back to article Teens using M-rated games to vent anger

Teenagers are using violent video games to vent their stress, a new study has found. According to the Massachusetts General Hospital's (MGH) Centre for Mental Health and Media, many young people play video games to manage their feelings, such as stress and anger, and those who play violent video games are among those more …

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Good news!

I'm pleased to see this because it's another nail in the coffin of those who make emotive claims (based on nothing more than wishful thinking or bigotry) that video games/ heavy metal music/ violent porn/ roleplaying games/ other misunderstood scare story of the week "cause" people who play them to shoot up US high schools/ commit suicide/ perform acts of sexual violence/ have no social skills and thus should be banned.

It is becoming increasingly clear from credible research like this that these sorts of things actually provide an *outlet* for feelings and emotions that would otherwise end up being bottled up until they erupt into something truly dangerous.

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re: Good news!

Indeed - I have often wondered if the implied association between violent games etc. and violent behaviour is confusing cause and effect.

e.g:

if someone who plays violent games becomes violent (as the ultraconservative would have us believe)

or:

if violent people are more likely to play violent games.

Mind, as a parent, I wholeheartedly support the ratings system as a way to assist me in MY responsibility of raising my children (as opposed to the apparant belief elsewhere that "industry" should absolve me of all responsibility for raising them)

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Whu just teenagers?

I know at least several families where network FPS shoot-em-ups have saved the family from divorce.

This is just one example: back in the mid-90-es I used to work with a husband and a wife which were like a cat and a dog. Non-stop conflicts over everything. I left the company and did not see them for a couple of years. Two years later I had to do some business with my old company and I was surprised to find them still there. They were the example family. Peacefull, no quarrels, two lovebirds. Guess what was the secret to this peace - once every day half an hour deathmatch/no monsters in Doom 2.

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Silver badge

Don't forget...

> video games/ heavy metal music/ violent porn/ roleplaying games/ other misunderstood scare story of the week.

Don't forget those other standards of youth corruption: television, talking pictures, silent pictures, the printed word, travelers from the next village south... which were, in their own days, branded with much the same claims!

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Anonymous Coward

In other news...

In other news...People who are free to speak their minds are less likely to blow your head off due to bottled up rage.

Now that Terylene Tony has gone, shouldn't we get back to our core values, freedom of speech, freedom to protest, individual freedoms, individual rights, tolerance, you know all the stuff Tony stood against?

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Whey!

I've been telling my Dad this for years and finally, over a decade later, I have a source that agrees!

I still think that the ratings system for games is something that many parents are either ignorant of or choose to ignore. The ratings are there for a reason and if parents allow young teens to play them they should be brought to account. There are plenty of fun games to vent your feelings through which don't require stepping into the unholy realm of M/18.

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Umm, Internet does not count as social

Sorry, but Internet play cannot really count as a social activity. Unless you use a VOIP client to talk with the people you game with, you are just replacing computer AI with human intelligence, you're not talking to people in a game.

And if you are communicating in-game without VOIP, then you're doing a lot of typing and not much playing, basically using an overly complicated IM chat line.

Playing with a bunch of friends physically present in a LAN is social. Playing with the same friends over the Internet with VOIP is slightly less social. Playing over the Net with friends and no VOIP is playing alone against much more difficult enemies that sometimes type you a message you can relate to. No social there.

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Not just teenagers

I'm 39 years old, and a quick blast on Quake4 or Doom3 is VERY good at relieving stress, and a lot friendlier than actually shooting anyone.

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Agree with Paul....

I used ot work at Apricot computers, where each night at office closing time a major team death match between R&D and Tech support featured but two rules - if the phone rings, even out of hours, it must be answered within the customary three rings, and no aimbots - you know who you are Captain Zbot ! We even used to see the occasional director in the arena.....

It's a taste that has continued to this day for burning off stress.

Andy Enderby

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its stress relief

Back when I was a kid the only computer games were Pacman and Space invaders .. Yawn. I took up Sword Fencing , Karate , Broadsword reenactment etc as methods to deal with the emotional bullying I was getting at school and in the first five or so years after leaving.

Now 20 years on and I brokne knee I find that when I get stressed I get agressive, so I load up something like Call of duty and go kill some computer sprites. Half hour later I'm bored, but I'm also calm again.

I';ve never attacked anyone without them first drawing a knife on me or coming at me mob handed and I have no desire to snipe at people despite that being my favorite type of computer role, plus booby traps since they spark my inventive mind.

I've read that Computer games can teach you to be violent, take it from me , presssing buttons on a joypad thingy will not teach you how to parry a blow with a sword or punch someone in a pressure point, they take physical practice to train yout body coordination and muscles. Why else does Karate do the repetative Kata's.

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Not exactly new

Pfft. I could have told you this almost 20 years ago, when as a teen I was first-person machine-gunning anything that moved in "Operation Wolf" to blow off some steam. :-)

I could also have told you that, despite what the anti-videogame scaremongers would have us believe, doing this did not make me want to aquire an Uzi, several thousand rounds of ammo and a dozen or so grenades and go do it for real.

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Anonymous Coward

Games do instil violence....

I have broken PS2 controllers to prove it. I challenge anyone to finish a 100 lap endurance race in Gran Turismo, only to make a mistake at the last corner, and not get irate. Gran Turismo is a racing game. Nothing M/18 rated in there.

The stress involved when playing competitive games is no more or less than competitive sports.

Should we ban football because some players lash out and kick a ref, or headbutt another player? Does it necessitate 6 month studies etc?

However throwing the controller on the ground + and punching the hell outta the sofa does not mean I will go on a kill crazy rampage. That’s just plain stupid.

Playing Grand Theft Auto can be fairly stress inducing, but will I use Carl (GTA3 main character) as a muse, pull out a rocket launcher and blow up a police car . I think not. Will it make me a recluse, an unsociable person, probably - until I complete it, or my girl friend demands I take her out at night instead of playing games. :)

Additionally the fact that gamers prefer GTA is not because it has an M/18 rating. Its because it is one of the finest video games available IMO.

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Anonymous Coward

How can they NOT be de-stressing?

I used to know a chav in the village I used to live who would love playing violent video games... and when asked why he loved violent video games so much he (it?) said "Look if I don't play this I'll be fighting in the pub later on tonight!"... Maybe it's what they all need...

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Anonymous Coward

Social? I think not...

Very little about gaming (or technology in general) is social. The exception being LAN (and then you still have to actually talk to others to make it social). Playing online is not social, talking VOIP is not social, using a cell phone is not social, posting comments on websites is not social, and a MySpace page is not social. Jesus, when people don't even know what being social is the world really is going to shit. No wonder people get angry and do stupid violent things, they are surrounded by a world gone mad.

And whoever said there was no difference between competitive games and competitive sports is obviously a muppet (and probably morbidly obese) No matter how realistic a football game is there is no way to replace charging the goalie in real life. If you don't see the difference it's because you never did the non-virtual stuff.

Rubes, all of you. I can't believe I am even spending my time commenting on this pile of steamy crap.

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Social gaming

True that it vents aggressiveness... just check out the Newgrounds games and see how popular the "kill Backstreet Boys" and such are. I've yet to see someone actually going through with something like that...

As for me, Doom and the Crusader series really worked as an escape valve (look at those dudes screaming in flames!) and really, really calmed me down. I used to be violent as a kid, and in my pre-teen years. Then Doom, Crusader, GTA and their offspring came out, and now I could vent my anger in less physical ways.

As for social gaming, well ... some game modes (Capture The Flag, Teamfortress) actually require organization and more communication within the team, so it isn't in the same league as other FPS modes where rare communication takes place. Though it is much, much better (and more fun) to make LAN parties: the swearing from the losing dudes is priceless!

Ahhhh... I still remember when we played Quake2 on the dorms' LAN ... pushing someone to the lava, and then hearing a scream on the other side of the building was memorable. Those were the days...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Social? I think not...

As the article stated, the kids playing these games were more likely to play in a group. For the vast majority this will be a console in the living room or bedroom. That is the 'social' aspect.

"And whoever said there was no difference between competitive games and competitive sports is obviously a muppet (and probably morbidly obese) No matter how realistic a football game is there is no way to replace charging the goalie in real life. If you don't see the difference it's because you never did the non-virtual stuff."

While there is a physical difference, the anger/stress symptoms can be the same.

People who play a lot of violent/competitive games do score higher on standardised agression tests. However, people who play a lot of competitive sports show the same response.

So, in the context of the issue at hand, there is no real difference.

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And if you drive the M25 everyday....

Burnout is a god send! Used to do a 80 mile round trip to work (M25,M11) and the best way to not get road rage with the idiots who cut you up etc. is to go home and have a good few games.

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