27Sept13 Meeting of Academic Conversations

Here’s the summary of what was covered and what was watched and read:

Do video games create violent people? What is good or bad about these videogames?

Answer summary: sane people do not become insane or violent because of video games. However, somebody with a mental health history could be pushed over the edge by videogames unable to differentiate between reality and the video world. The very young could have trouble knowing the limits of  using violence in real life. Graphic imagery could be too much for the very young.

Video games can cause desensitization but consensus was desensitization is towards seeing violence in video games, in the virtual world, and in movies, but not in real life. Real life imagery is still very disturbing. No one in the group feels that they have become more violent by playing video games, watching violent movies or reading violent books or listening to violent song lyrics. Some have actually felt playing video games have made them more empathetic. Some violent videogames actually do a good job of showing cause and effect of actions. By being able to play on opposite sides, videogames can humanize the enemy. It can show both sides of an issue.

Brain research has actually shown the positive effects of high action video games on the brain. They can improve eyesight, attention problems, tracking objects, improves ability to resolve conflict, increases brain plasticity, improves  ability to switch activities i.e. “multitasking” and improves fine motor skills.

Although videogames have some definite benefits, there should still be restrictions. No one in the group believes violent videogames should be banned, however they feel that no one under 17 should be allowed to buy violent videogames. Parents should be allowed to buy violent videogames for their children if they choose but with strict warning that it is for maturity level of 14 and up. If a videogame retailer sees a parent buying an extremely violent video game for their young child they should give the parent a forewarning of what the videogame contains. Video games should have the same restrictions as movies in a movie theater. Videogame manufacturers need to be responsible and look at their intent in producing a video game and try to include some kind of ethical moral outlook or cause and effect scenarios to the videogame instead of just gross violence for violence/entertainment sake.

People need to use good judgment on an individual basis with the amount of time they allow their kids to play video games.
People also need to be reasonable about assigning blame. There is a tendency to blame everything violent on what ever the current fad is. Comic books, song lyrics, literature and movies have all been blamed in the past for creating a violent society. Video games are just the latest target.

Bill O’Reilly


Daphne Bavelier: Your brain on video games 18 min

High Court Strikes Down Calif. Law on Violent Video Games

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