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Fingers pointing to violent videogames once again after Newtown, Conn. massacre

It was a pseudo-commando attack, as if the killer were playing a video game and racking up points for every victim. Once again, the crime appeared to be staged for maximum shock value. And once again — just as in Aurora, Colo., this past summer — there was the element of overkill, with multiple weapons, a military-style rifle and massive amounts of ammunition.

A Washington Post article today connects the grisly acts of a troubled youth to ultraviolent videogames, highlighting continuing opprobrium of the industry, including one quote from a "forensic psychiatrist":

I point the finger unreservedly at the entertainment industry, which has spawned and cultivated gaming that by design is increasingly real, geared to action as the shooter’s point of view, increasingly dehumanizes victims, and increasingly rewards players by how many they kill.

The article concludes that Adam Lanza, the now infamous murderer of twenty schoolchildren and several of their teachers, may have suffered from a mental disorder like schizophrenia, which "appears to increase the risk of violence."

However, this mass murder, along with the one in July in an Aurora, CO movie theater, come along the heels of an E3 that showcased some of the most ghastly, gratuitous, and conspicuous violence ever seen in videogames. A separate Washington Post article notes that even as mass murders continue (and videogames become disturbingly more violent), fewer and fewer Americans are concerned that the escalating violence is a result of a broad cultural problem.

  • Posted by Matt
  • http://videogam.in/s2639

Newtown, Conn. and videogame violence

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  1. I wish I kept better track of my sauce for this sort of thing. I used to skim papers on the topic when I was still in school and had access to journal databases. From what I understand, in randomized controlled experiments, playing violet video games does increase violent behavior in children in the short term when compared to control. So in a sense, violent video games cause violent behavior. However, similar studies have shown similar reactions to other violent media, so this isn't a big surprise.

    Unfortunately, very little has been done to investigate long term effects of violent video games on children. In fact this investigation becomes difficult as violent and aggressive children also seem to be attracted to violent media. This makes it hard to separate children who are violent due to other sources and like violent video games, and children who are violent due to their like of violent video games.

    The thing that baffles me about the whole debate is that even if violent video games are indeed a problem, there are other places to put our money that should yield substantially better outcomes for everyone's general well-being. For example, money invested in public education and mental health care, as well as reforms in the prison system and drug laws.

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  2. The thing that baffles me about the whole debate is that even if violent video games are indeed a problem, there are other places to put our money that should yield substantially better outcomes for everyone's general well-being.

    That's really insightful, and I think that applies to many of the social issues we face here, including criminal acts and drug use. Instead of attempting to reform the behavior of those who commit the acts, we punish them, or instate prohibitions...

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