Friday, 4 December 2009

Media Effect Theories Relating Violent Video Games to Violent Behaviour

From the Hypodermic Needle Theory otherwise known as the silver bullet approach to the Uses and Gratification Theory and the Limited Effects Model researches concerned with determining the link between media content and behaviour in viewers goes back in time -to the early 1930s perhaps. As it relates to Video games, these theories have been hailed as well as flawed in interpreting the social behaviours of game players.

In the first book uniting empirical research on and public policy options for violent video games; 'Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents' by Anderson, Gentile, and Buckley updated the traditional General Aggression Model to focus on both developmental processes and how media-violence exposure aggravated the likelihood of aggressive and violent behaviour in both short- and long-term contexts. Anderson et al. describe the reaction of the games industry to scientific findings that exposure to violent video games and other forms of media violence constitutes a significant risk factor for later aggressive and violent behavior. They argue that society should begin a more productive debate about whether to reduce
the high rates of exposure to media violence, and delineate the public policy options that are likely be most effective Anderson and Dill (2000:1) developed facts after a study that real-life violent video game play was positively related to aggressive behaviour and delinquency. Also, the study said graphically violent video games increased aggressive thoughts and behaviour.
However, sceptics built up a contrary school of thought which held that the approaches used were flawed and
suggested that gamers who prejudiced . Mackay (2002: 48) described those studies as weak and inaccurate.
According to Karen Sternheimer, sociologist at the University of Southern California games like Grand Theft Auto and Gears of War do not in any way cause youthf
ul players to commit real-life violence. 'Politicians and other moral crusaders frequently create “folk devils,” individuals or groups defined as evil and immoral. Folk devils allow us to channel our blame and fear... Video games... have become contemporary folk devils because they seem to pose a threat to children,' she said.

*This graph shows that as video game sales increased, the total number of violent crimes went down drastically.

Anderson, C. & Dill, K. (2000) : 'Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviour in the Laboratory and Life.' Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 78, no.4

Mackay, H. (2002): 'Media mania: why our fear of modern media is misplaced.' Sydney: University of New South Wales

Duke Ferris (2009): 'Caution Children at Play: The truth About Violent Youths and Video Games.' Available at (Accessed on December 4, 2009)

Violent Game Don't Cause Youth Violence Sayd USC Siociologist' (2007). Available at (accessed on December 4, 2009)

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