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Violence in Video Games

Pedro Cachay
English (Tuesdays Thursdays)
David Cowper
10/15/2013
97% of 12-17 year olds in the US played video games in 2008, this fueling an $11.7 billion domestic video game industry. In 2008, 10 of the top 20 best-selling video games in the US contained violence. Violent video games have been blamed for school shootings, increases in bullying, and violence towards women. Critics argue that these games desensitize players to violence, reward players for simulating violence, and teach children that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts. Video game advocates contend that a majority of the research on the topic is deeply flawed and that no causal relationship has been found between video games and social violence. They argue that violent video games may reduce violence by serving as a substitute for rough and tumble play and by providing a safe outlet for aggressive and angry feelings.
As the level of violence in video games has increased, so has concern for the effects on those who play - especially those who play a lot. Many are quick to point out that most school shootings in recent years have been carried out by avid gamers, and their games of choice were always dark and violent. But it begs the question: Which comes first? Can aggressive and violent behavior be attributed to violence in video games? Or do those who play already have violent tendencies which draw them to violent games? It's a type of "chicken or the egg" debate that has strong advocates on both sides. Though video games made their appearance in the 1970s, it wasn't until systems like the Sony PlayStation were released in the 1980s that violence became an issue. Along with these more sophisticated systems came the ability to make graphics more lifelike. The more lifelike they've become, the more interest there has been in the correlation between...

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