CNBC runs down the debate of violent video games and their effect on gamers

    
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Yes, we’re back on this again. The subject of video games, violent content, and their affect on players is arriving once more, this time by way of a CNBC clip that purports to take a look at the debate in as all-encompassing a manner as it can, from the moral panics to the research on both sides to what can be done about the matter.

The video offers insights and responses from a variety of sources, including psychologists, statisticians, and games industry representatives. One academic who appeared in the video is someone we’ve mentioned several times over the years: Dr. Jamie Madigan, psychologist and author of The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact, who in his own estimation says that the video ends “on a bit of nuance” though he also doesn’t agree with everything presented.

Indeed, CNBC appears to try to be as centrist as possible, noting studies about aggression and video games, elaborating on the business side of video games, noting that aggression doesn’t exactly mean violent or criminal behavior, and even pointing at things that can affect research studies like publication bias and a replication crisis in psychology. Ultimately, the video concludes that violent games do have some effect, but not the sort that politicians or alarmists prefer to think.

“The fact remains that there is an abundance of research suggesting a link between violent video games and aggression. But you can take that seriously without panicking. Many things contribute to someone’s tendency towards aggression, like watching sports, your socioeconomic status, or your gender. There’s research suggesting kids who play violent games may be affected negatively, but there is no research that suggests playing violent video games will make someone a school shooter.

“At the same time, there’s research suggesting playing games can in other ways be beneficial, and that collaborative games might counteract some of the negative effects of violence in games. It’s a nuanced, ongoing scientific debate. So don’t panic: video games aren’t turning you or your kids into monsters. But they’re probably doing something.”

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Bannex

I grew up playing violent video games and I save lives for a living…

Hypothesis destroyed.

kjempff
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kjempff

Repeat a message enough times and it becomes fact. The more that are recruited as parrots, the more pseudo science “proof” appears to validate the claim. Once the supporters become the majority, all claims become self evident and unquestionable (religion)..and then manmade global warming becomes.. Err I mean videogame made violence becomes fact.

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Dean Dean

Most people believe in whatever makes them feel like they’re right. Repetition has never made me think something was true. To me, regurgitating information without being able to remonstrate other opinions automatically disqualifies you as a credible resource.

In other words, most people were never going to do anything but cause problems to begin with. It has never mattered if the public was correctly informed or not. Misinformation is only spread to benefit specific groups of people, it has never been able to make an intelligent person less skeptical.

Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

This debate has been going on for decades and is still wearisome and inflammatory as ever. Meanwhile I’m going to enjoy myself with some Fortnite, GTA, EVE Online (not very violent but the massive space battles can be epic) and maybe some CoD. AND HAVE FUN. And I still haven’t taken my aggression out on society ever. Over decades. Just saying. But I have had fun. You know, fun? Yeah fun, you killjoy, know it all, grey suited, can’t have nice things, pleasure-killing authorities. So there. That felt better.

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dreamer

I do often feel a rise in my aggression when I’m consistently treated like an idiot and/or a wallet with legs by this industry.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Aggression.

Here’s an absolute fact. More women are batttered by men on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year.

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Bryan Correll

That’s something that gets said a lot, but the actual evidence doesn’t back it up. Psychologist Lenore Walker, on Good Morning America a few days before the Super Bowl in 1993, claimed that a ten year study showed a 40% rise in domestic violence on game day.

Janet Katz, one of the authors of the cited study, said in an interview with The Washington Post, that in fact there did not appear to be any correlation between emergency room visits and football days in general. There was a rise when the ‘home team’ won (not lost,) indicating that:

“These are interesting but very tentative findings, suggesting what violence there is from males after football may spring not from a feeling of defensive insecurity, which you’d associate with a loss, but from the sense of empowerment following a win”.

No other study has found a correlation between football and domestic violence. One notable (though not peer reviewed) study found that major holidays and the days surrounding them were the really bad days.

But this myth is one of those things that has persisted because it ‘feels’ like something that could be true.

It is true that Super Bowl Sunday sees a sharp rise in drunk driving fatalities.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Emergency room visits? Who knows? Women don’t often report being battered to authorities or go to the hospital or tell the truth about their injuries when they do.

But they do call battered women’s hotlines.

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Bryan Correll

But not more so on Super Bowl day. If you can cite studies to the contrary please do. But this really is just an urban legend.

PS I’m not running defense for sports ball. I’ve never watched an entire game because I find them incredibly boring.

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rafael12104

I think you are both right. How? Well, I’m going to speculate a little bit but with logical assumptions.

Drinking has a direct correlation to domestic violence. And we know that several holidays during the year have a direct effect on increased alcohol consumption. So, I think it is logical to deduce that some holidays have a correlation to domestic violence as well because of the alcohol involved.

IMO, this applies to the Superbowl. After all, it is an American holiday even though it doesn’t show up on a calendar as such.

So, it’s not just the Superbowl, but it includes the Superbowl.

Just my 2 pennies on this.

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Utakata

Assuming this uncited “fact” is true, perhaps it’s men exhibiting lack of self control and respect for others and looking for excuses for their violent excesses, as opposed to the hype and adrenaline of NFL’s biggest game. Thusly, banning such an event (if that is what you are implying) will only give a platform for these violators to look for other “reasons” to justify their behavior.

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

I think that’s exactly the point. It’s not that the problem is the activity, like games or football, but instead the inherent person’s predilection to violent actions. So banning such activities will not solve the problem, just make the appointed reason change to the next thing.

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rafael12104

I guess I’m getting jaded. All I see is another opportunity for those decrying the fall of western society to cherry pick a few points from this report and persuade others that video games are the culprit.

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Nathan Aldana

I mean., meanwhile on twitter a study literally funded by the koch foundation is cheerfully trying to inform us all how netflix is causing global warming in what seems like an attempt to make people not care about climate change by whining over something inconsequential, so that seems about right to me.

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Nathan Aldana

Considering its CNBC, a station that also cheerfully spent less than a few hours to invewnte a reason why certain current events were totally justified without any prompting, I cant say I’m going to trust anything they publish doesnt have a corporate-funded motivation.

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NeoWolf

People have a way of rationalising things they do not understand especially when it comes to bad choices we all love to find something to excuse us of our wrongdoings rather than take ownership of them.
Someone does something bad, there has to be a reason, if one isn’t found we look to anything they did, read, played, saw etc..that we can logically point a finger at to say its to blame.
But the sad fact is, is that sometimes people do dumb sh*t for no reason or stupid reasons and some people are just bad (for whatever and myriad reasons).

This however, does not mean the thing we point the finger at IS to blame… and that is because for whatever reason(if any) someone does something bad it is a CHOICE, and we are ALL responsible for our own choices and any consequences that occur because of them whether we like or not (and we frequently don’t like it).
Blame is an excuse to admonish any responsibility for those bad choices, but choices they were nevertheless.

Games are not responsible for violent actions, stupid, gullible, irresponsible, and occasionally bad people are and the choices they consequentially make because games (or anything else for that matter) do not make choices for us, we make those for ourselves.

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John Kiser

Some people may have a few psychological problems, but they fall through the cracks or parents “protect” their actions frequently. Someone with a psychological problem could potentially see a psychotic break from gaming and then they may not be actively making a choice, however those are few and far between on issues that are popping up.

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NeoWolf

For sure John there are definitely exceptions to every rule. And there are indeed “some” people to whom Choice does not apply, some mental illnesses, some psychological disorders, some cognitive/behavioural/developmental disorders etc..
But all of those subset of individuals are also unlikely to find themselves in the position of having computer games blamed for thier actions as opposed to their respective issues.

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John Kiser

Games are often blamed at least here in the US when someone may have a psychotic break and is a gamer because the individuals blaming everything other than themealeges and the person’s problems don’t want to admit they failed the person

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NeoWolf

This goes back to what I was saying in my OP for me, when that happens it is just scapegoating. Trying to find something else to blame in order to avoid taking responsibility for what a person has done and frequently at the suggestion of legal council as a means to try to avoid consequences.

Also a psychotic break isn’t one of the psychological disorders that I personally would consider choice exempt.
A psychological break or psychosis as it is more commonly referred is frequently accompanied with delusions or hallucinations (i.e seeing and hearing things that aren’t there), which can make a person extremely distressed, panicked, irrational, etc.. but not to the point they are not making choices. Irrational choices absolutely, but choices nevertheless.
So much so that that a person having a psychotic break may have reduced culpability in any aggressive or violent act they commit but not none.

And someone having a psychotic break would have an incredibly tough time from a legal standpoint trying to point the finger at computer games as the reason for the break and for sure would garner practically zero sympathy from any jury lol

(I.e I had such a distressing night of Fortnite that when I lost, I lost my mind and in the haze, I shot someone is going to be a VERY hard sell from a legal standpoint and no psychologist or mental health physician worth their license would back such a stance without a ton of research to support it and indeed the research in actuality and despite what the odd article now and then may try and juxtapose largely shows the opposite, that computer games do not in fact, promote violence, just the opposite in fact, serving mostly as a stress release).

But I agree that people with mental health issues and psychological disorders rarely receive the support and help they need, sadly we still live in a time where such things still have a lot of stigma and ignorance surrounding them. It is slowly getting better though.

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John Kiser

Depends where you are. I’d say mental health care in the states is progressively getting worse and worse. And I agree it is scapegoating, but a lot of the time the games may affect those people, but that isn’t to say that the games themselves were the root cause, but rather a trigger for a mental break in that person which mental/psychotic breaks can literally come from pretty much any source even someone clapping in a certain way.

The thing with the scapegoating is it comes from people that don’t want to admit often times that they missed signs of psychological issues or sadly in some cases flat out purposefully ignored them so they didn’t look bad to people around them for having a child, spouse, or what have you that has psychological disorders.

I’ve seen other ends of the spectrum where parents take psychological crap to the extreme though too. I was in a psych ward dealing with stuff after a suicide attempt (best thing that happened for my life honestly because it changed me as a person for the better and let me deal with things better) and saw a parent that literally tried to have their daughter commuted because their teenage daughter wouldn’t do every single little thing asked of her. She was treating the teen as pretty much a servant and talking back or disobeying at all must of meant psych issue that needed to be committed for.

Parents need to find the happy medium of knowing what is and isn’t healthy and look for some signs.We need to stop ignoring this or that because it might make us or someone else look bad. The reason I say a psychotic break isn’t so much a choice is that while it’s an irrational choice the person generally isn’t fully aware due to the circumstances that usually accompany it. When dealing with psychosis it may feel like you are completely and utterly sane, but you may not fully comprehend the ramifications of your actions/choices and may end up pushed by your own brain to carry out something when not being treated or your own brain may cause you issues. It’s sort of a messed up situation to be in and what I mean is that games can simply lead to the break in the first place.

While games can have a negative impact on certain individuals they can also help other people. There was research/a study done that looked at training people with schizophrenia to block verbal hallucinations. They’d train them with games and an MRI and taught how to deal with the stuff using similar methodology when they felt the voices coming on.

I mean they can help or hurt depending on the very specific individual, but then this is the case with a lot of things. We can’t limit what exists media or otherwise simply because it might affect some people in a negative manner.

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3dom

As someone recently noted – game “addiction” is just a symptom of unrealized potential in people. That’s why it’s so widespread in states like China and Russia. It would be stupid to force people who play violent games to realize their killer potential elsewhere. In fact we should ask them to play more instead (unlike the stupid Chinese government which is fighting with “game addiction”).

Most likely the spread of video games is one of the major factors why teenage crime rates have dropped nearly seven-fold in US during last 30 years.

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Sorenthaz

So that’s why there’s so many PvP sandboxes.

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John Kiser

While they may lead to aggression in some fashion spiking up a ways most people aren’t affected by a short aggression spike from gaming and it is likely to be that we are talking about more competitive gaming when talking about spikes in more aggressive behavior. Talking about something you are passionate about can end up spiking aggressiveness too. There isn’t really a danger in these spikes causing more violent tendencies or the like as those that would be affected by spikes in aggression to the point of it turning toward violence in some fashion are very likely to end up with a psychological problem.

I agree with the poster saying if anything it is more likely to cause apathy, but I do not agree that it may make people seek out more extremes. I’d say society with or without gaming or really any media has become too apathetic toward violence over time. We won’t intervene if someone is being beaten up, mugged, raped, or what have you. We’ve been told not to do anything so often to not put ourselves in danger.

I’m at worst apathetic to my own safety in a dangerous situation that violence may be used against myself.