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Pattaya Daily News

20 April 2007 :: 11:04:35 am 30885

How Much Do Computer Video Games Contribute To Violence?

Following the Virginia Tech massacre, questions are bound to be asked as to whether violent video games are triggers which cause gamers to go out and commit violent acts, including murder.
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Common sense would seem to indicate that, today, computer video games are so realistic that no distinction is drawn between what happens in the game and real life. The same opinion has often been put forward as regards ultra-violent movies, which seem to be the common diet of Thai TV, apparently following the lead of Hollywood.

Thai TV soaps frequently seem to feature jealous and envious individuals who apparently think nothing of arming themselves and then going out to blow away some competitor, or person who has in some way slighted or offended them. So how much does the violence depicted in the games, TV or movies actually contribute to violent crime?

Americans currently decry the fact that the young, especially, respond immediately to slights by becoming violent as opposed to a few years ago when they would have allowed some breathing space between the slight and reaction, which would normally have been diluted in the interim. Another claim frequently made is that there is so much violence portrayed on the media that we have become desensitized. There certainly must be some truth in this.

However, in a recent research project commissioned by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), violent video game addicts claim that they really do distinguish between violence in the games and that in real life. Significantly, the majority of these players are young male teenagers who maintain they play to escape the monotony of everyday life, to increase their games-playing skills and advance in the games.

The research did indicate that the gamers prefer taking an active to a passive role, revelling in chopping people’s heads off, for instance. The age factor features strongly also, players younger than 15 complain of nightmares after playing these games, but then they are so addicted that they start to play from the moment they rise. But some adult players also reported feeling uncomfortable over vivid slayings involving blood.

The distinction between adult and non-adult games is also made with the adult games being more violent. Also the type of game is significant. The game Manhunt was linked to the violent death of Stefan Pakeerah, in 2004, who was beaten to death with a hammer by a friend obsessed with the game. Grand Theft Auto appears extremely popular among teen gamers who claim they can become a pimp and collect prostitutes and have sex with them in a car. The BBFC reported that “It appears to be online games like World of Warcraft that are most ‘addictive’ and which have the most potential to distort personal priorities with unhappy results”.

However, gamers told researchers that they rejected the idea that playing games makes them violent in real-life or desensitises them to the impact of real scenes of violence. It would also seem to be a question of one’s mental stability and potentially sociopath tendencies. We reserve judgement.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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