlayStation
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 10:49:01 PM
Reply

Cue "I played [violent game] when I was [underage] and I'm not an axe murderer!" comments.

There's a reason there are age restrictions. Children/Teens are not properly developed yet to correctly interpret and process what they're seeing/doing in violent entertainment (it's none too wholesome for adults, either). Turning into an gun-toting lunatic is not the only possible negative influence. Stunted emotional and moral (four letter word on gaming forums) growth is a readily observable result. Just take a look at most gaming forums or any Call of Duty chat--it's nearly impossible to tell the difference between an adult and a child.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 10:58:01 PM

It could also be possible that mental and moral midgets happen to flock to certain kinds of games.

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ProfPlayStation
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 11:06:48 PM

I'll agree to that. And the fact that Call of Duty is what brought that comment out, it just goes to prove the point that children should not be playing it, or GTA, or Heavy Rain, or God of War, or any number of other M-rated games, and even certain T-rated stuff. Not until they are grown.

A parent's role is to bring their child up to be a mentally, morally, and emotionally fit individual. Plopping them down in front of the most repugnant content available because "it's just a game" is not doing that job. Parents are supposed to know better.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 12:01:14 AM
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I would argue that this study violates ethics under "causing potential undue harm to participants". Other studies have already shown it's possible that adolescents can be affected negatively by overly violent and/or gratuitous games.

There's something wrong with childhood studies that say, "lets give this to the kid and see if it hurts them". It's hard work to do it right, but a good correctional study needs an enormous sample size that tests kids who are already doing what their parents allow them to do.

If I'm a kid who participated in this study, I'm keeping track of my mental health to see if in 5-10 years I can go sue Brock for any issues I have. XD

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Kratoskillall09
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 2:09:07 AM
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Let's just say this is 100% true. There's one stat that people tend to forget, that within the last 30 years violence amongst kids and teens has decreased quite a bit. I can't remember the actual stats, but there's absolutely no correlation between violent video games and violence amongst kids and teens. The stats disprove any study they have done or will do.

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Snaaaake
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 2:55:38 AM
Reply

My little 9 year old cousin has played Saints Row IV and GTAV.
Guess what?
He goes to school like any other kid and is a very good kid who doesn't talk back to his mother.
I have another cousin who is 17 now, but about 9 years ago I introduced him to GTA San Andreas.
And still no murderer in the family.

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matt99
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 8:55:01 AM

Yeah..no offence but even if it doesn't make a person violent what in the world made you think it was a good idea to introduce an 8 year old to GTA?! It's not just violence in these games but there's lots of other mature content-misogynistic characters being one example- and 8 year olds aren't going to understand that GTA games are steeped in satire.

Seriously, there's a reason there's a big 'M' with a 17+ on the package.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 2:12:33 PM

The negative effects of these games (and R rated movies) on children and adolescents are almost never explicit. So of course your family isn't going out to murder people.

It's usually related to factors that can weigh in in potential mental health struggles down the road. It's kinda like saying a kid probably isn't going to get cancer from second hand smoke and it isn't going to make him a smoker. Thing is, it does increase risk and often can affect immediate health and definitely increases risk to long term health. Just because it isn't a sure thing, or even a statistically likely thing, doesn't mean it doesn't cause potential for harm.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 2/11/2014 2:12:55 PM

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bldudas1
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 7:15:26 AM
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I play some violent games, and I would never hurt anyone or any animal...

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PC_Max
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 8:20:09 AM
Reply

I think scientists should actually read the forums/postings on game sites for the comments gamers leave. That would be an interesting study. On the various levels of reactions of gamers to various study results and to the degree/method one rationalizes their view. The gaming community is diverse in its opinions. Would be interesting. Well, the results would be predictable to a point as well based on what I have observed.

Keep playing and be safe!

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matt99
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 9:10:13 AM

That would be very interesting, however I think that subjecting someone to that much fanboy-ism and general BS would just be unethical and borderline illegal...

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PC_Max
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 9:19:46 AM

LOL. True. It would be cruel.

Keep playing!

Last edited by PC_Max on 2/11/2014 9:20:19 AM

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matt99
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 9:07:05 AM
Reply

Hey! I did my first year of uni at Brock! Nice to see them getting noticed, but it does sound like this study is rather incomplete and could use some further researching before drawing any truly meaningful conclusions.

Also, to those in the news and elsewhere who may use this study to 'prove' that gaming has a detrimental impact on society (or whatever it is they're claiming), it should be noted that gamers are the first ones to say that violent games are not for kids. And most gamers I know support and agree with the ESRB's ratings.

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Palmetto
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 10:15:30 AM
Reply

Empathy and morals should be taught by parents not by video games. Society needs to start examining the problem at its root, the parent. All these studies skirt the real issue and overlook that our throw away society is failing its children.

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Simcoe
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 11:19:50 AM
Reply

Did some of you actually read Ben's article? No where in the article did is say that children playing violent video games led to them committing acts of violence. What it did say was that these children "could experience weakened empathy". How some people instantly make the jump from that to violence is beyond puzzling.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 @ 7:47:58 AM

Just because people didn't strictly discuss this exact article doesn't mean they didn't read it. It's a regular discussion to talk about violence.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 2/12/2014 7:48:20 AM

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