Should Violent Games Be More Closely Regulated?

In the wake of the shootings in Connecticut, many are calling for stricter gun control and smaller ammunition magazines, but the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre claims that it isn’t all about the guns. He's asking us to look to video

Is it possible that desensitization due to over-exposure to violence can be a factor in mass murders such as perpetrated in Connecticut? That’s one possible theory.

But Rowell Huesmann and Eric Dubow of the Aggression Research Program at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan think it is more than that. Games may provide a script that makes these murderers more confident in their actions. And while most teens reject the “script” as flat-out wrong or fictional, there are those who are psychologically damaged that do not reject this common script.  

“We must strive to find ways, without trampling on the right of free artistic expression, to reduce youth exposure to violence in life and in the mass media," say Huesmann and Dubow in a press release on December 17. "Violence is a contagious disease, particularly for youth. The more they are exposed to it, the more likely they are to catch it.”  

Does it require legislation?

According to politico.com, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller has already introduced a bill that would have the National Academy of Sciences examine possible links between violent video games and media, and violent acts by children.

“Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians and psychologists know better. These court decisions show we need to do more and explore ways Congress can lay additional groundwork on this issue. This report will be a critical resource in this process. I call on my colleagues to join me in passing this important legislation quickly.”

Gamers Say "NO!"

But the New York Daily News reports that gamers are calling for a ban on guns as a solution, not games. Citing a statement from Jim Welling, the manager of Video Games New York, “it's dumb blaming everything on video games. I don't see any of our customers going out and trying to kill someone just because of a video game.” 

We do love our video games and it would seem that "gamers" truly enjoy virtual war, rather than dancing. Three of Amazon.com's list of the 4 top selling games this year include Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and Assassin's Creed III; Just Dance 4 came in at No. 2.  

So what do you think? Tighter controls on violent games or should that be the responsibility of parents? Is this a multifaceted problem that is going to take more than a quick Congressional fix on either guns and/or games?

HRPufnstuf December 28, 2012 at 03:01 AM
"the right of free artistic expression"...... that's what I call TORO CACA (Spanish for BS). Citizen's rights to protect themselves by owning weapons is a natural right, recognized in the 2nd amendment to the Constitution. There is no such right to pollute young minds with "free artistic expression" (murder and mayhem).
Kevin January 30, 2013 at 09:15 AM
Good article. Many people have a steady habit of playing these violent games and see the world as a hostile and violent place. While I think anything on the internet should be more closely regulated. Many gamers aren't in a position to objectively assess them so it becomes parent’s responsibility to create awareness in their kids. However, moving their interest to other entertaining online games like free racing games, sports etc at some good online site like bgames.com would be a better idea. You just have to paid more attention toward there violent activities and motivate them for playing learning and educational games.


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