What was called “The Need for a Research

What if your
favorite hobby was considered a crime? Violent media leading to violence has
been a controversial topic discussed for many years. Some articles have shown a
causal link between the two, and some prove that the articles that did show a
causal link, have some sort of flaw in them. One of the many articles I will be
referring to today is “Do video games lead to violence?” By Susan Scutti at
CNN, which favors the side that video games do cause violence. I will also
supplement my thoughts through scholarly journals that I found such as  “PRIMING EFFECT OF COMPUTER GAME VIOLENCE ON
CHILDREN’S AGGRESSION LEVELS” By Jia-Kun Zheng and Qian Zhang, in which the
authors explain to the reader about their research on aggression levels between
male and females after given violent video games to play and “Does Media
Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When” by
Christopher J. Ferguson which talks about spikes in societal violence through
history and what type of media was being broadcasted at the time. A few
additional sources include an editorial that I used was called “The Need for a
Research Focus on the Possible Causal Link Between Violent Behavior and
Videogames” by Clebourne D. Maddox and D. LaMont Johnson which tells the reader
about how video gaming has increased in the past couple years and how much
money it produces, and “Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?”
By ProCon.org in which they searched the web for the top pro and con arguments
of video games having a causal link between youth violence. I have used these
articles to explore what approaches can help researchers best settle the
question of the relationships between the consumption of media violence and
actual acts of societal violence.

            ProCon.org is a website that
displays both sides of an argument by stating and citing facts that they have
found throughout the web. Some pros, or points that support a link between
violent games and violence, are that bullying is increased significantly with
the playing of a game. “60% of middle school boys and 40% of middle school
girls who played at least one Mature-rated (M-rated) game hit or beat up
someone” (Procon.org). According to the website, most of the boys and girls who
have played a violent video game admit to hurting or beating up one of their
peers. From my point of view, the middle school I went to has an abundance of
video gamers, including me, and not one of them had bullied or got in trouble
for being too aggressive. They talk about an incident where two teens who shot
at cars passing them and also killed one driver- the two teens reportedly
stated that they got an idea from a well known violence oriented video game
called GTA III, which has been played by millions. Later on in the essay, in
Clebourne’s article, we will see that more than half of the households in
America contain a video game console. It should not be a shock to see two
American boys playing one of the top grossing games in the world. The website
“pro’s” seem to support that violent video games can lead to violence. They
also state that many perpetrators who have committed mass shootings were said
to be avid FPS or, first person shooter, video game players. Some of the cons,
or points, that say there is no causal link between the two, are that there has
been an increase in violent video games sales, but a decrease in actual
violence. “Total US sales of video game hardware and software increased 204%
from 1994 to 2014, reaching $13.1 billion in 2014, while violent crimes
decreased 37% and murders by juveniles acting alone fell 76% in that same
period” (ProCon.org). If there is an increase in game sales but a decrease in
violence, this could be an indicator that video games help those with violent
mannerisms control their impulses. At this point, the argument that violent
video games can cause violent behavior can go either way. The website also
states that most studies that show a causal link are not accurate. ProCon.org
noted that scientists only study aggression levels of a person after they play
a couple minutes of the game, which is not accurate to how much is really
played by the average human.

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            A scholarly article by Jia-Khun
Zheng, “Priming Effect Of Computer Game violence on Children’s Aggression
Levels”, shows the effects on children’s aggression levels after playing a
videogame and how it differs between genders. The author first states the
difference in aggression levels between people who do not usually play games
and people who do: “Adolescents who play violent video games more often display
more hostile expectations and aggressive behavior than those do not play these
games or play them less often” (Zheng). The author states that people who do
not play video games as much or at all, show less aggression than the people
that do play video games a lot more. Later on in the article, Zheng explains to
us that the study was conducted on males and females aggression levels before
and after playing a violent game. The other study that was conducted tested for
violent computer games increasing the levels of aggression on Chinese children.
After the first study, ” we saw that most girls exhibited nervous and scared
facial expressions when playing Virtual Cop2. Most boys, in contrast, displayed
excitement with facial expressions when playing Virtual Cop2, with some even
shouting positive words” (Zheng), which tells us that females showed more fear
of the game while the males said words like, “cool”, and “awesome”. The second
study shows us “playing violent computer games significantly primed aggression.
Specifically, as predicted, we saw an increase in the number of children whose
aggression was significantly activated after exposure to the violent, versus
nonviolent, game” (Zheng). The second study also showed an increase in violence
after playing a violent videogame. Zheng then goes on to explain that males
were overall more aggressive after the videogame than females, and also how the
violent computer game increases aggression levels in Chinese children. Zheng
also leaves a disclaimer,

 “We used a
cross-sectional design that leaves unanswered critical questions with regard to
aggression development. Our ability to clarify the
causal correlations among the research variables over time is restricted by
this design, whereas evidence from longitudinal studies would permit more
accurate examination of the relationship between exposure to computer game
violence and aggression” (Zheng). Zheng tells us that the method they used to
study this is different than what other researchers are seen to do usually and
how the results were differ from the rest. Also, a key flaw to this study is
that while Zheng identifies expressions of “excitement” or fear, this is an
immeasurable trait – there is no exact definition of how these emotions are
portrayed, and thus may be an unreliable indicator of aggression.

 

            The next journal that provides some
insight into the argument is “Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It
Depends on What You Look at and When”, By Christopher J. Ferguson in the
Journal of Communication, shows us graphs of different time periods and the
amount of violence compared to what type of movies were being showed at the
time. The first study that Ferguson explains to us is the link between violent
movies and the amount of violence at that time. Ferguson tells us how movie
violence was decreased from 1920 – 1960 due to acts put in place by committees
that were concerned with people seeing this violence and being influenced. “For
the years prior to 1940, movie violence demonstrated an almost perfect inverse
relationship with societal violence with the two variables correlated r=?.98”
(Ferguson), In science we learn that if the r value is closer to 1, it is
direct relationship, but the farther it gets from 1 the more inverse, or
opposite it becomes. He tells us that movie violence did not affect societal
violence at all throughout the years of 1920 – 1940, even while the acts and
restrictions were put in place. In study 2, Ferguson talks about violence only
in the 20th century without the restrictions. He tells us how this could show a
link in societal violence and violence shown in movies, it will eliminate any
other outlying phenomena. In this study, Ferguson incorporates video game
violence and youth violence also. Ferguson states that violent games are the
ones that are most usually popular throughout the years. He says, “As can be
seen, videogame violence consumption in society is inversely related to
societal youth violence” (Ferguson). In a graph shown by Ferguson, it tells the
reader that there is an inverse, or opposite, relationship and so there is no
direct link.

 

             “The Need for a Research Focus on the Possible
Causal Link Between Violent Behavior and Videogames” by Clebourne D. Maddox,
focuses on the video games themselves and their impact
on media violence. He starts off talking about CIS, or computers in school and
how technology has affected in school education. He says that his field has
been focusing on making mobile devices suitable for in school use, but they
need to change their focus to finding a link between violent video games and
violence. He states that the video game market has increased, ” Entertainment
Software Rating Board reported that gaming is a 10.5 billion dollar industry,
67% of all U.S. households play video games, the average gamer spends eight
hours a week playing video games, and 25% of gamers are under the age of 18″
(Clebourne), Clebourne tells us that it is a multi billion dollar company and
that more than half of households have a video game player in it. Out of that
60%, not everyone is an extremely violent person or mass shooter, when talking
about those topics, all surroundings should be examined. Essentially, this
editorial focuses on how the accessibility & increased production of
violent video games requires that greater research advances be implemented to
discover if there truly is a link between violence and violent video games.

 

            Susan Scutti of CNN also talks about
video games and its link to violence in her article “Do video games lead to violence?”- She starts the article by
referring to the 18 year old shooter in Munich that was reportedly an avid
video gamer, shootings are increasing yearly, and so is technology. In
Clebourne’s article, he states that 60% of all U.S. households have a video
game console in them, the study does not relate to Germany but there are good
chance that a mass shooter could have been part of that 60% and played video
games. Fingers should not directly be pointed towards only one aspects of that
person’s life. Scutti talks about how the American Psychological Association
and the American Academy of Pediatrics are very against the idea of minors
playing violent video games. These associations tell the reader how violent
video games teach minors to attack, or even kill other players online and they
are rewarded for doing so. She then brings up how the advice could be outdated, she
writes about how the choice to select to play violent video games to begin with
may indicate a disposition to violence. However, she contradicts this theory
through a study shown in the same article which tells us, “6,567 eighth-graders …
He discovered that playing video games, no matter how bloody, did not predict
violent behavior” (Scutti). There was no actual link between violence in youth
and the amount of violent video games they play.

 

            At the end of the day, it all comes
down to the consumer. Personally, I’ve grown up playing games like GTA and Call
Of Duty, which are both very gory and involve a lot of gun, and I haven’t been
very aggressive throughout my life. On the other hand, people that commit mass
shootings say they were influenced by those types of games. What I’ve learned
by studying these documents is that you cannot just look at aggressiveness, or
spikes of violence throughout graphs. Everyone is different, the way people
consume the media they watch is also different. It all comes down to the
person’s influences, and psychological well being. One cannot come to a
conclusion about violent behavior and violent videogames based just on those
two factors. There are just too many varying conclusions. Every human being may
be fundamentally the same in terms of composition, however personality types
and environment may need to be considered as key factors in research endeavors
to discover the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            Works
Cited

 

Ferguson, Christopher J. “Does Media
Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When.”
Journal of Communication, Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., 5 Nov. 2014, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcom.12129/full.

 

JIA-KUN, ZHENG and ZHANG QIAN.
“Priming Effect of Computer Game Violence on Children’s Aggression
Levels.” Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, vol.
44, no. 10, Dec. 2016, pp. 1747-1759. EBSCOhost,
doi:10.2224/sbp.2016.44.10.1747.

 

Maddux, Cleborne D. and D. Lamont
Johnson. “The Need for a research Focus on the Possible Causal Link Between
Violent Behavior and Videogames.” Computer in the Schools, vol. 30, no, ½,
Jan-Jun 2013, pp 1-3, EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/07380569.2013.771769.

 

ProCon.org. “Violent Video Games
ProCon.org.” ProCon.org. 9 May 2017, 3:01 p.m., videogames.procon.org.

 

Scutti, Susan. “Do video games lead to
violence?” CNN, Cable News Network, 26 July 2016,
www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/health/video-games-and-violence/index.html.