Wednesday, March 30, 2005

On March 8, Senator Clinton gave a speech to the Kaiser Family Foundation on the media's influence on teens. Here's an excerpt that had to do with video games:

In the last four decades, the government and the public health community have amassed an impressive body of evidence identifying the impact of media violence on children. Since 1969, when President Johnson formed the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, the body of data has grown and grown and it leads to an unambiguous and virtually unanimous conclusion: media violence contributes to anxiety, desensitization, and increased aggression among children. When children are exposed to aggressive films, they behave more aggressively. And when no consequences are associated with the media aggression, children are even more likely to imitate the aggressive behavior.

Violent video games have similar effects. According to testimony by Craig Anderson before the Senate Commerce Committee in 2000, playing violent video games accounts for a 13 to 22% increase in teenagers' violent behavior.

Now we know about 92% of children and teenagers play some form of video games. And we know that nine out of ten of the top selling video games contain violence.

And so we know that left to their own devices, you have to keep upping the ante on violence because people do get desensitized and children are going to want more and more stimulation. And unfortunately in a free market like ours, what sells will become even more violent, and the companies will ratchet up the violence in order to increase ratings and sales figures. It is a little frustrating when we have this data that demonstrates there is a clear public health connection between exposure to violence and increased aggression that we have been as a society unable to come up with any adequate public health response.

So now we have to figure out why kids are getting dumber when it comes to differentiating fantasy from reality. Fifty years ago, cowboys and Indians were very popular on TV and kids watched gun battle after gun battle on TV. Back then, it was even acceptable for a student to bring a gun to school for show and tell. I can’t find a single instance of a school shooting in the news archives in the 50s. So I have my doubts that watching people shooting each other on TV is cause enough to go out and shoot someone else in real life.

Video game manufacturers are constantly making more violent games than ever before, that is a fact. It is also fact that it is a purely consumer driven industry. If people didn’t want to buy and play violent video games, there’s nothing forcing them to do so. I have my doubts that 90% of the thousands of video game titles contain violence, unless of course you count a tackle in football as violence or Mario jumping on a goomba's head. The real question they should be asking is not “Why are developers forcing violence upon the youth of the world?”, because they are not, but “Why do I like these games so much?” I like them because they are fun. More often than not I play racing, sport, and strategy games but I still like to sit down and shoot up everything in sight every once in a while. I don't think anyone would argue that shooting everyone in sight in Grand Theft Auto is not preferable to shooting people in a shopping mall.

Quote of the moment:
"The new Europe: Being a constant reminder why our ancestors left the Old Europe."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Long time no post!

Well it's definitely been too long since my last post. Do most of you reading this really care? Probably not. Since my last post several important things have happened in the world. I found out that I am listed in the acknowledgements of Claire Wolfe's newest book, The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook. My spring break started about 8 hours ago, and I plan to waste every second possible with totally random and cool stuff, not to mention catching up on a few month's worth of lost sleep. A bunch of students tormented another student beyond his breaking point; now a handful of people are dead. Bryan Suits is back on the radio in his rightful timeslot and I am happy for myself because I can listen to him 5 days a week again. A few other things that might be important also happened, but they are obviously not important enough for me to remember at the moment.

Quote of the moment:
I Solve My Problems Through Violence

Monday, March 07, 2005

I'm busy!

No I haven't posted anything interesting for a while, and no I don't see doing so in the next few days. I have too much work to do to post anything meaningful here right now. I have 4 papers due in the next 7 days and they all suck. I get to quiz this weekend for the first time in a year and a half so I've been studying for that as well. But I also have 2 tests this week that I should also be studying for. So for the last post I should be writing all week here is an anonymous quote that I found while cleaning out my junk mail folder:

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Horse Quiz

Thus says the survey.