Video Games: The Scapegoat of Mental Illness and Negligence. | Kinmunity: Otherkin Community

Video Games: The Scapegoat of Mental Illness and Negligence.

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Girishal, Oct 7, 2015.

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What do you think about the "Video games cause gun violence" argument

  1. I think it's completely unfounded and wrong! The US needs better mental healthcare!

    86.4%
  2. I think the politicians are right! Video games should be outlawed!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. I'm neutral on this matter...

    13.6%
  1. Girishal

    Girishal Spawn
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    Video games have been a hobby and a favorite pastime for me since I was a hatchling. As long as I can remember, I've always had a controller in my claws. It used to be a drama and conspiracy-free activity; then it all went to hell when some mentally unstable gamers shot up schools. Now, as the violence is on the rise, politicians and other anti-gun lobbyists are rallying for the outlawing of video games. To be honest, I personally feel incriminated by this onslaught of blind hatred for the medium. I've done a bit of research into the correlation between games and real-world violence, and (surprise surprise...) there is none. There was a study done by our pals in the UK: Out of the ten children and teens that participated in the study, absolutely zero percent developed violent tendancies when playing a First-Person Shooter. Zero. This only backs up the well-quoted phrase: "Guns don't kill people; People kill people." It has been documented that the mass shooters often suffer from mental illnesses that are unchecked, or even ignored by the shooter's family and friends. They are forced to suffer because of selfish ignorance.

    These shootings wouldn't happen if the United States had better mental health care. Unfortunately, in a country that has more rights for the unborn than for women, this won't be happening any time soon. I'm sick of politicians trying to use my hobby as a scapegoat for their criminal negligence of the mentally ill. I won't stand for it! Before I go into a nonsensical rant about this, I want to know: What do you guys think of the whole "Video games cause gun violence" thing?
     
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  2. Nyht Myst

    Nyht Myst The Element System
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    This issue is almost as old as the video game technology itself, there are more studies recently in the benefits of video games ranging from increased dexterity, pain tolerance, problem solving, memory, learning, and the pros of using video games for educational purposes. With this turn in research relating to video games I'm hoping this will help ease the stigma against games and gamers.
     
  3. St Claire

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    People will always find something to blame an issue on, because they want complex issues to be simple. When I see people correlating videogames with real world violence, it reminds me of something that happened all the way back when books first became readily available thanks to the printing press. In that instance men were panicking because they thought that reading a wider variety of books would cause women to become sexually promiscuous/deviant (even though they were reading the same books as men). Not too long ago the panic was over violence in TV and movies. Once all the crusty old people are gone, and people understand videogames and gamers better, people will move on and find something new to panic about and blame stuff on. Thus continues the cycle of human stupidity.
     
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  4. Shiro

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    Mental Health care is horrible in the United States. The fact that insurance companies limit the amount of visits that they'll pay for when it comes to psychiatrists, therapists, and psychologists when no such limitations exist for general physicians shows that our country's mindset on mental health is very outdated. If the politicians actually want to fix our violence problem, they need to put some serious funding into mental health rather than their ridiculous reactionary banning of random things. I mean, I get it, it's probably easier in their mind to say 'ban guns' or 'ban video games' than to face the elephant in the back of the room that is our broken healthcare system.
     
  5. Sekhmet

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    I don't think that video games by themselves can increase violent behavior, and neither does science, apparently. I know that I use them to relax, to connect to others, and to blow off steam. I do think that there are some people who need to learn a bit about compassion, and some of those people happen to be gamers. My experience has been that in online communities, including (but definitely not exclusive to) video games, hate, fear, and anger spread quickly and easily. Our culture in general is a more violent one than we like to admit, and that shows up in a lot of nasty ways in games and gaming culture. It also shows up in the people who decide to choose a scapegoat instead of actually addressing the problem. It's a complex issue. We definitely need better mental health care, but neuro-atypical folks such as myself are far more likely to be the victims of crimes than the perpetrators. If we want to stop the kind of violence we have going on in this country, we need to start addressing the cultural roots of it instead of blaming video games or mental illness.
     
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  6. Diamond Dogs

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    It's pretty much exactly as you said; it's entirely a product of the way that the United States views and treats mental illness. Reporters and politicians are so eager to point fingers and pass the buck when it comes to news stories like this, in order to sensationalize them, and push for restrictions and laws against all of the wrong targets, because that's so, so much easier (and less costly) than reforming the real problems. The public becomes complacent when something gets done, even if it's entirely the wrong action, targeted at the wrong culprit. Something got done, and that's what mattered.

    It has been proven that violent video games are not inherently tied to violent behaviors, nor do they cause, exacerbate or promote them, but in fact, in the right hands and minds, they can be outlets for those who do suffer from violent impulses, and can help them sate those urges safely. However, there are those who are unfortunately so sick, are not taken seriously by their friends or family, and end up spiraling out of control and doing something that could have been prevented, had their family been educated on their symptoms, and had reached out in concern to get them help. If we focused more on educating about different mental illnesses, and teaching the people that they are not something to be feared, but understood, we would be more equipped to manage, handle and help individuals like this, instead of pointing fingers at Grand Theft Auto and Doom when things go sour. If we were all given the resources to teach and inform, and put an end to demonizing mental illness, these occurrences would not repeat to such a degree, and those who are so ill that they become dangerous would not reach that point so disturbingly frequently, but here we are, trapped in a vicious and hungry cycle, which sees no end any time soon.

    - Revolver Ocelot
     
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  7. aqualit

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    As a fellow video game enthusiast who grew up with a controller glued to them, and someone who's studying games and pursuing a care in the game industry I've argued my point hundreds of times. Sourced papers, heard lectures ect.
    As it stands there is no viable proof that violent games bring out violence in children. People have been violent long before media. Things depicted in games have been described in books, sung in songs and acted in plays and movies. This wasn't an introduction, it's just scary new technology that people like to point their finger at because they've only heard the bad things about it.
    I'll delve into a quick little game history tidbit before I continue ranting.
    The arcade gaming era started out circa 1966 with Sega, but well skip ahead a little to what propel consider the 'first' arcade machine. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Daubney develop a game called 'Computer Space' in 1970 although it didn't make it to an arcade cabinet until 1971. This starts a trend, followed by things like Pong (not the first game!), Spacewar, Maze, Indy 800, Gun Fight. These guys lead us to 1976 where a company called Exidy Games releases an arcade game titled simply 'Death Race'. Now if that doesn't sound ominous enough I'll give you a short description of the gameplay: simply you drive your little car and run down 'gremlins'. These 'gremlins' have a very human shape and as human sounding of a yell as you can get back in the day. This game was a huge discussion point, and was banned from a lot of arcades for its morbid nature.
    Banning, and making the game a taboo sort of just made it more popular and brought more media attention. This was the start of 'games make kids violent.' This started the discussion (government regulation threat) that would eventually (after long debate and compromise) implement the ESRB rating system we all know and love! However the well known ESRB system wasn't implemented until 1994.
    For those of you who aren't familiar games are rated as such.
    EC - Early Childhood
    E - Everyone, family friendly.
    E 10+ - Everyone of the age of 10 and over.
    T - Teens.
    M - Mature, 17+.
    AO - Adults only, 18+.
    Along with your letter rating you've got a brief overlay of what gave the game the rating in the first place. For example on the case of a game you'd see: MATURE 17+ M Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Drug Reference.
    Now you'd think that a clear understandable rating system would keep games that are a little too much out of kids hands. Not at all.
    Now, yes games open the eyes of children to violence and normalize it--- but that's only because negligent parents let them have games that are too much too soon. An older teen will understand that while in a game you can shoot someone in the head and steal their car with little repercussion a child will not.
    So the solution, blame video games or better educate parents on what their children are playing? If you ask me violent games are absolutely not the problem here.
     
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  8. baopis

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    I agree with the general consensus that video games themselves do not cause violence. I disagree, however, that there's nothing wrong with violent video games and/or that this issue and the mental health issue are as connected as described here.

    I believe that violent video games are not the cause, but rather the result of a culture that romanticizes and accepts violence. War games are war propaganda and little more. Games that give the option of killing innocents reflects a culture that doesn't value the lives of others. Violence is not an integral part of video games, as we can see from games like Journey, Fez, The Stanley Parable, Portal, Minecraft, Animal Crossing, Sonic the Hedgehog, Octodad, Mario Kart and Mario Party and Mario Tennis.

    I also believe it to be perhaps a little bit disingenuous that our only discussion of when mental healthcare in the US is talked about being exceptionally poor is in the aftermath of a tragedy. Statistically, mentally ill folks are more likely to be the victims of violence than to engage in violent crime. Sources and other dispelled myths can be found here: Facts About Mental Illness and Violence - Mental Health Reporting - UW School of Social Work. Instead of talking about how mental illness contributes to violence, I believe it's infinitely more useful to talk about how a culture of violence contributes to violence.
     
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  9. SilentSynthesis

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    Eh? I stopped worrying about this issue long ago. Just ignore the soots and play the games you like. If anything, video games actually relieve violent urges.
     
  10. Rexkin

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    The problem in the US is the lack of gun control. More guns lead to more shootings, simple fact. Look at south Korea, huge numbers of gamers and how many school shootings have their been? 0, zilch, zero, none.
     
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  11. Zen'akufuni

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    I agree that video games are not related to gun violence. I love video games. I'm not so much into FPS games, but there are exceptions. Goldeneye on the N64 was one of my favorite games as a teenager, for instance.

    With that said, I don't think that young children should be allowed to play games with ratings that are above their age, at least not until their parents have made extra sure that they are mature enough to handle it. While the games may not cause gun violence, they can promote emotional aggression during online play. Even if the child is calm, they may end up being harassed and abused by the nastier players. Overall, parents should monitor their children's media consumption by actually taking part in it. That way, they can teach their child the difference between fantasy and reality, as well as help them learn how to deal with less savory aspects of online social interaction.

    As far as mental illness, I agree that we need many improvements. It can vary from state to state, however. The entire healthcare system needs fixing, and mental healthcare should be a part of that. Still, I am troubled by this trend that seems to be pointing more and more fingers at the mentally ill. It is turning into fear mongering, as if every mentally ill person is going to go pick up a gun and start shooting people. We need people to better understand mental illness. We need them to be more supportive of those with it. Having a mental illness is not the problem, but the way in which people become alienated and abused for it is. It's no wonder that these things happen. If someone kicks a dog often enough, he is going to bite them. The dog will likely develop some form of neurosis, too. Do we blame the neurosis or do we blame the jerk who kept abusing him every single day? Personally, I go with the latter. We shouldn't go from scapegoating one group to scapegoating another. This is a complex issue that must be dealt with on multiple fronts.

    Regarding gun control, I do think we need it. We don't have to completely outlaw them, but there needs to be a better system in place (e.g. biometrics and better bullet tracing). They need more regulation. There are certain kinds of guns that just have no place being in the hands of civilians. Those should be banned. We don't have to outright ban non-automatic firearms, but we should be much more responsible and intelligent about their manufacture and sale. That's what I think, anyway. Everyone is still entitled to their own opinion.
     
    #11 Zen'akufuni, Nov 5, 2015
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  12. Skylark

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    "Yet surprisingly little population-level evidence supports the notion that individuals diagnosed withmental illness are more likely than anyone else to commit gun crimes. According to Appelbaum, less than 3% to 5% of US crimes involve people with mental illness, and the percentages of crimes that involve guns are lower than the national average for persons not diagnosed with mental illness. Databases that track gun homicides, such as the National Center for Health Statistics, similarly show that fewer than 5% of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness."
    Source: Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms > The Assumption that Mental Illness Causes Gun Violence (subtitle)

    Original post presents a the logical fallacy that there can only be two (or a few more) options/causes/etc. There aren't, and one of the biggest problems is that politicians and public figures keep perpetuating that idea. We want to believe there's an easy solution, because then we won't have to deal with the issue anymore and we can just be done with it.

    Totally in agreement with Zen'akufuni and many others in the post - guns are a problem. Gun control needs to happen, and it needs to be better. But I also think culture, too, contributes, as baopis mentioned. For instance:

    South Korea's culture is WAY different from ours. I say this as someone in a really diverse area, where kids from South Korea come and spend months at my school through our language exchange program. Life in Korea is so different, and I believe part of it is that they are constantly under the threat of North Korea getting up in the night and starting war again. Years later, that conflict has not passed. The demilitarized zone isn't even a safe border, there are land mines all over and around it. There are huge tunnels going under it, into South Korea - and only a few are actually "known." They estimate there are far more. With that kind of a threat hanging over your head daily, wouldn't you be reluctant to go and shoot up a school?

    Gun control policies impact culture, and so do many, many other factors. While we're at it, it may be good to bring up that suicide is prominent in roughly 40% of mass shootings - meaning the usual "suicide triggers" (which are also dealt with horribly) factor in at least somewhere. Additionally, most of the time the shooter is male. (Source, for both: FBI.gov, Page 6 (snapshot)) So does hyper-masculinity feature in here somewhere? That could be the reason video games are so often linked - because, who do we normally think of as playing them? (A: Men.) Could it be media attention? Possibly, but mass shootings happen a lot more often than is actually reported by the news. In some cases, even more often than is reported by the FBI - or at least, that's what USA Today says. [link]

    Personally? I think a lot of it is negligence. As a society, American neglect to realize when students are in over their heads, neglect to realize just how toxic the school systems really are, neglect to take care of children, neglect to provide the mentally and physically ill and disabled with what they need, neglect to keep track of guns and violence... We only recognize bullying when it happens on social media, because it's been happening for years and years in schools and outside - it's just more visible online. Yet, no one does anything. I can't count how many times I've had to sit through presentations on bullying, or be asked to sign a poster to "end bullying" - and what of it? Nothing. If you'll excuse my language, absolutely jack **** was actually done - and I know I'm not the only one to observe such. That's a golden example of neglect. Another is, quite literally, neglect, specifically in the family setting. Neglect covers all the bases - but that's just me.
     
  13. Rexkin

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    All of that may be true but what I said about guns being the main problem is true. Ignore my example of south Korea, look at the UK. Guns cause gun crime. Instead of going on pointless tangents about south Korean culture
     
  14. Skylark

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    I wasn't arguing with guns being a problem? In fact, if anything, I was agreeing with you.
    Your example was fine, I was just furthering it. But yes, the UK has gun control and it works. I agree.
    I really don't appreciate this, and I don't think you fully read what I wrote. It had a purpose, I was talking about how culture contributed and how culture needs to change too. Gun control isn't just going to magically change everything.
     
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  15. Rexkin

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    I know it won't (there are far too many guns around in the US for it to) but my example of south Korea was pertinent because they have massive numbers of gamers and gun control, other factors in reference to this debate were not particularly relevant.
     
  16. Skylark

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    I really don't feel comfortable arguing this with you, so this is me officially saying I'm dropping the topic. My posts above stand as are, and thank you for your time.
     
  17. Rexkin

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    Right... No idea what there is that isn't comfortable, this is a debate thread after all..
     
  18. Zen'akufuni

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    I wish that I could rate this as both "Informative" and "Love," but alas. Everything you've said is spot on, very well reasoned, and highly intelligent. Thank for you for sharing, especially the part about the statistics. :smilewolf:
     
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  19. Skylark

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    Oh, gosh. You flatter me! But thank you, I'm really glad I was able to shed some light on it. I was trying to be as unbiased as possible, but honestly? The sooner people realize that mental illness really isn't to blame for any of this, the sooner I can rest easy as a neuroatypical person. I'm very scared of change that might be coming, for the worse for us.
     
  20. Zen'akufuni

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    I know, I'm really worried about it, too. I can only hope that there will be enough people who stand up against it, especially professionals in the medical community, that they won't be able to get away with any real institutionalized prejudice. We need to be moving forward, not backward.
     
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