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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Teen writer defends video games

  • Violent people will commit violent acts whether or not they play so-called violent games.
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  • Toni Grove's News Broadcasting class at Crookston High School covers news reporting in both print and video media. Juniors and seniors in the class produce weekly news broadcasts for the CHS student body, publish the Pirate Pride newsletter and submit articles to the Crookston Daily Times, which are published periodically.
     
    One of the most common criticisms of video games is that they increase the violent tendencies among youth. However, several major studies by groups such as, The Harvard Medical School, The Journal of Adolescent Health, and the British Medical Center have shown "no conclusive link between video game usage and violent activity."
    One study did find an increase in reports of bullying, noting, "Our research found that certain patterns of video game play were much more likely to be associated with these types of behavioral problems than with major violent crime such as school shootings. One of the first widely accepted controversial video games was the 1976 title, Death Race in which players controlled cars that ran over pixilated representations of "gremlins". The game caused such an outcry that it was pulled from store shelves and profiled on 60 minutes. Long Island PTA president pushed for legislation in the early 1980s to place restrictions on how close video game arcades could be to schools, asserting that they caused children to fight. Portrayals of violence allegedly became more realistic with time, and so politicians such as U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman conducted hearings during the 1990s regarding what he referred to as "violent video games" which, in his opinion, included such games as Mortal Combat. His statements have been echoed by certain researchers, such as Dr. Craig Anderson who testified before the Senate, "Some studies have yielded no significant video game effects, just as some smoking studies failed to find a significant link to lung cancer. But studies have shown violent video games are significantly associated with increased aggressive behavior and thoughts and affect physiological arousal with decreased social behavior." Anderson himself was later criticized in a 2005 video game court case for failing to cite research that differed from his view.
    Attorney Jack Thompson has filed lawsuits against the makers of violent games, alleging that simulated violence causes real-world violence. Grand Theft Auto is an example of a video game that caused controversy, over and above the debate surrounding the violent game play, for allegedly encouraging racist hate crimes. The game takes place in "Vice City", a fictionalized Miami, in 1986, and involves a gang war between Haitians and Cuban refugees, with the player's character getting involved and encouraging the inter-ethnic violence. After Haitian-American Coalition threatened to sue, Rockstar removed the word "Haitians" from this phrase in the game's subtitles.
    I personally play all types of video games and don't find anything wrong with playing a "violent" video game. The way I see it, violent people are going to commit violent acts whether or not they play a violent video game.

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