Video Game Violence

Video Game Violence - Flietstra 1 Ben Flietstra Professor...

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 Flietstra 1 Ben Flietstra Professor Van Sickle Writing 150 EA Paper 3 March 18, 2007 Playing by the Rules: Are Video Games Ruining America? Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are names most do not recognize by themselves. However, when paired with Columbine High School, Colorado, the connection becomes clear. Eric and Dylan killed 13 fellow students and eventually themselves during a school shooting in April of 1999. After the tragedy many looked into why two teenagers would commit such a heinous act. One reason sparked a debate that has been in the headlines since the brutal slayings: video game violence. Today, the video game industry has reached into the multi-billion dollar level with an estimated 145 million American gamers (“Top 10”). According to friends and family, Eric and Dylan were fans of the video game Doom, a bloody game where one must kill zombies and demons (Ward). After the shootings, families of the victims went after the video game by filing law suits against the developers, blaming the industry for poisoning the minds of the youth with violent thoughts (Ward). In 2000, stemming from the Columbine massacre, the debate reached the US Senate when several researchers proclaimed concern about video game violence and young people. These concerns have prompted the US Senate to propose bills that go as far as banning violent video games. Today, after the tragic killing of 33 students at Virginia Tech, light is again being shed on violent video games and their effects on the youth. Religious groups and social development groups hotly debate video game violent and call for more action
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 Flietstra 2 from legislators. To regulate video games, a rating system has been in place in the industry since 1994 to distinguish between adult and child games. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a comprehensive labeling system that rates over 1,000 games a year (“Frequently Asked Questions”), giving ratings from early childhood up to adult only video games. However, younger audiences still get their hands on games rated for mature players only. Consequently, society has blamed the video game industry for ruining today’s youth with images of violence. However, video games should bear no responsibility for any of the problems critics assert they cause. Many proponents arguing the link between youth violence and violent video games cite research supporting their claims. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, “[P]laying violent video games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, or Mortal Combat can increase aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior.” The article continues to report that violent video games may be more harmful than violent television or movies because they are interactive and require the player to identify with the aggressive character (“Video Games”). A popular gaming genre called first-person shooters puts the gun right in the player’s hands, allowing them to point and shoot with the simple movement of a joystick. The BBC cites two studies done by psychologist Dr.
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Video Game Violence - Flietstra 1 Ben Flietstra Professor...

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