back to article Call of Duty, GTA V do not make youth more violent

Millions of people are currently preparing to settle down and play the latest versions of Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. But when it's game over, will they then put down the controller, pick up a weapon and go cause some mischief? Absolutely not, if you believe the findings of a new report exploring the relationship …

  1. pdebarra
    Headmaster

    Asterisk...

    ...but no footnote? You're just winding us up!

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Asterisk...

      ...which makes me so ANGRY...Oh no! Media inspired violence!

    2. Breen Whitman

      Re: Asterisk...

      Author is a proper wind up merchant.

      1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

        Re: Asterisk...

        Yeah he and his Mate Obelisk encouraging mindless Roman bashing, and as for that hound Dogmatisk.......

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Holmes

          colonel_kurtz_approves_of_this_method.jpg

          Consider that ISIS bans video games and these guys are ANGRY.

          Clearly a negative correlation.

          colonel_kurtz_approves_of_this_method.jpg

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    spoonerism?

    Grand Theft Auto: Advanced Warfare

    Is that , erm ,correct , or is the tagline attached to the wrong title?

    I'm just guessing as I dont have the hardware or the inclination for these latest games , ill stick with Quake2 mods and Unreal tournament.

    1. Busby

      Re: spoonerism?

      Yeah pretty sure they mixed the titles up there have sent an email to their corrections address.

      Pretty unsurprising study though, makes sense if people have a harmless outlet then for the majority that can only be a good thing.

      Probably still a tiny minority that could be tipped the other way though.

      1. Obitim
        Alien

        Re: spoonerism?

        Dropped one in too...just to be sure

      2. Marvin the Martian

        Re: spoonerism?

        As for 'unsurprising study' --- the decline in youth violence seems to be mostly down to falling environmental lead levels (basically since 'unleaded fuel' became obligatory), as it seems exposure in your infancy just screws your neural nets and primes your for unrestrained behaviour later.

        The peak and fall of youth violence (globally, wherever crime statistics are available) lags a decade a half after the peak and fall of environmental lead levels. (The causal link evidence is not much stronger than that, but it's everywhere precisely repeated, pretty much independent of economy, climate and society.)

        So it seems to me that the violence of videogames causes either some more, a little less, or the same amount of violence --- but is a far weaker trend than the global violence trend. However, you can study separate individuals as you know those who play or not, since when, and you can make them switch habits (for pay, for a while); in the 'lead' situation, all are in the same cohort and there's no control group. [Yeah, some far-off tribe without petrol perhaps --- but they also have a completely different society so no use for comparison.]

  3. Waspy

    no mention of Keith Vaz?

    He has waged an unscientific one-man crusade against video games for years now without one bit of evidence to back up his claims...except of course his strong personal bias

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Given my

    favourite game at the moment is Kerbal Space Program, I should be down at the cape blowing up rockets or sending robotic explorers to other worlds.....

    Sadly I'm stuck on a damp south coast watching the fireworks

    1. SteveK

      Re: Given my

      Perhaps that explains the two recent as-yet-unexplained rocket-based mishaps...?

      1. Long John Brass Silver badge

        Re: Given my

        I blame MechJeb

  5. Greg J Preece

    Well this isn't even remotely surprising. The last Grand Theft Auto was the fastest-selling *anything* ever in the media world, but despite the number of gamers being at an all-time high society has continually failed to collapse.

    1. Mtech25

      Which is rather annoying as i have to get up for work as normal and not spend my time looting the nearby shops for supplies, well i suppose i will have to contend myself with the million and one zombie survival games.

  6. Mtech25
    Pint

    My two cents

    What i found interesting was the actual scaremongering reports making gamers more violent.

    My theory is that people looked at the report and felt subconsciously that they could blame video game for there violent out bursts.

    But then i am not a physiologist in fact the only degree i have is in beeralogolgy.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: My two cents

      It's the "my client is a victim, not a perpetrator" defense. When defense attorneys have nothing else, they'll try to diminish the guilt by blaming someone or something else -- jazz, comic books, computer games... -- and what they choose to blame depends on what is currently fashionable.

      A bunch of scaremongering reports about games in media will therefore make more attorneys more likely to try to shift blame to computer games (rather than, say, rap music or hollywood movies).

      1. dan1980

        Re: My two cents

        @Vociferous

        Not just that but it's also an attempt to present an easier target in place of whatever you are trying to deflect attention from.

        As many people (including yourself) have noted, this keeps happening - they just update the scapegoat from time to time as people grow up. You have people blaming 'rock and roll' and then the people listening to rock and roll grow up and are the ones looking for something to blame. So, they blame heavy metal - that's clearly the problem. The people who grew up with heavy metal (not necessarily listening to it, but in that era) in turn become the ones looking for a scapegoat and bam! - there are computer games.

        Computer games are slightly different due to their interactivity but there is still no evidence that they are responsible for violence. Thankfully, people who grew up with 'violent' video games are now in their 30s and 40s and so video games are less useful as a scapegoat.

        I wonder what my generation will blame when we get into our 50s and 60s . . .

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: My two cents

          I'll be a bit off the wall..... I spent time in a totally violent place, Vietnam with the Marines. So why aren't I violent? If we take the violence breeds violence argument to it's logical conclusion, I and a couple of million others should be serial killers in civilian life.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My two cents

            Yeah, but the Marines is different. Video games teach kids how to strip down, rebuild, maintain and use guns, drive tanks and so on.

            In real life you just shoot outside the warzone to reload, right?

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: My two cents

              "In real life you just shoot outside the warzone to reload, right?"

              No.. not quite. You shoot a couple of civilians or newsmen to do that.

              The trollball is back in your court...

  7. h4rm0ny

    Honestly, given how complex this area is and how hard to isolate the relevant variables it is, I find it hard to believe you could draw any significant conclusions either way.

    1. Vociferous

      Hundreds of studies have failed to reach any conclusion on fictional vs real violence. That it's hard to find any correlation shows that if any correlation exists, it's extremely weak. The only reason people keep searching for any link is because "common sense" suggests that fictional violence gives rise to real violence, contradicting evidence be damned.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: shows that if any correlation exists, it's extremely weak

        Hypothetically: even though the correlation is demonstrably weak in a population sense; for a small subset of somehow suceptible individuals, it could be strong. And with the strength of the "suceptible" correlation being drowned out by the noise and other confounding factors (eg lead, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread) in the dominant non-suceptible population. Whether or not this might be true I do not know, but it's not implausible.

    2. Long John Brass Silver badge

      > given how complex this area is and how hard to isolate

      Easy ... in the last 20 years violence in society has been steadily dropping. In the last 20 years there has been a huge explosion in computer games; If video games make people violent then we would be seeing more violent crime not less

  8. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    If your paper/article/post has a question mark in its title

    Then prepare for me to ignore it. The point of Academic papers is that the author has done all the leg work and research to answer a question. The title is supposed to tell us, in as few words as possible, what they discovered. The same goes for news reports and any other form of reporting. If I wanted to read a lot of words before coming to the point of the piece, I'd pick up a novel.

    To me the question mark is a big red flag saying that the following piece is nothing but click-bait (along with such words/phrases as '... might surprise you..' and '..you must read this before...'. Incidentally Buzzfeed, upworthy and their ilk are blocked on my firewall...

  9. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Trollface

    I can understand being driven to violence by video games!!!

    Game: "Congratulations on reaching the Nazi fortress! To defeat Hitler and his SS henchmen, please purchase the "Assault on the Fuhrerbunker" DLC for the low price of $29.99 by entering your credit card data in the space provided."

    Me: Urge to kill....growing....growing!!....GROWING!!!!!!

  10. Haku

    I have this strange urge to hit anyone who tells me that because I play GTA V/Online it makes me violent...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find it very upsetting and want to smash the face of anyone saying video games make me violent!

    ...unless... damn you are tall! Nevermind!

    So it's plan B: Mid-week beer!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    some video games made me violent, but..

    ..not because of the content but because of the CHEATING BASTARD COMPUTER. I swore i would never smash an xbox 360 pad into the ground, but after playing through COD4, on Veteran, i did.

    The game was rock hard on that difficulty setting BUT i completed it without any violence to the Gamepad. Then came 'Mile High Club' the bonus level, which on Veteran you had to complete in under a minute.....that's when i had the problem. You see when you shoot the enemy sprites IN THE HEAD on all the other levels and difficulty settings, they drop down dead! But not on this pigging level they don't. Oh no, you shoot them in the HEAD on this level and on Veteran and you will find that they don't DIE but lay on the floor emptying a DESERT EAGLE into you whilst holding the gun 'Gangster style'.

    After 78 failed attempts to get past the final baddies, so that i could make my way up the stairs of the aeroplane, i once again noticed i was getting shot to pieces but for the life of me i couldn't figure out who was doing it as i had just massacred all of the baddies and was in fine fettle. Then i panned down and low and behold there,on the floor, was one of the baddies introducing me to the contents of his gun. My BLOOD PRESSURE at this point was through the roof, but armed with this Knowledge i felt that i should have 'One More Go'. So off i went blasting my way through the baddies, on my 79th go waiting for this prick to pop his little digital head up. When he appeared, BANG, BANG, BANG with the shotgun i went and down he went lifeless on the floor of the cabin, only to come back to life and kill me once again! That's when i lost it, and BANG, BANG, BANG, went the Gamepad on the floor.....one of the vibration motors exited the pad, such was the violence of the impacts, that it bounced off the floor and cracked the Fishtank (no fish harmed, by the way).

    So what did i learn from this experience?...NOTHING! The following day i tried again to finish the level, and fucked up my spare pad whilst hissing. I've never been VIOLENT because of the CONTENT of a video game, but i do get FRUSTRATED from time to time and this frustration isn't because i'm crap at video games but because ot the CHEATING BASTARD COMPUTER.

    1. dan1980

      Re: some video games made me violent, but..

      Castlevania. Flying Medusa heads. Rage.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Correlates with my experience.

    Not that I play many games these days, but years ago, I found there was something rather therapeutic when real life got me wound up, by taking out my aggression on a bunch of polygons on a computer screen.

    I think Rise of the Triad was the one of choice at the time, either that Quake II or Doom II.

    Someone left to allow that frustration to remain bottled up? That's when they get violent.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've been playing computer games on an off for the better part of 25 years and so far I've managed to resist the urge to murder anyone! Shocked? So am I.

    I could believe that for a very very small percentage of the population video games could precipitate violent behaviour but they are people that are not well balanced already and it could equally be films / books / conversation that triggered the behaviour.

    For the vast majority of adults though it's down right crazy to suggest that we are so easily manipulated.

  15. P. Lee Silver badge

    Before we rejoice

    Any information on where funding for the study or the university comes from?

    Not that I think it does turn us all into killers, but I can see it pushing those on the edge over the line.

  16. J 7

    GTA V

    GTA V? Didn't Tangerine Dream do the score for that? First time I ever heard of the magic Tang's music being blamed for promoting violence.....If anything, music from them is likely to relax you

  17. sandman

    Individual slaughter

    I did find that fragging a bunch of Nazis, aliens, etc did wonders for my temper after a bad day at t'office. Sadly, as I rose higher in the food chain, individual slaughter lost its calming effect and I had to resort to strategy games. Genocide is very soothing ;-)

    1. TheWeenie

      Re: Individual slaughter

      Hard to tell which is the more cathartic - Quake with infinite ammo and God mode enabled or ruthlessly crushing your foes in Civilization. Both incredibly satisfying!

  18. Turtle

    Another Day.

    Another day, another study....

  19. Kaltern
    Mushroom

    GTA V et al has nothing on...

    Manic Miner.

    Eugene.

    Arrrrgghhhhh!

  20. Stretch

    "Yet one previous study claimed that scaremongering reports actually made gamers more likely to be violent, rather than all the lonely hours of virtual slaughter."

    Same goes for dumbass BBC stories about "sexism" in games.

  21. t.est

    Whatever, Violence as entertainment is sick!

    Will people become violet from observing violence real or viritual?

    No, not necessarily. However observing it makes you used to observe it. Where goes your threshold for when violence is to much violence. How much do you tolerate to observe? Where is your threshold for acting when you observe a wrong doing? Or when did you start to accept it as a natural part of life?

    If you think it's part of life in this world that people get mugged, murdered, wars. And it's just things that we need to learn to deal with. Haven't something gone lost from you then?

    You are definitely not free from being affected in one way or the other. TV commercials would not exists if what we view didn't affect us.

    So the fact that gamers don't kill other people on the street, just because they did it in a game for entertainment. Doesn't change the fact that violence as entertainment is far from upbuilding, or healthy entertainment.

    I play games too, I do play Halo 1, but I have opted out from CoD and similar as I find them glorifying violence way too much, i'm not ready to allow them to bring myself to lower the standards than I'm withholding.

    Anyone that says your are not affected from movies or games simply lies to them self a lot. Just think about when you were a small kid, and you for the first time saw something that was giving you the first adrenaline rush. From that point you (including me) have lowered your standards for what is acceptable to you.

  22. CJ 5

    Games don't make people violent, lag does

    I remember reading somewhere that lag is responsible for much more aggression than the actual virtual killing

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