Getting past “either/or”   Leave a comment

During our in-class digital media debates we used an “exclusive” model to ask if violent video games cause socially damaging desensitization. Our group argued that violent video games causes desensitization related to real world violence causing gamers to be less empathetic to real life situations. Also, that the interactive nature of video games makes the violence more desensitizing than other forms of media. How violent games desensitize gamers to the real life consequences and actions. Lastly, how these violent games desensitize one to proper life skills. The other side argued many studies surrounding the topic were flawed and biased, with no clear evidence that there is a connection between violent video games and socially damaged desensitization. There are many myths about video games that are coved in the following article http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html. Both sides really have no clear evidence because there is no real way that this study can be tested. Being that we cannot totally isolate a test group of individuals and expose them to violent games and not expose another tested group of individuals. Violence in video games can only be seen as a factor to studies as such.
The truth however can be balanced somewhere in the middle between both sides argument. It is to my belief that this is actually true. I believe that the violence in video games and social violence is connected in some ways. Not that it is the sole cause of outside violence but is influenced in some way. The amount of influence however, does not show a significant threat to society where violent video games should be banned. This is where the equal balance comes in, because violent video games in some way affect a small amount of people, but is not affecting the greater majority who are more likely exposed.
There is nothing that can be done to change the current settings of such violence in video games. Violent games are rated much like any other “potentially” harming item. Often times the ratings are ignored for the fun of the game, rather than being instilled for the proper level of classification. One classification is the level of matureness of the gamer. Thus, regulation rules are left to the buyer. As stated by Charles Ess in the book Digital Media Ethics, “self-regulation leads to the best balance between free flow of digital content and protecting children from potential harmful material” (Page 138). Therefore, this leaves many high violent games to be purchased by almost anyone. This issue could be debated back and forth revolving the same studies, and mentioned facts in the class debate. When generally we should shift our idea from being an either/or and choose both sides; agreeing that violent video games does cause socially damaging desensitization to a certain level, that has yet to show a significant level for government regulation.

Posted February 20, 2011 by williams30 in Assignments

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