This episode addresses sensitive subjects, Listener discretion is advised. Juke and Perf aim to better understand the relationship between violent content in games and violent behaviors when not playing. A mix of opinion and science (mainly science though!)
Trigger Warnings: Violence, Mass Shooting, Trauma, Addiction.
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Does Media Violence Cause Violent Crime? Sarah M. Coyne
Mass Media and Fear of Crime - Linda Heath and Kevin Gilbert
Fabienne Cusson - Violence Criminelle
Hello, and welcome to Getting Gamers Your Guide to Understanding the gamers in your life. I am your host, Juke my pronouns are they them, and today we are going to address the topic of... do violent video games cause violent gamers? today to talk about this topic I am once again accompanied by Perf, Hi!
Hey, what's up guys, it's Perf again! my pronouns are he him, I didn't forget this time! Perfect!
Before we start, I guess I'll address just why this topic came to light, or why we wanted to cover this topic. First of all, it's a really, really common worry that people have that violent video games would cause violent gamers. I think we've talked about it. In episode one and two, about gamers being perceived as violent people.
It is indeed something we hear a lot in the media on just casual discussion about gaming.
I'm studying criminology. And in one of my classes, it's called criminal violence. And in that class, we covered violence in media. And we briefly covered violence in video games. And when I saw that the teacher had linked a bunch of articles about violence in video games, my first reaction was, Oh, this is gonna be annoying. They're gonna talk about how video games are bad and blah, blah, blah. And I just didn't want to hear it. But I had to because it was my class. And then I clicked on all the articles. And it was actually like, science is on our side! science is proving that violent video games do not cause violent gamers. And that's basically what this whole episode is going to be about. And just to be transparent, all of our sources are going to be in the description of this episode, or as many as I can remember to put, but the the facts that we're going to be giving out or are not like pulled out of our asses. So I guess the first thing we have to start off with when we talk about violence in video games, is the topic of mass shootings.
Clearly, we've been hearing all sorts of thing about it.
Yeah, and I think mass shootings are a sensitive subject, but are often brought up when talking about violence and gaming. And in general, after a mass shooting, you almost always hear that the culprit had played video games, or certain video games like after the Columbine shooting? I think that we found out that they played the game Doom, and there was a shootin g in Norw... Norwegian? Norwegia? What's? C'est quoi Norvege en Anglais?
Norwegian? is that it?
But yes, Doom was one on the first first-person shooter that is said to have inspired mass shooters. alongside with the call of duty to if I'm not mistaken.
Yeah, well, from what I have understood in the past is that Call of Duty was used at some points to train soldiers or something like that. That's something that's been tossed around. And in Norway a fter there was a mass shooting, we found out that the culprit had said that he learned how to shoot with Call of Duty
call of duty is also a big name in the first person shooter category. Just so you guys know what we're talking about here.
Yeah, I think the number one thing to keep in mind is that nowadays, and even then, the majority of youth play video games, so it's hard to just blame the video game. The same way. Marilyn Manson had been accused of like influencing school shooters in the past and his answer to the media when they came to interview him and saying how do you feel about being blamed? Your music being blamed for mass shooting? He said, well just look at what our government had been doing that same week, how can you blame my music when what's going on in government is just crazy. And they're just killing a bunch of people? Yeah, I think the number one thing to keep in mind is that everyone plays video games, or most people play video games, it's not something that you can just turn to and say, Oh, that's the problem. That's because then everybody would be committing mass shootings. And they're not. The only thing to remember that's been pointed, pointed out in many articles is that children have played with toy guns, every since guns have existed. Video games is not the culprit here. However, there is a correlation between people that are aggressive and violent liking violent content. So as much as we're here advocating alongside science, that violent video games do not cause violent gamers, there are violent people who are going to prefer violent video games, violent movies, there is a correlation there. And that does exist,
which is not surprising.
Yeah, absolutely not
this doesn't mean them being gamers and playing video games that are violent, is gonna make them go in the street and go mass shooting people.
Exactly. I'm pretty certain that a bunch of criminals are huge fans of music. But doesn't mean music causes you to be violent or be a criminal. It just that everybody loves music. You know. I think the important thing to remember from all this is that there are going to be people who are violent, who do get influenced by violent content, but the content doesn't create violence. These people are often people who have trouble troubling backgrounds, troubling pasts, and who've been violent since toddlerhood from the stuff I've seen in my class so far.
So you're saying that they're most likely pre existing mental health disorders?
Yeah, you know, the same way we say that bullies are often people who have been bullied, and stuff like that. So people who have experienced violence, a lot in their childhood, might have those tendencies more than others.
I think it makes sense. It's also part of other social concept. I don't know in English, though. It's recreating a certain environment, because it's the only thing you know.
Mm hmm. Like social learning.
Yeah, yeah. It's directly related to social learning.
I think the big part of this episode is also trying to figure out if video games violent video games are a trigger of these violent person,
there is still a certain consensus amongst researchers, that there is a certain desensitization. people do get desensitized to the violence that's in the games. But as my teacher pointed out, you can be desensitized to gore on TV, and violence in games, but still be super sensitive to violence in real life and still be a super empathic person and care and not be okay with violence and not want to commit any acts even though you're desensitized to violent content.
And that is also part of something I really don't like about people blaming video games for creating violent people. I mean, of course, we know ultimate difference between real life and video games. how stupid do you think we are?
If we look at the actual numbers, the University of Villanova did a study. If you look ever since the creation of video games, the sales have been on an upward slope ever since video games have been invented. However, if you look at homicide rates, and violence, those graphs, those slopes have been going downwards ever since we've been cavemen. homicide rates have been lowering at like a very steady pace for a very, very long time. And when the creation of video games happened, homicide rates didn't All of a sudden go up.
It is harder to go off facts. It's so much easier when it's just like conversation. Yeah, like Episode Two is very easy to do, because we could just talk and it was easy topics, but now to like, be going off of a list of interesting facts. It's like, I need to make this work. And if we're completely honest, this is the second time that Perf and I recorded this episode. We're new to podcasting. And it is so awkward to sit in front of a microphone.
And we want to give you guys the most accurate information because we actually care about what you will be learning on this podcast. So yeah, that's why we are trying hard.
Yes on this podcast, we do try hard. As much as we'd like to talk about how no matter the game, no matter how violent it is, it's not going to create violent people. I think something that's not non negligible is aggression. And there was certain studies that my teacher had sent, that perf and I looked at and these psychologists that wanted to measure the level of aggression that players have after playing a game. So they created two versions of the game half life. In one version, you had to shoot your enemies. And then the other version, you pointed a laser at them, and the laser made them disappear. So one of them's more violent than the other where you see the person die. The other one, they disappear. Yeah, the researcher then created obstacles for certain players by making the game harder, or by making the controller harder to use. After the game, the participants answered a questionnaire about their emotions and tested their aggressivity towards others, they test the aggressivity by asking the participants how much time the next player should put their hand in freezing water. And the players that had the harder game wanted the next player to suffer more. So what we see here, and what's been proven or shown in this article, is if the game is too hard, the player has a feeling of incompetence, and that makes them angry. But if he mastered the game, he will be proud and confident, no matter how violent the game is. So it's normal for certain gamers to be more aggressive after playing a video game. But it's not because the video game is violent, and it's not an aggression that is proven to last a long time. It's not unlike an emotion that stays with them. It's a momentary thing. And I think that's normal in all people. And I think a really good example is perf, he never swears or gets mad. he's never gonna swear out of anger, or like rage or anything. But while I was researching this topic, I could hear him swearing because he was playing with teammates that were strangers online, and they really weren't good. And I could hear him get mad and be like, tabarnak.
but it's natural. It's normal. you're one of the most patient patient people that I know. You're one of the most patient people I think most of the people in your life know.
Yeah, that's true. But yes losing a game might be frustrating and bad teammates that are not collaborating are frustrating. lag is frustrating, which is a delay of response caused by
their Wi Fi. Yeah, you know, that guys, connection issues that can affect the gameplay. But all in all, it's not about being violent or not. It's just a general frustrating moment.
Yeah. And I think what's really important to remember, and what some people tend to forget is that anger and aggression does not mean violence. And I think a lot of studies have shown that after certain games get like the player can get angry or after certain games, the player can feel aggression, but it's important to remember anger and aggression is not violence. And it's normal to be angry and it's not normal to feel aggressive. I've wanted to punch my screen while writing a book report. You know, like getting mad at your computer is natural, getting mad at your controller is normal. When your keyboards not doing what you wanted to do, you get mad.
Exactly. And it's not gonna make us just go randomly shoot people in the streets or even make a plan about doing such a thing. It's complete nonsense to me.
Absolutely. And it's to me the same way. If people are saying, Oh, well, if they feel aggression, that then that proves that they're violent, then I'm like, okay, but when you get mad at your computer, because your your internet crashed and you lost an entire school assignment that you were doing, if you went to beat someone up because your internet failed, then you have issues? It's not the internet's fault.
And it's not video game related.
My examples are a little stupid.
I love it
And I have here in my notes that Gamers know how to distinguish real life from from gaming,
It was mentioned in the article. I think we mentioned it earlier, too. But in the article that I was sent, it was mentioned and when I when I had sent it to Perf, he got so upset. And he was like, Well, how stupid do they think we are?
By the way, everything negative They said about me? It's not true.
What negative thing that I say about you?
That I'm swearing? impossible. I never do such things. I am only a good boy. :P
I never hear you while you're gaming with random people go Tabarnak Caliss
But speaking about distinguishing real life from the game, I think something people might forget. Or maybe they don't correlate it to this topic, but I think it's very pertinent. There is often violence after sports games, even here in Montreal, if the Canadians don't win, or if the Canadians like the Habs hockey team does win?! people are like so hyped. They're breaking windows and like flipping out. I haven't seen gamers do as much property damage. As I've seen hockey fans do in Montreal.
they might be destructive towards their own equipment. But that's the full extent of it.
And even at that, like gaming equipment expensive.
Yeah, you don't, you don't want to destroy it.
Because then you're just gonna be mad at yourself. And that's an anger problem. It's not a gaming problem. If you get mad at so much that you break something that's super expensive of yours. That's because you have anger issues. it's not about video games
Yeah. The next important thing to talk about is the appeal. Why are people so attracted to violent games? And in the studies that I've read..-
actually, in the study you're talking about? What surprised me is that violent content is not the one that's preferred by most gamers, because you thought it was I guess I was biased, because it's the kind of content I do like, but then again, you don't see me going in the streets and shooting people.
Yeah, but so what the studies were showing is that violent games are some of the most popular games, but it's not because of the violence. So even like the content creator, and that's what was written in these articles, even the creators of these games, and the marketers of these games, do think that the violence is part of the attracting factor. But what these studies showed by doing different focus groups and comparing, testing people on different games and stuff like that, it's that the appeal to violent games are that you can do things that you would never do in real life. So many of the most popular games are violent games. And the psychologists that were leading these studies, they believe that they're popular because they offer challenges that allow the player to feel competent and gives them many choices, which satisfies autonomy. So GTA Grand Theft Auto, a super popular game, and there's a lot of violence in that game, but what science is showing is that people like that game, because they can do whatever they want in the game, not because it's violent, even though violence is a huge part of that game. And so what we're seeing is that the psychological need for satisfaction, so satisfaction of autonomy and competence, it was all associated with enjoyment, interest towards a sequel, and word of mouth. All of those thingshe need for satisfaction of autonomy and competence. it would come before mature content or violent content. sex sells, you know, so
never heard of that one!
But if the game is super sexual, but you can't do anything, you know, when you're on porn websites, and they're like, you can't finish this game without coming or blah, blah, blah, and they're trying to sell you like the sex games. I don't know, if you guys have ever clicked on those games. I've clicked on those games before, because I was so curious. especially when I was younger, but the game, there's no choices. It's just a it's just like a story. So as much as sex sells, there's a reason why those games aren't, more popular than GTA and stuff like that. You know,
there's a little bit of sex in GTA, too.
Yeah, of course. But there's a lot more options. Versus like a game that's super sexual, almost more obviously, more sexual than GTA. They want the point of those games to make you come. And still, they don't have this tremendous success. Because there's there's not enough autonomy, and design of choices in the game in that world of autonomy is a big part of the game.
Yeah. I think Most people play video games, to just escape life and do things that they wouldn't normally do. It's like the other game the other day, we were playing with our friends, Divi and Nailter, which you guys will have met by the time you hear this episode. And the game was so hard. We had like this road event on the game. And it was so hard. And I just looked at the board. And I was like, we play you to escape real life, you realize. Leave us alone.
It's gloomhaven. Yeah, yeah. It's a DND. dungeon and dragon like game.
Yeah. But it was hard.
It was fun, though.
Yeah, it is fun. And I think on that subject of getting to do things in video games, and the attraction to video games, is doing things you can't normally do in real life. There's also the fact that through these video games, children and other people, many people get to face certain fears that they've had in their lives. And I think perf is a great example of that.
Indeed, I am, because yeah, I've been playing zombie video games. And zombies were my worst childhood fear. And I got to get over it by playing and looking at a great amount of games and series about zombies. Resident Evil being my favorite one.
Mm hmm. Yeah. And if you think about zombie video games are some of the most violent, gory type games, like maybe not the most, but they're pretty fucking violent games, and they're pretty friggin gory and scary games. And you are, the whole point of the game is shooting people. They're zombies, but they're humanoid. And instead of creating a bunch of negative stuff in you, it actually had a really positive effect the fear that you had, ever since he was a child. As soon as you started playing these games, you kind of face those fears, and that's huge. And something that I see in my criminal violence classes, that fear is a huge part of violence. It's like this vicious circle, the more there's violence, the more people are scared, the more people are scared, the more violent they are because they're like, more impulsive, and they're gonna attack by fear of getting attacked.
That's it, they're reacting defensively.
Yeah, so having this game, counter your fear and come fix that fear is actually a solution to helping fix violence because of that vicious cycle of fear causing violence causing fear causing violence. there's this saying of in order to stop homicide or In order to reduce homicide rates, you must first reduce homicide rates. And something I forgot to mention earlier, which I think is important to say, there was a criminal that had said, that Call of Duty taught them how to shoot. And I think a lot of people have said, oh, I've learned to shoot with this or that game. And I can see how some games are super realistic, and they can teach you more or less how gun works the same way. There are flight simulators and stuff like that. But a great example, again, that my teacher gave was, I can learn how to make a cake on TV, doesn't mean I'm going to go make a cake. Like, I'm going to go bake a cake if I want to bake a cake, not because I learned how to do it.
And to be honest. First, I don't think Call of Duty would be a great tool to teach someone to shoot, but it could be very accessible on everything else. Just by for example, YouTube, I'm pretty sure on YouTube is a much better platform, than call of duty to learn how to shoot. Yeah, so I do believe it is utterly stupid to blame the video game here again.
everything is available on YouTube. All that aside, there are people who are more irritable, and who do live negative consequences due to gaming. We're not being all rosy glasses, blind to real life. Yes, there are people who have problems with gaming.
What we're saying though, is that those problems are not related to violence,
or if someone is violent, and you feel like it's because of the games. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that addiction does exist in this world. And the same way, you can be addicted to gambling, you can be addicted to alcohol, it can create all these problems, which in the end can create even more problems in your life and which could lead to someone being violent or aggressive. But it's the same way. Alcohol doesn't make you violent, but an alcoholic person, some alcoholic people are violent. That's the addiction. It's not the substance. And it's the same thing for gaming, there is addiction. And some people when they struggle with addiction, they have some really negative side effects. It's not because of the video game, it's because of the addiction. And on that topic of addiction. We will be covering it in future episodes.
Yeah, it would be interesting to cover but don't worry, guys, we're not going to be posting lots of heavier episodes. Back to back.
Yeah, we're looking for a balance of lighter, more informative videos and then some videos like this
sometimes some episodes might be heavier, but they're as important or even more important.
Absolutely. Alright guys, if there are terms, we have said in this episode that you don't understand. Don't worry, we will be covering all of it. But just in case I miss any. Why don't you tweet us @gettinggamers to let us know what terms you don't understand and any other questions that you may have about their side of the world. Make sure to check out our other episodes for any terms that that we've already covered. And our website gettinggamers.com where we build a glossary that gets updated with each episode. If you yourself are a gamer and you've noticed that I've gotten something wrong, please do not hesitate to write to us too, so that I can make sure the information I give out is as accurate as possible. You can find us on Twitter and on Facebook with the handle @gettinggamers and you can find me on Twitter, Instagram and Twitch @Juke_ish and perf Do you have anything to plug?
Yeah, I would like to leave a shout out to my good old friend zik you can go Watch a few of his games if you like Starcraft, Gears of War. He's a very talented player. So you can go see him on Twitch. His channel is Zik_Qc. And he also has a YouTube channel, which is innervers creations. If you like, electro music, it's all in a psy realm of music. So give this guy some love. He's very talented and deserves it. Alright, so
on Twitch Zik_QC and on YouTube innerverse creations.
Perfect. So well thank you for joining me on this heavy topic today. gg