Parents Surveyed Say Violent Games Are Part of the Problem

Check out the survey results here:

89% of parents nationwide say violence in today’s video games is a problem.

Is the violence in today’s video games a major problem? A minor problem? Or not a problem at all?

45% Major Problem
44% Minor Problem
8% Not a Problem
2% Not Sure

For each of the following items, please tell us whether or not it makes shielding your children from violence difficult:

Violence in video games.

72% Makes Shielding Difficult
26% Does Not
2% Not Sure

Lots of other results at the link. Interesting reading on the same day that Joe Biden meets with reps from the game industry to talk about gun violence.

Is that 45% roughly the same number as the people who would say religion plays an important part of their lives?

The survey has questions for all sorts of things like bullying, violence in news and movies, access to guns, and even whether or not the NFL should take steps to help networks police what ads should be shown during their games. I don’t get the impression that the survey was directed at right-wing or religious folks over anyone else.

I’d guess that most parents of young children are concerned about violent media no matter their religious leanings.

Sorry for the post-on-post responses, but I have to say that I’m actually pretty impressed with the game reviews I’m looking at on this site.

Check out the difference between The Walking Dead review and New Super Mario Bros Wii U. Both got five stars, but they were very careful to outline why one wasn’t great for kids in the family while the other was perfect for everyone, while not disparaging the quality of both.

Yep. It’s not exactly a revelation, but it is interesting that it got a wide release on today of all days.

Sinij posted this link in the other thread

I got to say that even though I don’t think violent video games cause real life violence. If that was the case, other countries where violent video games are sold (Japan) would have serious violence problems and that just isn’t happening.

But I think it would totally harm the video game industry by declining that invitation. It would be looked upon by the general population as evasive and we have all seen how that worked for the NRA.

At the end of the day, the industry is protected under free speech. Access to children is controlled in the same manner as movies. I really don’t see what the industry could lose in this debate. The only reason why the video game and movie industry are participating is because the NRA specifically singled them out.

To say it’s not a factor at all seems to me as silly as saying it’s a prime cause. I think violence in videogames synergizes with many other features of American society to create an atmosphere in which attacks like Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and Aurora are more likely than in other nations. Games are part of violent media in general, and I remember full well how susceptible my peers and I were to media influence in our teens and twenties. That influence may push some of society’s more unstable members over the edge, and I’d happily support better age enforcement on games as part of a broader package.

So you would support parents being responsible for what their kids play.

Yeah, but I’m not sure age enforcement is the real solution - the problem is with the culture that thinks violence = glory. It’s going to be pretty hard to change that culture, because it is not just a matter of banning some movies and games, keeping them out of the hands of children, etc, it means changing all sorts of facets of society, from history books and classes to news reports. Gotta start somewhere, I guess, but the use of violence in games and movies is because that’s what’s cool, and the resistance to changing it is because that’s what’s cool, not because it is inherently necessary to the medium.

I read that in the other thread, and I agree with the basic thrust of the article. The fact that games are even in the debate means they’ve already lost control of the story.

It doesn’t look like there was a religiosity question in the survey. The other demographic crosstabs are interesting, though. The “violence in video games is a major problem” respondents are really pretty evenly split, demographically. The noticeable variances come with gun ownership (drops to 20% for those with one gun in the home, and jumps back up to 38% for those with more than one gun in the home) and income (significant drop for those with income > $80K – I’m assuming that’s by household).

Oh come off it. The percentage is higher in some largely atheist European nations.

And what does that have to do with a poll of Americans.

The question was one of curiosity. I meant no ill will towards the religious. I just thought I remembered some stat around the time of the election where the number of people who considered themselves highly religious (or something like that) was very near the 45% mark.

A generation of parents notorious for helicoptering saying that anything is not a concern for their children would be news.

We have no reason to believe that violent video games are part of the problem. It could be lack of oral hygiene, male pattern baldness or exposure to rock’n’roll.

Is there a concrete evidence linking video game violence and killing sprees? Is there a reason to believe that American culture exposed to it more than other similar cultures, like EU, Japan, Canada that do not have a problem with killing sprees?

Shame they didn’t poll on not eating their vegetables.

Entertainment doesn’t create cultural opinions, it’s the other way around. It’s not a coincidence that American entertainment became way more violent and vigilante-worshipping around the time of the 1960s crime wave and civil rights movement.

I find segmenting off children from the culture that their adults create ridiculous, for both sex and violence.

Actually, I’d say it’s a positive feedback loop. There has to be at least some pre-existing demand in the culture for entertainment catering to it to be produced, but that entertainment can then create further demand.

I can see that.

It’s just baffling though, said parents would never let the government take away their violent movies. So you get this Rube Goldberg scenario where somehow the precious children have to be protected from what the very same parents want until age 18, at which point they’re unleashed into the exciting brightly colored entertainment cultural bazaar of gunfire and sexytimes.

Come to think of it, this is kind of our approach to drug policy too.

Agreed about parent hypocrisy and the larger culture, which is why I contend that video games are a contributing and synergizing factor for real world violence, not a prime cause. It’s far easier for the average parent to work to ban a factor they don’t enjoy or understand (video games) than one they do (films, TV, local news, whatever). However, unless the entire complexus is addressed, the net effect of attacking one out of many causes is going to be either small or non-existant.

Or negative. In the absence of evidence either way, it is just as reasonable to suppose that being able to act out violent fantasies in a video game makes it less likely that you will do so in real life. Perhaps changing the entire way that violence is treated in our culture would greatly reduce the impulse to violence, but removing games without changing anything else could easily make things worse.

Your point is a good one and well-taken, but I suspect it goes both ways. We have a large and heterogeneous population. I’m sure there’s a subset of said population that benefits from having a way to act out violent fantasies safely. I’m also sure that there’s a subset that becomes more likely to translate fantasy into action after exposure to shooters. Which is larger? It’s impossible to say, and I frankly see no way to examine this question. Comparing other nations with high rates of violent video game consumption is inadequate because the overall cultures are so different that’s it’s impossible to control for the countless variables involved.