BADL Topic #1: Violent Video Games

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BADL Topic #1: Violent Video Games

The topic for the October and November BADL’s is: Resolved: The United States federal
government should ban violent video games.

Sample Affirmative Justifications

Justification 1:
Violent video games create violence.


A wealth of statistical information suggests a correlation between violent video games
and actual violence. Laboratory studies and real
-
world experiments suggest heightened states
of aggression, and learning that violence is justified and rewarded in so
ciety.

Justification 2: Video games are unique.


Video games are fundamentally different than other forms of violent media because
they are interactive. Instead of merely watching the violence, the player actively participates in
the violent act. Furthe
r, the player is rewarded for violent acts, learning the lesson that
violence is a necessary and positive outcome to many situations.

Justification 3: Video games affect people throughout their lives.


The recent Norway shooter is an example of someone wh
o was affected by the playing
of violent video games throughout their entire life. It is not merely that children will behave
more aggressively on the playground, rather, they learn life lessons that follow them even into
adulthood.

Sample Negative Justif
ications

Justification 1: Violent video games do not create violent behavior.


While video games may cause someone to be more aggressive in a lab setting, this
“aggression” has no real world corollary. Merely because someone’s heart may race and their
wi
llingness to do harm to an inanimate object may increase, does not mean they are more
willing to commit crimes with a weapon.

Justification 2: Scapegoating violent video games causes us to ignore real violence in society.


Violent video games are the equi
valent of rock and roll in another era

the latest
supposed scourge to corrupt the young generation. However, by looking for quick and easy
explanations for violent crime, society is likely to overlook the true causes of family violence
and domestic abuse.

There is no “quick fix” and looking for one causes us to ignore deeper
problems in society.

Justification 3: Self
-
regulation is the solution.


The video game industry responds to the problem of violent video games through an
aggressive rating system. S
ystems like these, designed by experts in the field, will be superior
to government bureaucrats coming up with ineffective solutions. Industry can handle the
problem of violent video games on their own.



Sample Affirmative Articles

Article #1

Source Cita
tion

Bickham, David S. "Video Games Foster Violent Behavior."
Media Violence
. Ed. Louise I.
Gerdes. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Testimony
before Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Right
s, and
Property Rights."
http://judiciary.senate.gov
. 2006.
Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context
. Web.
20 Sep. 2012.

Video Games Foster Violent Behavior

Media Violence , 2009


Listen

"Scientific research has repeated
ly demonstrated that children learn what video games teach, and
often that lesson is doing violence."

In the following viewpoint, David S. Bickham, staff scientist at the Center on Media and Child
Health and Children's Hospital in Boston, contends that vio
lent video games can lead to violent
behaviors in children. According to Bickham, violent video games typically reward aggression
and teach players that violence is an acceptable form of problem solving. After long
-
term
exposure to violent games, this mess
age is ingrained in players and can lead to lasting negative
effects, Bickham maintains.

As you read, consider the following questions:

1.

According to Bickham, what specific characteristics of video games make them
especially effective at instilling beliefs

and behaviors in children?

2.

Why, in Bickham's assessment, did early video game research show minimal differences
between exposure to violent and nonviolent video games?

3.

What are the bystander effect and the appetite effect produced by violent media,
accord
ing to Bickham?

Video games are a relatively new form of entertainment media. While the body of evidence on
video game violence is growing, we must consider it within the broader field of research
exploring portrayals of violence in television, film, and o
ther forms of visual media. There are
five decades of media violence research based on a sound theoretical and empirical
understanding of learning, aggression, and social cognition. A core ongoing project of the Center
on Media and Child Health is the cons
olidation of all existing research on media effects into one
publicly available database. After 3 years of work, the database includes over 1,200 research
reports published in peer
-
reviewed scientific journals investigating the effects of media violence.
T
hese studies show consensus in the state of the science that a strong and consistent relationship
exists between viewing violent media and increased levels of anxiety, desensitization and
aggressive thoughts and behaviors among young people. This body of r
esearch derives from a
broad spectrum of academic fields, including psychology, communications, public health, and
criminal justice, and it draws added strength from the vast array of methodologies utilized by the
different disciplines.

The Undeniable Draw

of Video Games

Taken alone, no study is perfect. Even the best study design can be criticized for the limitations
of its method. Taken together, however, each study about media violence provides a piece of a
single puzzle that all interlock to reveal one
picture. In this case, that picture is clear

using
violent media contributes to children's violent behavior. A variety of complementary
methodologies that have resulted in similar findings have been used to generate this overall
conclusion. Scientists have

exposed children to violent media in laboratories and found that they
behave more aggressively than children who saw non
-
violent television or played non
-
violent
games. Using survey studies, scientists have found that even after controlling for dozens of
complex environmental and individual characteristics linked to aggression, watching violent
television and playing violent video games still increases the likelihood that a child will be
violent. Researchers have followed children over their entire lives a
nd found that viewing violent
television as a child is one of the best predictors of criminal violent behaviors as an adult.

While the large body of research on violent television and film provides a solid foundation for
our understanding of the effects of

violent video games, there are reasons to believe that the
influences of violent video games are stronger than those of other forms of screen violence. All
media teach

whether by design or by default. Video games are exceptional teaching tools,
incorporat
ing many techniques that promote learning. First, video games are interactive,
allowing the player to be closely involved with the main character and to control that character's
actions. Second, video games directly reward the child's success in performing

the actions, with
visual effects, points, and opportunities to take on new challenges. Third, video games typically
require almost complete attention, necessitating constant eyes
-
on
-
screen and hand
-
eye
coordination to succeed in the game. Finally, video g
ames are designed to be incredibly engaging
and "fun," often leading children to slip deeply into a "flow state" in which they may be at
increased susceptibility to the messages of the game. Scientific research has repeatedly
demonstrated that children lea
rn what video games teach, and often that lesson is doing violence.

With More Sophisticated Technologies Comes Increasingly
Violent Reactions

Because the technology and media form are newer, investigating the effects of violent video
games is a younger
field than television violence research. Early video game research was
inconsistent. Studies performed in the 1980s were limited by electronic gaming technology; at
the time violent and non
-
violent games were often very similar. One study, for example,
com
pared the effects of playing Missile Command (considered the violent game) to Pac
-
Man
(considered the non
-
violent game). Both games feature abstract geometric icons interacting with
one another; both have the player's icons destroying or devouring other ic
ons. As video games
have become more graphically sophisticated and capable of depicting violence in a much more
graphic and realistic way, the differences between violent and non
-
violent video games have
dramatically increased. Not surprisingly, research e
xploring the effects of these newer games is
much more clear and consistent than previous research. The newest research has definitively and
repeatedly converged on the conclusion that playing violent video games is linked to children's
aggression.

We all
know that children are not automatons who mimic everything they see; their behavior is
much more complicated than that. However, there is a widely held misconception that unless
children immediately imitate the violence they experience in a video game, the
y are unaffected
by it. Children who play Grand Theft Auto don't immediately begin stealing cars and shooting
police officers. As a result, many would have you believe that this means that violent video
games have no influence. We cannot assume that the ab
sence of immediate and direct imitation
means that there are no effects on children.

In rare situations violence from media may be directly imitated after a single exposure, but the
most pervasive effects of violent media are not direct imitation and come
from repeated
viewings. With each exposure, the child's perception of the world is shifted to include violence
as a common and acceptable occurrence. The child's behaviors evolve to correspond with this
perception and can follow "behavioral scripts" establ
ished through experiencing violent media.

Positive Reinforcement for Violent Behavior

Four primary effects of violent media that have been consistently documented in the scientific
literature: the aggressor, victim, bystander, and appetite effects. The
aggressor effect is the most
well known

using violent media increases the likelihood that a child will think and behave
aggressively toward others. The victim effect is the tendency for users of violent media to see the
world as a scary and violent place p
romoting anxiety and protective behaviors. The bystander
effect describes how violent media desensitizes its users to the real
-
life violence making them
generally less caring and sympathetic to victims of violence and less likely to intervene when
they wit
ness violence. Finally, the appetite effect demonstrates that using violent media often
increases children's desire to see more violence.

While each of these effects can have substantial influence on children's behaviors, the aggressor
effect is perhaps th
e most troublesome because it puts children at immediate risk of committing
violence. It is, therefore, critical to understand how exposure to violent video games translates
into aggressive behavior. This process is grounded in our understanding of how chi
ldren learn,
how aggression in general is cultivated, and how video game violence affects its users.

Violent video games present a world in which violence is justified, rewarded, and often the only
option for success. Exposure to this world primes children

for hostile thoughts and behaviors
immediately after playing a game. When children play violent video games, they become both
physically and mentally aroused. Their heart rates increase and their blood pressure rises. They
begin to think aggressively and
to solve problems with violence. In this heightened and primed
state, children are more likely to perceive other people's behaviors as aggressive and they are
more likely to respond aggressively. In laboratory studies designed to test this effect, particip
ants
who played violent video games were more likely to punish competitors than participants who
played non
-
violent games.

Over time, repeated exposure to violent media can have long
-
term effects. A person's pattern of
behavior can become more aggressive t
hrough the adoption of aggressive skills, beliefs, and
attitudes, desensitization to violence, and an aggressive approach to interactions with other
people. Scientific findings have repeatedly provided solid evidence for this process

using
violent media as

a child predicts aggressive behavior in adulthood.

A Varying but Always Violent Response

Violent video games often have subtle effects but may lead to dramatic consequences for some
children. Certain characteristics make some children more susceptible to
media effects, while
other children are more resilient. However, no known factor or set of factors has yet been
identified that completely safeguards children from the influences of violent media.

Children's susceptibility to the effects of media violence
varies with their age. Children younger
than eight years are more vulnerable to media violence effects because they have not yet
developed the ability to discriminate fully between fantasy and reality in media content.
Research has consistently shown that
young children often behave more aggressively than older
children do after playing violent video games.

Children who identify with the perpetrator of media violence are also at increased risk of
becoming aggressive. Violent video games, particularly the ap
tly named "first
-
person shooter"
games, place the player in the role of the violent perpetrator. This level of involvement is likely
to increase the player's identification with the violence and its subsequent cognitive and
behavioral effects.

Cognitive an
d emotional maturity tends to increase children's resistance to the effects of violent
media. It is important to remember, however, that neither these nor any other set of
characteristics fully protects a child from all of the subtle and pervasive effects
of violent media.

Further Readings

Books



Tim Allen and Jean Seaton The Media of Conflict: War Reporting and Representations of
Ethnic Violence. New York: Zed Books, 1999.



Bonnie Anderson News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment and the Bottom
-
Line Business
of
Broadcast News. San Francisco: Jossey
-
Bass, 2004.



Craig A. Anderson, Douglas A. Gentile, and Katherine E. Buckley Violent Video Game
Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy. New York:
Oxford University Press, 2007.



Martin B
arker and Julian Petley, eds. Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate. New York:
Routledge, 1997.



Karen Boyle Media and Violence: Gendering the Debates. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage,
2005.



Cynthia Carter Violence and the Media. Philadelphia, PA: Open University
Press, 2003.



Cynthia A. Cooper Violence in the Media and Its Influence on Criminal Defense.
Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2007.



Jib Fowles The Case for Television Violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1999.



Jonathan L. Freedman Media Violence and Its Effect

on Aggression. Toronto, Ont:
University of Toronto Press, 2002.



Jeffrey Goldstein, ed. Why We Watch: The Attractions of Violent Entertainment. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1998.



Tom Grimes, James A. Anderson Media Violence and Aggression: Science an
d Ideology.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2008.



Dave Grossman and Gloria Degaetano Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action
Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence. New York: Crown Publishers, 1999.



Gerard Jones Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fan
tasy, Super Heroes, and Make
-
Believe Violence. New York: Basic Books, 2003.



Douglas Kellner Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics Between the
Modern and the Postmodern. New York: Routledge, 1995.



Stephen J. Kirsh Children, Adolescents, and

Media Violence: A Critical Look at the
Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006.



Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About
Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008.



Joshua Meyrow
itz No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social
Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.



Hillel Nossek, Annabelle Sreberny, and Prasun Sonwalker, eds. Media and Political
Violence. Cresskill, NJ: Hapton Press, 2007.



Neil Postman T
he Disappearance of Childhood. New York: Vintage, 1994.



W. James Potter The 11 Myths of Media Violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2003.



Thomas Rosenstiel and Amy S. Mitchell Thinking Clearly: Cases in Journalistic
Decision
-
Making. New York: Columbia Univers
ity Press, 2003.



Harold Schechter Savage Pastimes: A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment. New
York: St. Martin's Press, 2005.



Jean Seaton Carnage and the Media: The Making and Breaking of News About Violence.
New York: Penguin Books, 2005.



Roger Simp
son Covering Violence: A Guide to Ethical Reporting About Victims &
Trauma. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.



Karen Sternheimer It's Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture's Influence on
Children. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2003.



James P. Steyer T
he Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media's Effect on Our
Children. New York: Atria, 2002.



David Trend The Myth of Media Violence: A Critical Introduction. Malden, MA: Wiley
-
Blackwell, 2007.

Periodicals



Lisa Brooten "Media and Violence: Gendering the
Debates," Culture & Society, July
2006.



Elizabeth K. Carll "Violent Video Games: Rehearsing Aggression," Chronicle of Higher
Education, July 13, 2007.



David Edelstein "Now Playing at Your Local Multiplex: Torture Porn," New York
Magazine, February 6, 2006.



Lis Else and Mike Holderness "Are the Kids Alright After All?" New Scientist, July 2,
2005.



Daniel Koffler "Grand Theft Scapegoat," Reason, October 2005.



Bowie Kotria "Sex and Violence: Is Exposure to Media Content Harmful to Children?"
Children & Librari
es: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children,
Summer
-
Fall 2007.



Chris Mercogliano "An Amish Farmer's Insight," Encounter, Winter 2006.



Justin Peters "Blood, Guts and Entertainment," Reason, February 2006.



Barbara Righton "It's a Scene

from 24

No, It's a Car Ad," Maclean's, December 18,
2006.



Seth Schiesel "Under Glare of Scrutiny, A Game Is Toned Down," New York Times,
October 29, 2007.



A.O. Scott "True Horror: When Movie Violence Is Random," New York Times, March
23, 2003.



USA Today "
Media Violence May Be Real Culprit Behind Virginia Tech Tragedy,"
April 19, 2007.

Full Text:
COPYRIGHT 2004 Greenhaven Press, COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale.



Affirmative Article #2

Source Citation

Horton, Joseph J. "A free speech challenge for parents."
The
Humanist

Sept.
-
Oct. 2011: 9+.
Gale
Opposing Viewpoints In Context
. Web. 20 Sep. 2012.

A free speech challenge for parents

The Humanist , September
-
October 2011


Listen

Should a thirteen
-
year
-
old be able to purchase a school
-
shooting simulator without parents'
knowledge or consent?

The Supreme Court says that freedom of speech requires they do have

that opportunity. On June 27, in a 7
-
2 decision, the court struck down a

California law barring
the sale of graphically violent video games to people under eighteen.

I haven't seen legal minds commenting on what seem (to me) to be obvious consequences of this
decision. If the First Amendment requires that minors be able to pu
rchase graphically violent
video games, does this mean minors may attend R
-
rated movies without an adult or purchase
pornography? We have longstanding traditions and laws that regulate the speech to which minors
may be exposed without the consent of their
parents.

Research on the effects of violent video games has shown that parents and society have reason to
be concerned. We're not talking about the games from my youth like Space Invaders or games
that involved a cartoon
-
like image of a person falling ove
r. Today's games include graphic,
movie
-
quality images of death and dismemberment. And unlike a movie, which is viewed
passively, game players are actively causing the scenes that unfold before them.

Yes, video games are pretend. Of course, they are. Even

young teenagers who play the games
know they aren't real. Yet, even passively viewing pretend images affects the way people think.
Television commercials are fictional, to the point of fantasy, and we all know this. The reason
some of the most successful
businesses in the world advertise
--
even paying over two
-
million
dollars for a thirty
-
second Super Bowl spot
--
is not to generously provide free television for us
but because data shows that advertising changes consumers' attitudes and behavior. Active
parti
cipation, like playing a video game, changes attitudes and behavior more efficiently than
passively watching TV.

Anders Behring Breivik, the man charged with killing at least seventy
-
six people in the recent
bomb attack and summer camp shooting in Norway,

writes about playing the graphically violent
game Modern Warfare 2. To learn more about this game, I was required to enter my birth date on
its website, modernwarfare2.infinityward. com. This indicates that the producers of the game
recognize the content
is inappropriate for children. The game is essentially a combat simulator
that provides a virtual training ground for people prone to mass murder.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Will most kids who play games that simulate school shootings live out the roles they

are
playing? No. Will most kids who play Grand Theft Auto steal cars? No. Very few kids who play
violent video games will perform those acts in real life. The changes most kids will experience as
a result of playing violent video games are more subtle tha
n becoming mass murderers, but are
still quite measurable.

For example, greater exposure to violent media desensitizes people to the effects of violence and
aggression. What would normally be abhorrent becomes "not so bad" or perhaps even funny.
Violent v
ideo games cause users to think more violent thoughts. Typical behavioral effects from
these changes in thinking might range from not being appropriately moved by images of real
human suffering to being more argumentative and disrespectful.

Although there

isn't ample space here for a full consideration of the effects of using violent video
games, I can easily spend an entire class period in my course on child development discussing
violent media. Among its well
-
established effects is that users of violent
media are more likely to
believe that crime victims deserved their fate. In addition, users of violent media have a distorted
view of the world, believing life to be significantly less safe than it is.

It's true that people who are prone to aggressiveness

are more likely to use violent media. It is
also true that people who use violent media become more aggressive. None of us want to believe
that we will acquire a taste for the distasteful, but if we consume enough of what began as
distasteful, it becomes
satisfying.

Make no mistake about it; video games can be a great use of free time. Research shows that kids
who play video games develop better spatial skills and hand
-
eye coordination. Multiplayer
games can also teach social and management skills. These
games are also just plain fun. Yet the
benefits of video games do not require gruesome images.

We endure a lot of ugliness to protect our right to free speech. Like Justices Clarence Thomas
and Steven Breyer, I do not believe that denying the sale of viol
ent video games to people under
eighteen would have strained the First Amendment. With or without laws that require adult
involvement for kids to have questionable material, however, parents must be parents. Laws are
no substitute for parental monitoring.
While I find the Court's decision disappointing, it
highlights the need for parents to be proactive and willing to make tough decisions.

Joseph J. Horton is professor of psychology at Grove City College and a researcher with the
Center for Vision & Values
.

Horton, Joseph J.

Affirmative Article #3

Source Citation

Dziewanski, Dariusz. "Popular Culture Promotes Gun Violence."
Gun Violence
. Ed. Louise Gerdes. Detroit:
Greenhaven Press, 2011. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Young Guns."
Briar Patch

37 (Sept.
-
Oct.
2008): 23
-
26.
Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context
. Web. 20 Sep. 2012.

Popular Culture Promotes Gun Violence

Gun Violence

,
2011


"Popular culture, through violent film, music and video games, often glorifies the

use of arms."

Studies show that social and cultural forces prompt some people to turn to gun violence, claims Dariusz
Dziewanski

in the following viewpoint. Pop culture images lead some young people to believe that
wielding guns can lead to affluence and
power, he asserts. Indeed,
Dziewanski

maintains, guns are often
associated with other symbols of success in popular culture such as expensive cars, jewelry, and sexually
available women. For poor, marginalized youth who see few roads to advancement, guns h
ave a potent
appeal, he reasons.
Dziewanski

works for the Canadian International Development Agency, whose
mission is to reduce poverty and promote economic equity.

As you read, consider the following questions:

1.

According to an author quoted in the viewpo
int, how do media create the perception that more
crime exists, when crime is actually decreasing?

2.

What reasons did Ottawa gang members give for carrying guns?

3.

What are some of the risk factors that the Small Arms Survey identified in a 2006 article?

"The
first gun I bought was from a friend of a friend

a 35 [millimeter]. I had held pistols
before, but finally had my own. I was 16 and remember staring down the barrel like I was going
to shoot. But I had never fired one before and if somebody had shot at me,

I wouldn't have
known how to shoot back.

"I was fine to just show it around and act tough. It made me feel respected."

So says a former Ottawa gang member, recalling a misspent childhood among guns and gangs.
Six
-
foot
-
two, tattooed and wearing a baggy tra
ck suit, this imposing stereotype of a self
-
proclaimed criminal is quick to laugh at himself now as he tells stories about his past. "I was
badass," he says, "but I was also totally scared."

Social and Cultural Forces

While most violent crimes in Canada ar
e committed with knives, clubs and other blunt
instruments, firearms do contribute to social violence in certain contexts, especially among
young males. In particular, there is growing empirical evidence that social and cultural forces
influence whether or

not an individual turns to armed violence. Despite overall drops in overall
violent gun crime in Canada, a national fixation on guns is intensifying among youth, and this
growing trend is being fuelled by media and pop culture.

Violence, particularly gun
violence, can be learned. As young men take lessons from the world
around them, some appear to relate to violent imagery, as it justifies and even glorifies their own
use of arms.

Although the vast majority of youth in Canada are not turning to guns, some
are identifying with
a pop culture of violence that leads them to believe that guns are their ticket to affluence and
power. Caught between the material world and the real world, young men in impoverished
neighbourhoods pick up firearms hoping to defend th
emselves against a form of structural
violence that kills people slowly through alienation, exclusion and marginalization. Perceptions
are reality, and in their world the perception is (as the NRA [National Rifle Association of
America] is so fond of sayin
g) that an armed person is a citizen, while an unarmed person is
merely a subject.

The Marginalized Youth
-
Violence Connection

A February 2008 Statistics Canada report entitled "Firearms and Violent Crime" revealed that
more Canadian youth are using guns wh
en committing acts of violent crime. While the report
also points to a 30
-
year low in overall violent gun crime, the percentage of youth aged 12 to 17
years accused of a firearm
-
related violent crime is at its highest point since 1998. The percentage
of ad
olescents accused of homicide in 2006 is higher than it has been in over three decades, with
more getting involved in serious criminal activity at a younger age, often as members of gangs in
urban centres.

Christian Pearce is the co
-
authour of the book
Ent
er the Babylon System
, an exploration of the
emerging gun culture in North America. "Once guns are present and combined with poverty," he
says, "they become problematic. Youth are not inherently violent, but are often marginalized and
scared. In neighborho
ods with violence, youth often feel threatened, even by police. That's when
they turn to guns." This seems to be particularly so when young men are excluded from non
-
violent avenues of advancement, or if they face discrimination or threats to their securit
y. This is
not to say that armed violence is a reasonable or constructive response to marginalization, but in
these situations, violence can have a powerful appeal.

As Pearce points out, "media jumps on criminal activity as entertainment and creates the
pe
rception that there is more crime, when crime is actually decreasing." The day after the
aforementioned Statistics Canada report, stories of youth and guns dominated news headlines,
with low overall gun crime reduced to a subplot. That seems fair enough. A
rmed youth violence
is a problem that should be reported, discussed and addressed

but not in a way that
sensationalizes the issue, or leads to what Pearce calls the "demonization" of youth, which is
what tends to happen. In his opinion, this message is "si
mplistic and archaic" and creates a self
-
fulfilling prophecy. Instead, more must be done to "believe in, respect and invest in youth."

Anti
-
Social Capital

Part of the problem, according to James Sheptycki, a professor of criminology at York
University, is
that the public discussion of these issues, and of their potential solutions, too often
falls into blind ideology and polarizing extremes. "Far too much complexity is lost," Sheptycki
says. "More nuanced discussion must emerge if the policies developed to
tackle gun crime are to
be effective." Perhaps this lack of nuance stems in part from the news media's bad
-
news
-
first
policy, or the reporting of stories painted in sweeping strokes. Maybe it is that guns represent a
politically charged topic that is often

reduced to easily digestible, largely meaningless slogans
like "guns don't kill people, people do."

The city of Ottawa distinguishes itself as both a scene of youth gang violence and, potentially, at
least, a source of leadership in the efforts to reduce
such violence. In October 2007, the federal
government's Throne Speech identified "tackling crime," particularly violent gun crime, as one
of its key priorities. The government translated these promises into Bill C
-
2, which, among other
measures, seeks tou
gher minimum prison sentences for serious gun crimes that involve restricted
or prohibited weapons or are connected with gangs, as well as longer sentences for other gun
crimes like trafficking and smuggling. In addition, the bill also proposes that youth
charged with
violent crimes, including gun crimes, be tried as adults. Although some, especially victim
groups, applaud the Tories [political party] for their tough stance on gun crime, many see these
efforts as counterproductive. "You can't incarcerate yo
ur way out of gun crime," argues Ottawa
University Criminology Professor Irvin Waller. "There must be an effort made to address the
sources of gun violence, by building safety through prevention."

Meanwhile, the city of Ottawa boasts an estimated 600 gang
members, typically concentrated in
low
-
income, high
-
density communities in the city's Greenbelt. Gang membership in the city is
often linked to guns. In an effort to give a face to a problem that has typically been reduced to
statistics and stereotypes, I
arranged to sit down with three former gang members from east
Ottawa.

Protection and Respect

When asked why they carried guns, each cited protection and respect as their main reasons. "If
you shoot it or not, you've got respect and feel like you do not hav
e to take anything from
anybody," said one of the former gang members. He had been in the gang until only recently,
and still displayed the boyish antagonism of somebody who is used to being threatened.
Violence, including armed violence, can be a powerful

form of self
-
preservation, both physically
and psychologically. Those living in poor or dangerous areas feel a continual threat to their
personal safety.

Of the three youth, all had owned firearms at some point, but only one admitted to actually
shooting
at another person, in what he called "revenge for the beating of a friend." By his own
admission, however, he "didn't even come close" to hitting anybody. The same young man had
also been shot at, and all three said that they knew both perpetrators and vic
tims of shootings.

The young man who cited respect as being a motivating factor for carrying a weapon was also
quick to point out that he had "had a gun, but for a long time didn't have bullets." The oldest son
of Somali immigrants, he, like the other two
interviewees, seemed to fluctuate awkwardly
between being tough and being scared. In one instance, an emphatic story of a robbery faded into
the recollection of his heartbroken mother who "cried at the news that her son had been arrested."

Images of Guns a
nd Success

The mythology in our culture surrounding the display and use of guns is powerful, indeed.
According to Sheptycki, "there are powerful cultural forces that create a mythology around gun
use, creating a pathway to criminality. Popular culture, thr
ough violent film, music and video
games, often glorifies the use of arms. Some hip hop, for example, endorses profligacy and
violence. Its speech and mannerisms are often intentionally threatening, and endorse
socioeconomic ascension through violent means
."

Generally, adolescent males are the main consumers of music that features firearm violence and
movies loaded with armed violent scenes. They also are the principal targets for violent video
games, especially first
-
person shooter games, which render the
experience of killing from the
perspective of the player character and within which a gun is often the preferred means of
violence. The youths most prone to armed violence, in particular those who perceive success to
be inaccessible through nonviolent mean
s, may be the same ones who tend to identify with these
popular representations of gun violence.

Pop culture frequently associates firearms with other popular symbols of male success, including
expensive cars, designer clothing, jewellery and scantily clad
, sexually available women. On a
daily basis, the have
-
nots are riddled with media messages of what they should have. The hip
-
hop lifestyle, for example, is itself branded: Cristal champagne, Mercedes cars and Versace
clothing are all a part of this, coexi
sting alongside gun brands such as Glock or Smith & Wesson.
Guns are a commodity in consumer culture and are advertised through songs, music videos, and
movies, along with other items portrayed as symbols of affluence.

"You see a guy with a gun, you see hi
m in a car, wearing a gold chain and nice kicks

and
especially girls. Why wouldn't I want that?" explained one 20
-
year
-
old former gang member.
Though now unarmed, he still confidently displays a gold chain and expensive shoes,
presumably for the same reaso
ns he used to carry a gun. When asked if he could attain such a
lifestyle without a gun, he responded, "sure, lots of people don't have guns: janitors don't have
guns, garbagemen don't have guns. Whatever, they don't have money, cars, or girls either."

Sim
ply possessing a gun can make a man appear powerful, rich and strong. Marginalized young
males frequently lack power, despite being socially conditioned to seek it. Masculinity, at least
as it is defined in popular culture, is deeply invested in a search f
or power and status, increasing
the desire to "weaponize" in order to counter any perceived emasculation.

Facing the Risk Factors

That is not to say that all young men who are exposed to hip hop, guns, or even poverty will turn
to violent crime. Many more
youth who face the same risk factors are reluctant to participate in
delinquency or violence. According to Youth Services Ottawa, the vast majority of young men
with whom they are involved are nonviolent and are just trying to meet their basic needs. "Pop
culture and poverty affect more than just gang members and those that take up arms," says
Dennis Rodgers, a lecturer in Urban Development at the London School of Economics. Through
his research on violence, he has come to the opinion that "no study has eve
r managed to predict
on a precise level what would predispose somebody to gang activity and armed crime." But in
general terms, research initiatives have identified several risk factors that do predispose young
men to armed violence. In their 2006 article
"Angry Young Men," the Small Arms Survey, an
independent research project based in Geneva, identified a number of these risk factors,
including: being labelled as troublesome, low school achievement, having witnessed or
experienced violence in the home or
community, limited parental control, holding more
traditional or rigid views about gender, and having used violence and seen that violence produces
respect. A recognition that these risk factors exist can inform effective policies which will help to
reduce

gun violence

not just among youth, but overall.

The Small Arms Survey has also identified a number of protective social factors that can
safeguard some young men from becoming involved in crime and violence. These include
having valued and stable relation
ships with people whom they would disappoint by becoming
involved in armed violence, being aware of the risks associated with the violent version of
masculinity, and finding alternative male peer groups that provide positive reinforcement for
nonviolent ma
le identities.

Examining Preventative Measures

A February 2008 report by Crime Prevention Ottawa on youth gang prevention in the city
pointed to a number of initiatives to encourage these and other protective factors among at
-
risk
youth. Life
-
skills develo
pment, after
-
school programs, organized sports, academic support and
mentoring and parent support programs are hardly glamorous, but they are the first line of
preventative defence against armed criminality. Research and interviews suggest that when it
com
es to the long
-
term solutions to gun violence among youth, prevention is the name of the
game, particularly the introduction of comprehensive initiatives that seek to both promote
protective factors and remove risk factors.

According to the Small Arms Surv
ey, it is also critical to reshape social symbolism surrounding
guns and disarm the pop culture of violence. This requires a broad cultural shift in which media
and pop culture can play a key role. In some instances, celebrities have stepped up to raise
aw
areness and serve as positive role models. In a 2007 interview with the
Toronto Star
, Christian
Pearce described how a hip
-
hop artist like Canada's Solitair can write a song like "Easy to Slip"
about a cousin who lived a gangster lifestyle and was shot dea
d as a result. The song begins with
the artist looking up to his older 16
-
year
-
old cousin for the "gold chains, Nike Air Jordans,
chicks on his jock", but ends in a warning against a violent life: "I ain't a hustler, my cousin
packed a gun, and his memory'
s the reason I will never pack one."

Similarly, the rhymes of Toronto's k
-
os focus on promoting a positive message, while at times
expressing criticism of mainstream hip
-
hop culture's obsession with money, fame and
glorification of violence. Just as media,

pop culture, or hip hop can contribute to the gun
problem, they can also play a powerful role in contributing to peaceful solutions. Solitair and k
-
os are examples of celebrities who can project a positive masculine ideal that is successful,
admirable, an
d attractive, and that rejects gun violence.

A Collective Effort

While gun use is often seen as a male problem that men need to take responsibility for
confronting, women can play an important role in promoting peace. For instance, in Colombia,
women livin
g in the violence
-
ridden city of Pereira joined the local government's disarmament
efforts in a so
-
called "crossed legs" initiative that saw participating women withholding sex from
husbands and boyfriends who refused to get rid of their weapons. Of course
, the fostering of
healthier gender relations and less destructive ideals of masculinity requires a much broader
empowerment of women than the selective withholding of sex from male partners engaged in
violence. Nevertheless, this example demonstrates that

women are vital to, and can be successful
in, promoting nonviolence among men, even in the world's most violent settings.

Indeed, reducing gun violence is a collective effort, and one that begins with a willingness to
believe in young people. In part, thi
s means recognizing that those affected by youth crime
shouldn't be simply labelled either criminals or victims. All of the youth interviewed for this
[viewpoint], for instance, were at one point either direct or indirect victims as well as
perpetrators of

gun crime. All became involved with guns through gangs for protection, status
and power. At the same time, all have mentioned that, to varying degrees of success, they are
trying to "grow up" and grow into new identities less rooted in violence. All are a
rticulate and
expressive young men with hopes and aspirations, living in a world that seldom lives up to what
pop culture promises. As the oldest of the three told me, "living like a gangster is easy. Anyone
can beat somebody up, or carry a gun. Going to s
chool or getting a job, that's hard. Not turning to
violence or gangs, that deserves respect."

Further Readings

Books



Amnesty International
The Impact of Guns on Women's Lives
. Oxford, England: Oxfam
International, 2005.



Joan Burbick
Gun Show Nation: Gun
Culture and American Democracy
. New York: New Press,
2006.



Robert H. Churchill
To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant's Face: Libertarian Political Violence and
the Origins of the Militia Movement
. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2009.



Philip J. Co
ok and Jens Ludwig
The Social Costs of Gun Ownership
. Cambridge, MA: National
Bureau of Economic Research, 2004.



Saul Cornell
A Well
-
Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in
America
. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.



Wendy Cukier
The Global Gun Epidemic: From Saturday Night Specials to AK
-
47s
. Westport, CT:
Praeger Security International, 2006.



Barna William Donovan
Blood, Guns, and Testosterone: Action Films, Audiences, and a Thirst for
Violence
. Lanham, MD: Scarecro
w Press, 2010.



Arnold Grossman
One Nation Under Guns: An Essay on an American Epidemic
. Golden, CO:
Fulcrum, 2006.



Bernard E. Harcourt
Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy
. Chicago, IL: University
of Chicago Press, 2006.



David Hemenway
Priv
ate Guns, Public Health
. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press,
2004.



Douglas Kellner
Guys and Guns Amok: Domestic Terrorism and School Shootings from the
Oklahoma City Bombing to the Virginia Tech Massacre
. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2008.



Caitlin Kelly

Blown Away: American Women and Guns
. New York: Pocket Books, 2004.



Gary Kleck
Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America
. New Brunswick, NJ: Aldine Transaction,
2005.



Abigail A. Kohn
Shooters: Myths and Realities of America's Gun Cultures
. New York: Oxford

University Press, 2004.



Wayne LaPierre
Guns, Freedom, and Terrorism
. Nashville, TN: WND Books, 2003.



John R. Lott Jr.
The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control
Is Wrong
. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2003.



Jeffrey D. Monroe
Ho
micide and Gun Control: The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and
Homicide Rates
. New York: LFB Scholarly, 2008.



Robert J. Spitzer
The Politics of Gun Control
. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2008.



Charles Fruehling Springwood, ed.
Open Fire: Understanding G
lobal Gun Cultures
. New York:
Berg, 2007.



Irvin Waller
Less Law, More Order: The Truth About Reducing Crime
. Westport, CT: Praeger,
2006.



Franklin E. Zimring
The Great American Crime Decline
. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Periodicals



Joseph Q. D
avis "The Legacy of 'If Someone Hits You, You Better Hit Back,'"
Reclaiming Children
and Youth
, Spring 2006.



Charlie Gillis "American Guns, Canadian Violence,"
Maclean's
, August 15, 2005.



Kristin A. Goss "Good Policy, Not Stories, Can Reduce Violence,"
Chronicle of Higher Education
,
vol. 53, no. 35, May 2007.



Bob Herbert "A Threat We Can't Ignore,"
New York Times
, June 20, 2009.



A. Barton Hinkle "Armed Citizens: Both Left and Right Could Use Second Amendment
Refresher,"
Richmond Times
-
Dispatch
, June 26,
2009.



Darcus Howe "Hot
-
Headed Murders That Can Be Stopped,"
New Statesman
, April 7, 2008.



Jackson Katz "Memo to the Media: It's Men's Violence,"
Voice Male
, Winter 2007.



Jordan Michael Smith "Crimes and Misconceptions,"
Western Standard

(Vancouver, British

Columbia, Canada), July 30, 2007.



Will Sullivan "An Uphill Climb for Gun Laws; A New Debate, Perhaps, but the Same Old Politics,"
U.S. News & World Report
, April 30, 2007.



Washington Times

"God or Guns?" April 23, 2009.

Negative Article #1

Source Citation

Ferguson, Christopher J. "Video Games Have Become a Scapegoat for Violent Behavior."
Media
Violence
. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt.
from "Video Games: The Latest Scapegoat for Violence."
Chronicle of Hig
her Education

22
June 2007: B20.
Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context
. Web. 20 Sep. 2012.

Video Games Have Become a Scapegoat for Violent
Behavior

Media Violence , 2009


Listen

"Of course, once the dust
settles, it may really be that video games, like most other forms of
entertainment, are simply that: entertainment, neither helpful nor harmful."

Christopher J. Ferguson is an assistant professor of behavioral sciences and criminal justice at
Texas A&M Uni
versity. In the following viewpoint, he argues that it has become all too
common to blame video games for inciting individuals to act out in a violent manner. Ferguson
maintains that research has not shown a direct correlation between playing violent video

games
and perpetrating violence. However, he asserts that despite this lack of correlation, the media,
politicians, and social scientists are willing to insist that a connection exists between video game
violence and real
-
word violence to further their ow
n agendas and avoid discussing sensitive
issues, such as family violence, that may actually contribute to a more violent society.

As you read, consider the following questions:

1.

What flaws did Ferguson find in his meta
-
analysis of twenty
-
five violent
-
game
studies?

2.

In the author's view, why does the "video
-
game hypothesis" remain so active despite
contradictory evidence?

3.

According to Ferguson, what is the video game Re
-
Mission, and how is it being used?

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, it was dist
ressing to see the paroxysms of neurotic
finger
-
pointing and "expert witnessing" that inevitably followed. Beyond noting simply that a
bad (evil, some would say) man chose one day to make the lives of other individuals as hellish as
he felt his own to be,
I don't think we'll ever come up with much more of a scientific explanation
for what leads people, mostly men, to become mass murderers. Let me put that another way:
Beyond individuals who actually threaten in advance to carry out school shootings (which a

recent Secret Service report concluded was the only really useful indicator), no other behavior is
particularly predictive of such acts of senseless violence.

That's not very satisfying, is it? Perhaps for that reason, it seems to me that increasingly, as

a
culture, we have shied away from holding people responsible for their behaviors, and instead
prefer to seek out easy or even abstract entities to blame. Events like school shootings tend to
make people nervous. Nervous people like reassurance. We would
like to think that such events
can be explained, predicted, and prevented. We like scientists and politicians who stand up and
claim to have the answers so that we can fix the problem.

The New Media Violence Scapegoat

The difficulty is that this often lead
s to a witch hunt or moral panic, wherein explanations rely on
weak social science or what is politically expedient. In past centuries, 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, to television, movies, and comic books, people have viewed various media as being
responsible for personal failings, as if such media were like the serpent in the Garden of Eden,
leading us astray from our natural goodness. Increasingly, i
n the past two decades, video games
have been the scapegoat du jour. The video
-
game platform is the newest kid on the media block
and, as such, is subject to a particularly high dose of suspicion and scrutiny. I think that this is
wrong and, indeed, danger
ous.

It seemed that the Virginia Tech rampage was barely over before a few pundits began
speculating on the role of video games. The lawyer and activist Jack Thompson asserted that
violent games such as Counter
-
Strike may have been responsible for the shoo
ter's actions.
Although I have heard little to indicate conclusively that the perpetrator was an avid gamer, the
prevalence of game playing among young men makes it likely that he would have crossed paths
with a violent game at some point ("He played Spy V
ersus Spy once when he was 12, that's the
culprit!"). For instance, a 1996 study found that 98.7 percent of children of either gender played
some video games, with violent games, like Streetfighter II, particularly popular among young
men (93 percent of wh
om had played that one game alone). Since most young men today play
violent video games, it is usually not hard to "link" a violent crime with video
-
game playing if
you are so inclined. This is the classic error of using a high
-
base
-
rate (very common) beha
vior to
explain a low
-
base
-
rate (rare) behavior. Using video
-
game
-
playing habits to predict school
shootings is about as useful as noting that most or all school shooters were in the habit of
wearing sneakers and concluding that sneakers must be responsibl
e for such violence.

The Lack of Evidence Relating Video Games and Violent
Behavior

I actually do research on violent video games. I certainly don't speak for others in the field, some
of whom I know will disagree with my perspective, but I do speak from a

familiarity with the
research and the literature. One meta
-
analysis of video
-
game studies, conducted this year by
John Sherry, of Michigan State University, found little support for the belief that playing violent
games causes aggression. Recently I compl
eted my own meta
-
analytic review (published in the
journal Aggression and Violent Behavior) of 25 violent
-
game studies and found that publication
bias and the use of poor and unstandardized measures of aggression were significant problems
for this area of
research.

My meta
-
analysis concluded that there was no evidence to support either a causal or correlational
relationship between video games and aggressive behavior. My impression is that social science
made up its mind that video games cause aggression be
fore many data were available, and has
subsequently attempted to fit square pieces of evidence into round theoretical holes. The
threshold for what appears to constitute "evidence" is remarkably low. Admittedly, publication
bias (the tendency to publish ar
ticles that support a hypothesis and not publish those that don't) is
very likely a widespread problem in the social sciences and is not unique to video
-
game studies.
Perhaps this is really a reflection on human nature. I may sound hopelessly postmodern he
re, but
sometimes we forget that scientists are mere humans, and that the process of science, as a human
enterprise, may always have difficulty rising above a collective and dogmatic pat on the back
rather than a meaningful search for truth.

Creating Studi
es to Support Policy Decisions

Unfortunately, I think it is a worrisome reflection on social science in general that social
scientists may be too prone to make big and frightening pronouncements from weak results. That
violent crime rates in the United Sta
tes have gone down significantly since 1994 (despite some
small recent increases) while video games have gotten more popular and more violent should, in
and of itself, be sufficient to reject the video
-
game
-
violence hypothesis (and the rest of the
media
-
vi
olence hypothesis with it). Some media researchers attempt to defuse this argument by
suggesting that "other factors" are at play, but no theory should be allowed to survive such a
retreat to an unfalsifiable position

that it never need actually fit with r
eal
-
world data. Could
you imagine how far the debate on global warming would have gotten if the earth's atmospheric
temperatures were decreasing while pollutants were being released?

In my opinion, the video
-
game hypothesis remains because it fits well wit
h the dogma of social
science (which has yet to escape from an obsession with deterministic learning models that view
humans as passive programmed machines rather than active in determining their own behavior),
and it is politically expedient. Politicians
can use "media violence" to enact popular (but
unconstitutional) legislation censoring or otherwise limiting access to violent media, legislation
that can appeal to both political conservatives and political liberals. (Religious conservatives
might be bemu
sed to know that some media
-
violence researchers recently published an article
suggesting that reading passages from the Bible with violent content increases "aggression" in
much the same way that video games supposedly do. So if video games have to be res
tricted
from children, apparently so do at least some portions of the Bible.) By stating that such
legislation is based on "concern for children," politicians can cast their opponents as being
unconcerned with children while stripping parents of their righ
ts to decide what media are
appropriate for their children. In such a political environment, the video
-
game
-
violence
hypothesis has persisted long after it should have been laid to rest.

Blaming Video Games, Ignoring Human Nature

All this is no idle concer
n. Media issues serve to distract us from more
-
sensitive topics that may
be real contributors to violent behavior, notably violence in families

although in fairness, not
all abused people become violent offenders. I also posit that many of us prefer to bla
me others,
particularly an abstract entity such as the media, for our problems rather than accept personal
responsibility when we or our children behave badly. That's the crux of it, I think. Video games,
like the rest of the media, form a faceless specter

that we have called into being with our own
internal desires for sex and violence, yet can turn against when we need a straw man to blame for
our own recklessness.

What's lost in the discussion is that there have been several publications suggesting that
violent
games may be related to increased performance in some areas of cognition, particularly
visuospatial cognition. This is a new research area, and I certainly don't wish to reverse the error
of overstating the link between video games and aggression b
y producing my own
overstatement. But I do think that, instead of fueling up the bonfires and throwing in the game
consoles, we need to have a serious discussion of both sets of potential effects. Given the allure
of violent video games, it may be advisabl
e to consider how some games with violent content
may be used to further educational purposes. For instance, a first
-
person
-
shooter game (though
certainly a mild one compared with some) called Re
-
Mission is being studied in relation to
young adults with ca
ncer. One group of youths who played this game demonstrated better
cancer
-
treatment adherence, better self
-
efficacy and quality of life, and more cancer
-
related
knowledge than did those in a control group who did not play the game. Of course, once the dust

settles, it may really be that video games, like most other forms of entertainment, are simply that:
entertainment, neither helpful nor harmful.

I don't know how it came to be that we, as a culture, ceased holding people responsible for their
actions. How

did we come to feel that we are programmed like machines? How did we come to
embrace the Brave New World not as a dystopia to be feared but as a panacea for all of our
human guilt? When a man or woman picks up a weapon and premeditates the end of another
human life, it is not because he or she was programmed by a video game but because that
individual made a conscious choice

not to play a game, but to kill. This darkness lurks not
within our computers, televisions, books, or music, but rather within our sp
ecies and, sometimes,
ourselves.

Further Readings

Books



Tim Allen and Jean Seaton The Media of Conflict: War Reporting and Representations of
Ethnic Violence. New York: Zed Books, 1999.



Bonnie Anderson News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment and the
Bottom
-
Line Business
of Broadcast News. San Francisco: Jossey
-
Bass, 2004.



Craig A. Anderson, Douglas A. Gentile, and Katherine E. Buckley Violent Video Game
Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy. New York:
Oxford Universi
ty Press, 2007.



Martin Barker and Julian Petley, eds. Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate. New York:
Routledge, 1997.



Karen Boyle Media and Violence: Gendering the Debates. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage,
2005.



Cynthia Carter Violence and the Media. Philadelph
ia, PA: Open University Press, 2003.



Cynthia A. Cooper Violence in the Media and Its Influence on Criminal Defense.
Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2007.



Jib Fowles The Case for Television Violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1999.



Jonathan L. Freedman Media

Violence and Its Effect on Aggression. Toronto, Ont:
University of Toronto Press, 2002.



Jeffrey Goldstein, ed. Why We Watch: The Attractions of Violent Entertainment. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1998.



Tom Grimes, James A. Anderson Media Violence an
d Aggression: Science and Ideology.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2008.



Dave Grossman and Gloria Degaetano Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action
Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence. New York: Crown Publishers, 1999.



Gerard Jones Killing Monster
s: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make
-
Believe Violence. New York: Basic Books, 2003.



Douglas Kellner Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics Between the
Modern and the Postmodern. New York: Routledge, 1995.



Stephen J. Kirsh Ch
ildren, Adolescents, and Media Violence: A Critical Look at the
Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006.



Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About
Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do. New York: Simon & Schus
ter, 2008.



Joshua Meyrowitz No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social
Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.



Hillel Nossek, Annabelle Sreberny, and Prasun Sonwalker, eds. Media and Political
Violence. Cresskill, NJ: Hapton Pre
ss, 2007.



Neil Postman The Disappearance of Childhood. New York: Vintage, 1994.



W. James Potter The 11 Myths of Media Violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2003.



Thomas Rosenstiel and Amy S. Mitchell Thinking Clearly: Cases in Journalistic
Decision
-
Making.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.



Harold Schechter Savage Pastimes: A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment. New
York: St. Martin's Press, 2005.



Jean Seaton Carnage and the Media: The Making and Breaking of News About Violence.
New York: Pengu
in Books, 2005.



Roger Simpson Covering Violence: A Guide to Ethical Reporting About Victims &
Trauma. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.



Karen Sternheimer It's Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture's Influence on
Children. Boulder, CO: Westvie
w, 2003.



James P. Steyer The Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media's Effect on Our
Children. New York: Atria, 2002.



David Trend The Myth of Media Violence: A Critical Introduction. Malden, MA: Wiley
-
Blackwell, 2007.

Periodicals



Lisa Brooten "Media an
d Violence: Gendering the Debates," Culture & Society, July
2006.



Elizabeth K. Carll "Violent Video Games: Rehearsing Aggression," Chronicle of Higher
Education, July 13, 2007.



David Edelstein "Now Playing at Your Local Multiplex: Torture Porn," New York
M
agazine, February 6, 2006.



Lis Else and Mike Holderness "Are the Kids Alright After All?" New Scientist, July 2,
2005.



Daniel Koffler "Grand Theft Scapegoat," Reason, October 2005.



Bowie Kotria "Sex and Violence: Is Exposure to Media Content Harmful to Chi
ldren?"
Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children,
Summer
-
Fall 2007.



Chris Mercogliano "An Amish Farmer's Insight," Encounter, Winter 2006.



Justin Peters "Blood, Guts and Entertainment," Reason, February 2006.



Bar
bara Righton "It's a Scene from 24

No, It's a Car Ad," Maclean's, December 18,
2006.



Seth Schiesel "Under Glare of Scrutiny, A Game Is Toned Down," New York Times,
October 29, 2007.



A.O. Scott "True Horror: When Movie Violence Is Random," New York Times, M
arch
23, 2003.



USA Today "Media Violence May Be Real Culprit Behind Virginia Tech Tragedy,"
April 19, 2007.

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Negative Article #2

Source Citation

Kushner, David. "Violent Video Games Do Not Cause Aggression."
Video Games
. Ed. Laurie
Willis. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Off Target."
Electronic Gaming Monthly

(Aug. 2007): 12
-
16.
Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context
. Web. 20
Sep. 2012.

Violent Video Games Do Not Cause Aggression

Video Game
s , 2010


Listen

"In 2005 ... just
12 percent of the videogames sold were violent enough to bear an M
-
rating
[mature] by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, the industry's voluntary ratings group."

The following viewpoint is a response to reports of studies linking violent video games

to
aggression. The author, David Kushner, claims that the behavior called "aggression" in these
studies is not related to criminal violent activity. He also criticizes studies for using old games
rather than recent ones and for studying play for only a sh
ort period of time. He concludes that,
although a link between video games and what the researchers define as "aggression" may exist,
there is no causal link between violent games and violent criminal activity. Kushner is an author
and editor and serves as

an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

As you read, consider the following questions:

1.

According to the author, how do researchers measure aggression?

2.

What other pastimes does Kushner think could be linked to aggression if they were
studied?

3.

What does the British Board of Film Classification survey, as quoted by Kushner, reveal
about game violence?

We can assume two things about you if you're reading this magazine [Electronic Gaming
Monthly]: You don't think playing violent videogames

can make someone go aggro [aggressive
behavior] in real life, and you haven't authored any studies linking violent games to violent
behavior. But the people who do believe and have authored such studies have gotten a lot of play
lately in the mainstream m
edia

and they're putting the future of your favorite pastime at risk.

Following the Apri1 16 [2007] Virginia Tech shootings, the Washington Post reported online
that the killer had a history of playing the PC squad
-
based multiplayer shooter Counter
-
Strike.

By the time the paper took down the reference from its website the next day (due, the writer later
said, to a necessary update), it was too late. Ubiquitous antigame crusader Jack Thompson raised
the specter on CNN. Dr. Phil played the blame game on Larry

King Live. "The mass murderers
of tomorrow are the children of today that are being programmed with this massive violence
overdose," he said.

Then on April 26, the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] weighed in with its report,
three years in the maki
ng, on the impact of media violence (particularly television violence) on
kids. It suggests that Congress can step in to protect kids from harm by regulating violence on
TV without violating the First Amendment. The thought of the Feds legislating videogam
es
strikes many as dangerous. The American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] calls it "political
pandering." Howard Stern calls Dr. Phil an a
-
hole. Once again, the debate that has run from
Columbine to Blacksburg continues to rage. And when it does, each side l
ooks to the same place
to buttress their arguments: scientific research on the effects of violent videogames. But with
sensational media and political distortion in the way, getting to the truth of the research is the
trickiest game of all.

Defining Aggres
sion

At the end of the day, scientists

including those behind the studies cited in the FCC report

still aren't sure if playing violent games leads to real
-
life violence at all. "The research doesn't
support the notion that [playing violent games] leads to
aggression," says Dr. Jonathan
Freedman, a psychologist from the University of Toronto. "It doesn't even deal with the question
of whether it leads to criminal violent behavior or real violence. At most, it addresses the
question of whether it leads to agg
ression, which I don't think it does."

One of the problems with the studies is how the term "aggression" is defined. "The missing
element is that most of these studies, if you look at them just a little bit critically, don't really
measure what a lot of pe
ople purport they're measuring, and people don't understand how they
fall short," says sociologist Dr. Karen Sternheimer of the University of Southern California and
author of Kids These Days: Facts and Fictions About Today's Youth. While the general publi
c
equates aggression with violent behavior, actual violent behavior has never been measured

for
obvious reasons. "We can't have people assault, rape, or murder someone" in the lab, says Dr.
Brad Bushman, a University of Michigan psychologist who studies th
e effects of media violence.
Instead, researchers are left to measure innocuous examples of so
-
called aggressive behavior

behavior that doesn't remotely resemble criminally violent activity. This has ranged from having
subjects punch an inflatable Bozo dol
l to, more commonly, blast opponents with a loud noise.

Even Dr. Karen Dill, who with Dr. Craig Anderson coauthored one of the most
-
cited studies

2000's "Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, and Behavior in the Laboratory and in
Life"

admits "hea
ring the noise is not harmful." Nevertheless, the report opens with an allusion
to Columbine and purports that "one possible contributing factor is violent games." To many,
that's an egregious leap. "Pressing a button that delivers a short burst of loud no
ise is pretty
remote from real aggression," Freedman notes.

Studies Use Old Games

But it's not just the measures of aggression that are questionable

it's the means through which
participant reactions are elicited in the first place. Reading the fine print
in the Dill and Anderson
study, for example, reveals that the researchers used outdated, mismatched games and required
an absurdly brief amount of actual playtime from the subjects. The researchers compared the
response to people playing two games released

in the early 1990s: Wolfenstein 3D, the first first
-
person shooter, and the puzzle adventure Myst. The disparity between the game styles raises
questions about the results. Though the goal of the study is to explore the effect of violent games
on aggressi
on, a shooter is sure to elicit more aggressive behavior than a puzzle game. It's like
comparing apples to hand grenades. Wouldn't it have been better to compare two action games

one with violence and one without?

The study required 32 undergrads to play t
he games for 15 minutes each. They were then given
the opportunity to send a noise blast to an opponent

often just a computer proxy

after they
finished the game. "You can't study people for 20 minutes and know what's going to happen to
people in society 10

years later," says Dr. Dmitri Williams of the University of Illinois at
Urbana
-
Champaign. Williams recently authored one of the first long
-
term studies, in which he
observed players of the online PC role
-
playing
-
game Asheron's Call for more than 56 hours
in a
period of a month. His results? "I found no evidence of increased aggression or aggressive
attitudes," he says.

Dr. Patrick Markey, a psychology professor at Villanova University, decided to take another
perspective: studying what role a person's ange
r level before playing a game has on the
aggressive behavior coming out. And Markey, unlike some of his colleagues, actually uses
games played in the last decade. The 167 students who participated played games such as Doom
3 and Project Gotham Racing. His
conclusion: The people who had previously filled out
questionnaires reflecting an even
-
keel personality were less aggro after playing a violent game.
Those who had a more aggressive disposition were more susceptible to these heightened
emotions.

While some

could conclude in broad strokes that games cause aggression, the nuances tell
another story, Markey notes. "The general research shows there is an effect of violent games on
aggression, but what gets lost is [that] this effect isn't that big," he says. An
d, of course,
videogames aren't the only pastimes that could lead to aggression: dodgeball, paintball, and a bad
beat in Texas Hold 'Em can heighten arousal, too. Dr. Vincent Mathews, a radiologist at Indiana
University who has studied the brain's response

to violent videogames, suggests that the effects
of these other activities would be comparable. "I would think that paintball or dodgeball would
show similar results," he says. But no one is calling for these games to be banned.

No Causal Link Between Gam
es and Violence

Critics of violent games cite the studies as further proof that media violence leads to murder. As
Thompson wrote in March 2007, "The American Psychological Association [APA] in August
2005 found a clear causal link between violent games an
d teen aggression." But as political
watchdog site GamePolitics.com astutely reported, Dr. Elizabeth Carll, who co
-
chaired the study,
wanted to make clear the "the resolution did not state that there was a direct causal link to an
increase in teen violence

as a result of playing videogames. Rather, [it stated] an increase in
aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, and a decrease in helpful behavior as a
result of playing violent videogames."

If no one has said there's a causal link between

games and real
-
life violence, why does it keep
making headlines, and why do these studies get cited so much? "The [American Psychological
Association] is a political organization ... and they do what is politically expedient like any other
group," says Dr
. Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M International University's Department
of Behavioral, Applied Sciences and Criminal Justice. Ferguson recently released a study named,
with typically academic wordiness, "Evidence for publication bias in videogame viol
ence effects
literature: A meta
-
analytic review." In it, he finds what he calls "a systematic bias for hot
-
button
issues" that results in over
-
statements and misleading results.

The authors of the reports bristle when their research is challenged. Dill, af
ter agreeing to be
interviewed for this story, later e
-
mailed to request that her interview not be used because of
what she perceived to be an effort to "push the tired 'party line' that the research is wrong." Her
colleague, Anderson, declined entirely, s
aying an interview would be "pointless."

But it's not just their research that's being challenged

it's the manner in which the findings are
presented. "From the present body of literature, there's nothing that supports a relationship
between violent videog
ame playing and aggression

not correlational or causal," Ferguson says.
"The moral of the story is that scientists ought to be using much more measured tones in
discussing what has become a political issue rather than giving in to the urge to engage in
hyp
erbole." In other words, violent games sell

not to kids, but to the general public at large.
Like Elvis in the 50s, or Dungeons & Dragons in the 1980s, videogames are still viewed as the
dangerous scourge of youth culture. In the face of awful, inexplicabl
e tragedies, media violence
is an easy target.

Context Is Important

What's lost to the game
-
violence critics and public is a dose of reality, not only about the truth of
the results but the context. "I don't think they understand the way the media are used

in daily life
enough," Williams says of the researchers. "They tend to focus more on lab research and ignore
long
-
term research. People in the psychology community are less likely to pay attention to the
social context of media use." But others are. The B
ritish Board of Film Classification conducted
a survey that found that "the violence helps make the play exhilaratingly out of reach of ordinary
life.... Gamers seem not to lose awareness that they are playing a game and do not mistake the
game for real li
fe."

And considered in light of recent youth crime statistics, all the noise blasts don't pass the muster
of common sense. In 2005, for example, just 12 percent of the videogames sold were violent
enough to bear an M
-
rating [mature] by the Entertainment So
ftware Ratings Board, the industry's
voluntary ratings group. At the same time, youth crime is dropping precipitously. The number of
kids under 17 who committed murder fell 65 percent between 1993 and 2004. "If this was
affecting all kids in a bad way we'd

see something," argues Dr. Cheryl Olson, professor of
psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School's Center for Mental Health and Media.

Even the surgeon general's youth
-
violence report, which the FCC cites in its recent findings,
couldn't find a convincing
link. "Taken together, findings to date suggest that media violence has
a relatively small impact on violence," the surgeon general reported. And the specific inferences
about game violence were even less swaying. "The overall effect size for both randomiz
ed and
correlational studies was small for physical aggression and moderate for aggressive thinking...,"
the surgeon general found. "The impact of videogames on violent behavior has yet to be
determined."

So what are we left with? A possible link between v
iolent media and loosely defined "aggressive
behavior" (noise blasts, clown
-
doll punching, and so on) but no evidence that playing violent
games actually causes violent

let alone criminal

actions in real life. "It's time to move beyond
blanket condemnation
s and frightening anecdotes and focus on developing targeted educational
and policy interventions based on solid data," Olson suggested. "As with the entertainment of
earlier generations, we may look back on today's games with nostalgia, and our grandchild
ren
may wonder what the fuss was about."

Further Readings

Books



Richard Abanes What Every Parent Needs to Know About Video Games. Eugene, OR:
Harvest House Publishers, 2006.



Craig A. Anderson, Douglas A. Gentile, and Katherine E. Buckley Violent Video Game

Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy. New York:
Oxford University Press, 2007.



Brenda Brathwaite Sex in Video Games. Boston, MA: Charles River Media, 2007.



David Buckingham and Rebekah Willett Digital Generations: Child
ren, Young People,
and New Media. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 2006.



Derek A. Burrill Die Tryin': Videogames, Masculinity, Culture. New York: Peter Lang,
2008.



Justine Cassell and Henry Jenkins, eds. From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Ge
nder and
Computer Games. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.



Rusel DeMaria Reset: Changing the Way We Look at Video Games. San Francisco, CA:
Berrett
-
Koehler, 2007.



David Edery and Ethan Mollick Changing the Game: How Video Games Are
Transforming the Future of

Business. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press, 2008.



James Paul Gee What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.



Dave Grossman Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie
and Video
Game Violence. New York: Crown, 1999.



Sarah L. Holloway Cyberkids: Children in the Information Age. London: Routledge
Falmer, 2003.



David Hutchison Playing to Learn: Video Games in the Classroom. Westport, CT:
Libraries Unlimited, 2007.



Yasmin B. Kafai et
al, eds. Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on
Gender and Gaming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.



Brad King Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture from Geek to
Chic. New York: McGraw
-
Hill/Osborne, 2003.



Joseph A. Lieberman
School Shootings: What Every Parent and Educator Needs to Know
to Protect Our Children. New York: Citadel Press, 2006.



Ken S. McAllister Game Work: Language, Power, and Computer Game Culture.
Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2004.



Rebecca Mileh
am Powering Up: Are Computer Games Changing Our Lives? West
Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.



David Nichols et al Brands & Gaming: The Computer Gaming Phenomenon and Its
Impact on Brands and Businesses. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 200
6.



Jim Rossignol This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities. Ann Arbor, MI: University of
Michigan Press, 2008.



David Williamson Shaffer How Computer Games Help Children Learn. New York:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.



Iain Simons and James Newman Difficult
Questions About Video Games. Nottingham,
UK: Suppose Partners, 2004.



Melanie Swalwell and Jason Wilson, eds. The Pleasures of Computer Gaming: Essays on
Cultural History, Theory and Aesthetics. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co, 2008.



T.L. Taylor Play Between
Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture. Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press, 2006.



Valerie Walkerdine Children, Gender, Video Games: Towards a Relational Approach to
Multimedia. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.



Noah Wardrip
-
Fruin and Pat Harrigan, eds.
First Person: New Media as Story,
Performance, and Game. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004.



J. Patrick Williams The Players' Realm: Studies on the Culture of Video Games and
Gaming. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2007.

Periodicals



Christopher P. Barlett,

Richard J. Harris, and Ross Baldassaro "The Longer You Play, the
More Hostile You Feel: Examination of First Person Shooter Video Games and
Aggression During Video Game Play," Aggressive Behavior, November
-
December 2007.



Marije Nije Bijvank "Violent Video

Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory,
Research, and Public Policy," Child and Adolescent Mental Health, May 2008.



Elizabeth K. Carll "Violent Video Games: Rehearsing Aggression," Chronicle of Higher
Education, July 13, 2007.



Robert Coffey "Bla
mestorming: Games Aren't Evil, but Tyne Daly Is," Computer
Gaming World, December 2003.



Joel E. Collier, Pearson Liddell Jr, and Gloria J. Liddell "Exposure of Violent Video
Games to Children and Public Policy Implications," Journal of Public Policy &
Mark
eting, Spring 2008.



Christopher Dean "Returning the Pig to Its Pen: A Pragmatic Approach to Regulating
Minors' Access to Violent Video Games," George Washington Law Review, November
2006.



J.C. Herz and Michael R. Macedonia "Computer Games and the Military:

Two Views,"
Defense Horizons, April 2002.

Negative Article #3

Source Citation

Kenyota, Gregory. "Video Games Should Not Be Regulated by Legislation."
Video Games
. Ed. Laurie
Willis. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Thinking of the Children: The
Failure of Violent Video Game Laws (Conclusion)."
Fordham Intellectual Property, Media &
Entertainment Law Journal

(Spring 2008): 812
-
815.
G
ale Opposing Viewpoints In Context
. Web. 20 Sep.
2012.

Video Games Should Not Be Regulated by Legislation

Video Games

,
2010



Listen

"Self
-
regulation is the only acce
ptable solution to concerns about children playing violent video games."

In the following viewpoint,
Gregory

Kenyota

contends that legislators are wasting time and taxpayer
money proposing unconstitutional legislation that would regulate video games. He be
lieves that games
are protected by the First Amendment (freedom of speech). Instead, he states that the Entertainment
Software Rating Board (ESRB) should continue to improve the ratings system and parents should be
educated to make good use of the system.
Kenyota is a student at Fordham University School of Law.

As you read, consider the following questions:

1.

Why does the author believe that video games should not be blamed for the Virginia Tech
shootings?

2.

According to this viewpoint, what has the Federal T
rade Commission said about the
Entertainment Software Rating Board?

3.

What does the author say is the proper solution for legislators?

On April 16, 2007, a lone gunman went on a shooting spree on the Virginia Tech campus, killing
thirty people. Later that ni
ght, Dr. Phil McGraw, the host of the
Dr. Phil

show, went on
Larry
King Live

to discuss the Virginia Tech shooting and stated that:

[T]he problem is we are programming these people as a society. You cannot tell me

common sense
tells you that if these kids

are playing video games, where they're on a mass killing spree in a video
game, it's glamorized on the big screen, it's become part of the fiber of our society. You take that and
mix it with a psychopath, a sociopath or someone suffering from mental illne
ss and add in a dose of
rage, the suggestibility is too high. And we're going to have to start dealing with that. We're going to
have to start addressing those issues and recognizing that the mass murders [sic] of tomorrow are the
children of today that ar
e being programmed with this massive violence overdose.

The call to blame video games was reminiscent of the Columbine [High School] shootings eight
years earlier. Unlike Columbine, where the shooters had some connections to video games,
subsequent investi
gations of the Virginia Tech shooter by police found "[n]ot a single video
game, console or gaming gadget" and the shooter's suite
-
mate "said he had never seen [the
shooter] play video games." Despite this lack of evidence, some people like attorney Jack
T
hompson still blame video games for the Virginia Tech shooting.

The recent controversies and legislation over violent video games are clear examples of critics
blaming violent video games for negative effects without any support for those accusations.
Vide
o games did not turn the Virginia Tech shooter into a killer. The research on violent video
games has not found any causal connection between violent video games and children
committing violent acts. The need to regulate violent video games because of the
harm they
supposedly cause is illusory at best.

Legislators Need to Stop Proposing Unconstitutional
Legislation

Legislators therefore need to stop attempting to regulate violent video games with laws that
courts have repeatedly held are unconstitutional. T
he First Amendment protects the content of
violent video games and any law attempting to regulate them based on their violent content will
be subject to a strict scrutiny analysis. The exceptions to the First Amendment proffered by the
states that video ga
mes should fall under such as obscenity, content harmful to minors, and
incitement do not apply to violent video games. There is no need for these laws and passing them
only ends up costing taxpayers money after the courts invalidate them. District Judge B
rady of
the Middle District Court of Louisiana admonished the Louisiana legislature for its violent video
game legislation in stating:

This Court is dumbfounded that the Attorney General and the State are in the position of having to pay
taxpayer money as

attorney's fees and costs in this lawsuit. The Act which this Court found
unconstitutional passed through committees in both the State House and Senate, then through the full
House and Senate, and to be promptly signed by the Governor. There are lawyers a
t each stage of this
process. Some of the members of these committees are themselves lawyers. Presumably, they have
staff members who are attorneys as well. The State House and Senate certainly have staff members who
are attorneys. The governor has additio
nal attorneys

the executive counsel. Prior to the passage of the
Act, there were a number of reported cases from a number of jurisdictions which held similar statutes to
be unconstitutional (and in which the defendant was ordered to pay substantial attorne
y's fees). The
Court wonders why nobody objected to the enactment of this statute. In this court's view, the taxpayers
deserve more from their elected officials.

Self
-
Regulation Is the Best Solution

Self
-
regulation is the only acceptable solution to concer
ns about children playing violent video
games. The Federal government in 1994 wanted the game industry to self
-
regulate and that is
exactly what the video game industry has been doing with the ESRB [Entertainment Software
Rating Board]. The FTC [Federal Tr
ade Commission] has consistently found that the ESRB has
improved its ratings system and awareness ever since it first started investigating it. If a video
game developer develops a game that the ESRB considers too violent, the video game retailers
and the

video game manufacturers will also take actions that will make sure the game does not
even make it to publication. There is no evidence that the ESRB has failed as a ratings system in
such a way that the government needs to step in and take over.

The prop
er solution for legislators is to work with the video game industry, not against them.
ESA [Entertainment Software Association] senior VP [Vice President], and general counsel Gail
Markels has stated that "[i]t couldn't be clearer that the real answer is n
ot regulation, but
education of parents to empower them to use the video game rating system, parental controls in
game consoles, and other available tools... We look forward to working with any elected official
to help educate parents about making appropri
ate video game choices for their unique families."
Maybe someday legislators across the country will spend their time and taxpayers' money on
educating parents rather than trying to regulate the video game industry.

Further Readings

Books



Richard Abanes
What Every Parent Needs to Know About Video Games
. Eugene, OR: Harvest
House Publishers, 2006.



Craig A. Anderson, Douglas A. Gentile, and Katherine E. Buckley
Violent Video Game Effects on
Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy
. New
York: Oxford University
Press, 2007.



Brenda Brathwaite
Sex in Video Games
. Boston, MA: Charles River Media, 2007.



David Buckingham and Rebekah Willett
Digital Generations: Children, Young People, and New
Media
. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publ
ishers, 2006.



Derek A. Burrill
Die Tryin': Videogames, Masculinity, Culture
. New York: Peter Lang, 2008.



Justine Cassell and Henry Jenkins, eds.
From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer
Games
. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.



Rusel DeMaria
Reset: C
hanging the Way We Look at Video Games
. San Francisco, CA: Berrett
-
Koehler, 2007.



David Edery and Ethan Mollick
Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the
Future of Business
. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press, 2008.



James Paul Gee
What Video Ga
mes Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy
. New York:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.



Dave Grossman
Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video
Game Violence
. New York: Crown, 1999.



Sarah L. Holloway
Cyberkids: Children in
the Information Age
. London: Routledge Falmer, 2003.



David Hutchison
Playing to Learn: Video Games in the Classroom
. Westport, CT: Libraries
Unlimited, 2007.



Yasmin B. Kafai et al, eds.
Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and
Gaming
. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.



Brad King
Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture from Geek to Chic
. New
York: McGraw
-
Hill/Osborne, 2003.



Joseph A. Lieberman
School Shootings: What Every Parent and Educator Needs to Know to
Protect Our C
hildren
. New York: Citadel Press, 2006.



Ken S. McAllister
Game Work: Language, Power, and Computer Game Culture
. Tuscaloosa, AL:
University of Alabama Press, 2004.



Rebecca Mileham
Powering Up: Are Computer Games Changing Our Lives?

West Sussex,
England: Jo
hn Wiley & Sons, 2008.



David Nichols et al
Brands & Gaming: The Computer Gaming Phenomenon and Its Impact on
Brands and Businesses
. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.



Jim Rossignol
This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities
. Ann Arbor, MI: Univ
ersity of Michigan
Press, 2008.



David Williamson Shaffer
How Computer Games Help Children Learn
. New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2008.



Iain Simons and James Newman
Difficult Questions About Video Games
. Nottingham, UK:
Suppose Partners, 2004.



Melanie Swalwel
l and Jason Wilson, eds.
The Pleasures of Computer Gaming: Essays on Cultural
History, Theory and Aesthetics
. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co, 2008.



T.L. Taylor
Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture
. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
2006.



Valerie Walke
rdine
Children, Gender, Video Games: Towards a Relational Approach to
Multimedia
. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.



Noah Wardrip
-
Fruin and Pat Harrigan, eds.
First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and
Game
. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2
004.



J. Patrick Williams
The Players' Realm: Studies on the Culture of Video Games and Gaming
.
Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2007.

Periodicals



Jerry Bonner "How to Fix the Ratings System,"
Electronic Gaming Monthly
, April 2008.



Patrick R. Byrd "It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt: The Effectiveness of Proposed
Video
-
Game Legislation on Reducing Violence in Children,"
Houston Law Review
, April 26, 2007.



N'Gai Croal "The Game
-
Ratings Game,"
Newsweek
, April 21, 2008.



Anto
n Galang "The Watchful Eye of Gaming,"
PC Magazine
, September 4, 2007.



Kevin Haninger and Kimberly M. Thompson "Content and Ratings of Teen
-
Rated Video Games,"
JAMA
, February 18, 2004.



Mary Jane Irwin "Rated V for Violence,"
PC Magazine
, March 7, 2006.



Pat
rick Joynt "Games vs. Politics,"
PC Magazine
, August 22, 2006.



Daniel Koffler "Grand Theft Scapegoat: The Ridiculous Jihad Against Video Games,"
Reason
,
October 2005.



Joelle Tessler "Video Game Ratings: A Hot
-
Button Issue,"
CQ Weekly
, August 14, 2006, p. 2
220
-
21.



Jason Tocci "Seeking Truth in Video Game Ratings,"
International Journal of Communication
,
2008.



Barbara Dafoe Whitehead "Parents Need Help: Restricting Access to Video Games,"
Commonweal
, January 28, 2005.

Full Text:
COPYRIGHT 2010 Greenhaven Pres
s, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning.