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Desensitization to violence? Is it too easy?

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  • Desensitization to violence? Is it too easy?


    Here's an article about one man's experience with how kids learn one solution to their problems:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/violence-on-the-screen-violence-in-the-streets/2012/12/28/894a6e20-5069-11e2-839d-d54cc6e49b63_story.html

    I have had much the same experience with my kids and their video games, except that we (mom and I) had the opportunity to challenge the idea they had that "it's just a game".

    To speak Scoutese, "a game with WHAT purpose"?


  • #2
    Quote from the article:

    "It was obvious that the violent games desensitized these youths to violence."

    Yes - it was obvious to the author. But what's obvious to the reader is that the young criminals may just be telling the author exactly what he wants to hear (essentially: "the devil made me do it") or that the author set out to elicit such comments in the first place. Conveniently, his conclusions allow his government funded organization to muster arguments for more government... and more government funding for organizations like his.

    Since he himself was not found guilty of anything, we shouldn't be surprised he feels no need to mention the scandal around his organization's use of government funding... it was probably just trumped up charges or administrative mistakes anyway... people who tell us they're doing good and helping the downtrodden wouldn't waste money the government confiscated from taxpayers would they?

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    • #3
      Kids will spout what every they think will get them the biggest reward or in the least amount of trouble.


      My favorite little autistic scout has this down to an art. He is very mildly autistic and mom is milking it for all its worth and is teaching scout to do the same.

      When ever he is caught doing something wrong or unscoutlike, he spouts the line his mom taught him. I am autistic and don't have the normal self control that other boys my age do.

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      • #4

        Thank you. If all they have is "Mortal Kombat", then to what do they compare their own behavior to?

        I think that is what Mr. Moten is trying to say. His memories are dated, true, and his organization was tainted by mismanagement, but is the article's premise so wrong or false?

        If the only excitement a boy has is fantasy, and his life is so untenable, what does he think is his solution? What is the "game with a purpose" that we speak of? And what kind of "game" is being sold in video?
        Money is being made by the selling of killer training. We volunteer to train boys in "adventure" and "ethical choices" do we not? If "GTA lll" is JUST a game, than what kind of a game are we offering?
        We play Monopoly as a practice for capitalism. We play poker and chess and scrabble for the mind challenge they offer.
        If no one challenges the purpose of the games, they will be accepted as a viable practice. But practice for what?

        http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/2012/01/19/a-year-after-peaceoholics-renovated-buildings-theyre-mostly-still-empty/

        http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/12/17/do-video-games-make-kids-violent/

        Please note I do not say violent video games MAKE kids violent, but as with anything else, what one does MORE, one gets BETTER at. And if there is no other comparison, to what does the player refer their own behavior with?

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        • #5


          I think blaming video games is kind of a copout.

          When I was younger we did all kinds of violent stuff. We had to do it for real since we had no video games.

          Games and activities included:
          - Shoot an arrow straight up, whoever stood closest to where in landed won. (never claimed we were smart )
          - Bottle rocket wars. Build a fortification and defend it and try to blow your opponets of of thier fort. Each participant had a 1000-2000 bottle rockets or so, real mess to clean up after.
          - Blood ball - basically basketball with hockey checking rules.
          - Sword fighting.
          - we played army and "killed" each other.
          - Watching cartoons (way more violent back then)
          - Movies (maybe less graphic than today, but my imagination still did a better job back then than special effects do today.
          - In gym we played bombardment where the goal was to inflict as much damage as possible with kick balls.
          - etc etc etc

          All that violence and my sibblings and the kids in my neighborhood all grew up relatively normal. I think the big difference today is media coverage. There are also 2x + the number of people so one should expect a significant growth in the amount of violence. I also think hand guns and assult style guns are more common today than back then. There is also a "status" associated with having a gun that did not exist back when I was a kid.

          Chris

          P.S. I don't own a gun and have never had any desire to. When I go postal it will be with a broadsword and a crossbow. Guns are for whimps. I prefer to be up close and personal.

          P.P.S. I am (gasp) liberal.



          Never said we

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          • #6
            Of course these type of things desensitize people to violence.

            The difference between the "first person shooter" games of today, and of course the movies, is the realistic and graphic violence that is depicted compared to the "old days." As we go further into the depravity of hollywood, we find a whole subset of movies appropriately called "torture porn."

            It is--to use a phrase being tossed around a lot these days--"common sense" that celebrating violence and making it seem normal and prevalent in society would have an affect.

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            • #7
              Hollywood's glorification of violence has continued through the decades, and is probably as great or greater a cause of the desensitization of the young as video games.

              The irony of wealthy hollywood actors who receive their paychecks through an industry that feeds off such depictions lecturing the rest of us has attracted some long overdue attention: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OayyLQi6vE&feature=player_embedded

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              • #8
                While I personally believe these modern versions of movies and games very likely have some effect on a few people, the fascination with violence and so on is not new. Think about the gatherings of people in the ancient periods to watch gladiators and people fighting for their lives against lions. We have evidence of similar lure to violence in the mobs that gathered to watch hangings, or the people that are observers, but do nothing to stop violence on the streets. Of course there is the so called gentleman's sport of boxing, and the worse ultimate fighter interchanges. Add into that the inhumane things such as dog and cock fighting, bull fighting, and so on.

                Does the more graphic abilities in the movies and games today add to the possible corruption of weak minds? Possibly. But, the fact that for whatever reason, many of us are drawn to these things, at least passively, is a fact. I would like to hope I would never become a serial killer, yet I have still found Dexter, The Sopranos, and the ilk to be somehow fascinating. Maybe the trick is being able to notice when someone appears to be stepping over that psychological line to perhaps become a threat.

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                • #9
                  Just one question. How come we don't hear about this kind of violence in countries that allow gun ownership and also sell and show the videos, movies and music that everbody wants to blame for these type of things happening.

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                  • #10
                    Our society is desensitized to single motherhood. Frowning on it is frowned upon; some attach more stigma to speaking ill of single motherhood than to making bad choices that result in it.

                    Delinquency in youth correlates positively with having a single mother. Liking violent games correlates positively with being a boy.

                    This is not to argue that games like Grand Theft Auto are harmless. But complaining how Grand Theft Auto might contribute to delinquency and crime in our society is like complaining about an ingrown toenail on a patient with a sucking chest wound.

                    Don't seek to empower government to play father to us all by regulating everything. Our society needs real fathers.

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                    • #11
                      But, CC that may require fathers to maintain a long standing commitment to the person of the opposite sex with whom they chose to have relations. We would have to elevate the status of such a relationship, and that would slight those whose long-standing relationships have minimal risk of pregnancy.

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                      • #12
                        I never said to regulate them. I believe in free market regulation and if everyone were like me there would be no market for violent first person shooter games or movies like Saw or Hostel because I would not buy or see them. Having the information to make such a decision is important and why we should not poo-poo a study that draws a link from point a to point b.

                        But sadly not everyone is like me.

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                        • #13
                          http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/25/fathers-disappear-from-households-across-america/print/

                          http://www.fatherhood.org/media/consequences-of-father-absence-statistics

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                          • #14
                            Interestingly.....

                            Some blame the single mom as the issue....

                            The article CC sites says that it mostly a Black problem. But the mass shootings are a predominately white issue.. Newtown, Aurora, Columbine, Amish School.


                            So whats up with that????


                            Of course the NRA blames video games, single moms, poor upbringing, and probably the pope for killings, after all it can't be the fact we have more guns in this country than about any place else in the world.


                            the answer to the problem according to the NRA is, of course, more guns and people carrying them.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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                            • #15
                              "After all, it can't possibly be the fact that we have the most immoral and hedonistic society than about anyplace else in the world."

                              See what happens when you address the motivation, rather than the method?

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