Video Game Violence at Work


            Ever since the release of the video game console Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game violence as increase and great amount of detail in the games themselves.  A character beating each other brutality and then killing their opponent in the most horrific way has been what kids have been growing up with. Media violence has always been an issue for affecting children including movies, music, TV shows, video games, etc.  Video Games have been one of the main targets of blaming violence in youths and aggression; there have been lots of studies on the effects of media, and video games being one of the main sources, all conclusions point to same result of aggression.  Many people also defend the issue of video games causing that aggression and violence, stating that is an easy target to blame youth violence on, when there’s no other explanation.  Research has looked into the issue it self with physiologist doing studies on the effects of video games.  During all this turmoil there are few questions that arise regarding the topic:

            Are video games another scapegoat for violent behavior?
            Do video games cause aggression in youths?
            How aware are parents of the Entertainment Software Rating Board ratings?
            Do video games train kids to kill?

Looking at all the evidence can only determine the reality of violent video games.

            In recent video game survey titled Video Game Violence Survey distributed, in a popular socialization site Facebook, where all kinds of people are apart of half the people surveyed play video games and play more than one hour on day-to-day basis.  When asked: “Do you think violent video games cause aggression in players?” 33% of them answered yes, and 67% answered no.  When asked “Do you think players of violent video games are most likely to kill?” 17% answered yes, and 83% answered no (R. Romero, personal communication, October 4, 2010Going of this survey most people think that video games are not the cause of violent youths nor responsible for killings among youths.

Are video games another scapegoat for violent behavior?

            In the reading of Christopher Ferguson (2007) he defends and states that video games have become a scapegoat, “explanations rely on weak social science . . . In past centuries, and a variety of art forms have taken the blame for society’s problems.  From literature to religious texts, to jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and rap . . . People have viewed various media as being responsible for personal failings (Ferguson, 2007).  These statements imply the non-sufficient evidence has been yet to be proven for violent games blaming the most convenient thing around to do so.  Ferguson (2007) uses the Virginia Tech shooting as an example for the lack of evidence involving violent video games: “the Virginia Tech rampage was barely over before a few pundits began speculating on the role of video games.”  Ferguson (2007) continues that lawyer Jack Thompson asserted that video game Counter-Strike may have been responsible for the shooters actions that’s all that was said about the video game issue, and Ferguson also stating has not heard enough to conclude the video game was at fault. Ferguson (2007) also did his own research regarding the lack of evidence in other cases “I completed my own meta-analytic review of 25 violent-game studies and found that publication bias and the use of poor and under standardized measures of aggression were significant problems for this area of research.” (Ferguson, 2007) By doing his own research and seeing the end results Ferguson can successfully conclude that the research done is not showing enough evidence for the rightful accusation of video games causing neither aggression nor violence among youths.

            Benjamin Radford also claims evidence ineffective on properly showing video games causing such harm among youths; many studies have different types of conclusions that none are consistent with each other.  “The approximately 200 studies on media violence are remarkable primarily for their inconsistency and weak conclusions. Some studies show a correlation between television and violence; others don't. Some find that violent programming can increase aggressiveness; another finds that "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" does.” (Radford, 2005) By depicting the inconsistency among the research, the studies loose credibility by stating different conclusions and not keeping in contact with the subject matter.  Radford (2005) continues to say they also fail to show “the real-world evidence . . . Daily teen life involves some profanity, adult themes . . . Has the sexual material resulted in an increase in teen sex? No”. Radford uses National Center for Health Statistics report that there is a decrease in teens having sex, even if there exposed to sexual content.  This implies that same effect is for violent video games; just cause teens are exposed to the media does not mean they will be affected by it and teens then will be violent and/or aggressive.

            In some cases it is argued that video games is just innocent fun as Blanchard (2007) states “most game players can tell reality from fantasy and have a level of common sense that prevents them from emulating the violence in media.  Instead, the violence in video games simply helps players find release from the frustrations in their daily lives.”  Blanchard makes good point on stress level many teens have coming out of high school and worries of graduating also in college the stress level is even higher the pressure of keeping good grades to pass and graduate on time and keeping that scholarship.  Blanchard also states of any type of media is imitated to a certain extent using common sense on what’s expectable for example “[choosing] to emulate certain video games such as fans of Street Fighter performing a motion that in-game would yield a fireball . . . level of common sense that intercedes before they pick up and proceed to beat a prostitute to death . . . while refilling their health meter as seen in Grand Theft Auto [GTA].” (2007) 

Do video games cause aggression in youths?

            In perspective, looking at the violence those video games has in any game really makes one think if video game violence does play part in aggression as well as violent behavior.  Craig Anderson (2005) is author who specializes in the field of psychology, specifically in the area of aggression and media violence. In this case Anderson does state violent video games cause aggression “Children who see a lot of violence is more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts.” (2007) Anderson also ads “[Video Game] violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place.  Viewing violence increases behaviors of becoming a victim of violence” (2007). With this argument Anderson illustrates idea of what’s going on with youths and their violent behavior.  Of course researchers had to look into the video games it self to see what is happening in the video games that cause aggression.  Anderson (2007) also states that in many video games players take the role of the character and see in the point of view of the character usually referred to as first person shooters with this view the player sees weapon in front of the screen as if they were actually holding the weapon them selves.  Anderson (2007) also argues that a reward in the game is awarded to the player, which makes the player continue into the video game, and exposed to more violence in the game for example many games reward players by proceeding to new level, giving the player points, new weapons, verbal praise, a voice coming out and saying “Nice Shot” or something along those lines to make player feel good on what their doing.   Anderson (2007) gets into the increase of aggression among players, he states “players are witnessing scenes of violence, which make aggressive thoughts more readily accessible in the player . . . aggressive scripts are essentially abstract guidelines for how to behave in certain situations.”  Linda Piepenbrinkalso weights in the aggressiveness that violent video games cause and repeated viewing of the violence in the game is helping the anti-social behavior.  Piepenbrinkalso (2005) specifically states, “The object of the most popular blockbuster video games is to kill people---with blood and chunks of bodies flying in different directions.  Eventually, those images become less shocking and result in lack of empathy for human suffering and death.” By making this statement Piepenbrinkalso is stating the more violence people see in video games the person becomes immune to the reactions of violence in video games therefore won’t have any negative reactions in real life.

            Each video game does have a rating system to let the consumer know if the video game being played has violence and how much violence it has.  In previous survey mentioned people were asked about the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESBR) all the persons asked, are aware of the rating system.  33% of the persons survey also answered they don’t pay attention to the rating system when buying video games for someone under the age of 17 years, and 33% do buy video games to age appropriate youths. The other 33% did not apply to them (R. Romero, personal communication, October 4, 2010). 

How aware are parents of the Entertainment Software Rating Board ratings?

Jonathan Harbour looks into the rating system it’s self and has come up with conclusion that that the video game rating system is ineffective and confusing, Harbour (2006) inputs this table of the rating system:

T – Teen: Age 13+
May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or frequent use of strong language.

M – Mature: Age17+
May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

AO – Adults Only: 18+
May include prolonge scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

“The ‘T—Teen’ rating and ‘M—Mature 17+’ rating are both abused by publishers, as far too many games are being released under the ‘T’ rating when they belong in the ‘M’ category.”  (Harbour, 2006).  Harbour continues in that sense there is one clear flaw between ‘T’ and ‘M’ rated games “Any game that depicts violence against women, promotes drug use, encourages violence against police officers and other public servants, uses vulgar profanity, or pornographic text, should clearly be rated for Adult-Only. But as was the case with the old X film rating, it attained an ego of its own, so that no game publisher will release an "AO" game due to the connotation that it contains pornography, even when the rating was not intended for that exclusive niche.”


Do video games train kids to kill?

     Another argument that is out there is that video games train kids to kill. In the video documentary: “Game Over: Gender, Race, and Violence in Video Games” Lt. Col. David Grossman talks about the simulators the military and law enforcement use to train. Lt. Grossman (2002) explains the simulator “law enforcement use big screen with plastic weapons, Fire Arms Training Simulator (FATS), hit the target, target drops, target fires back it is effective . . . [in] local arcades you’ll almost identical device, Time Crisis.” Lt. Grossman (2002) continues distinguish the differences between both, in the FATS they are trained to shoot the bad guys and if they hit the wrong target they are reprimanded punished sometimes even loosing their job.  Kids playing in arcade there is no adult supervision the game is designed to go “trigger happy”, once they pick up the gun they begin to shoot at anything that comes up on the screen they are not reprimanded.  “[The Military] doesn’t spend billions of dollars on military simulators for fun, they do it because it works” Lt. Grossman stated (Game Over, 2002).

     In conclusion, both these points on view argue their side very effective.  Especially to say that video games are training kids to kill is every effective and providing example on what is going on in people’s homes.  The fact is that studies have found video games to be predecessors for violent behavior and the rebuttal against it for being scapegoat for society’s problems.


Anderson, C. A. (2005) Violent Video Games Cause Aggression, United States District Cour, Northern District      of Illinois, Eastern Division. Retrieved from

Ferguson, C. J. (2007) Video Games Have Become a Scapegoat for Violent Behavior, Chronicles of Higher Education, vol 53, p. B20.

Harbour J. (2006) The Video Game Ratings System is an Ineffective Regulation, The Journalof Advancing Technology, vol 4.

Huntmann, N (Director/Producer) (2002). Game Over: Gender, Race, & Violence in Video Games [DVD]. Northhampton, MA: Media Education Foundation.

Blanchard, R. Video Games Do Not cause Violence, Associated Content. Retrieved            from

Piepenbrink, L. (2005) Violent Video games Teach Anti-social Behavior, In Focus, Retrieved from

Radford, B (2005) Violent Video Games Have not Been Proven to Harm Teens, retrieved  from