Link between video games and violence? Questions arise after Newtown

Print
Email
|

wwltv.com

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 10:41 PM

Updated Thursday, May 2 at 2:30 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS - Are video games too violent?

Some recent studies suggest that negative effects of playing some video games can accumulate over time.

There is now growing concern about a possible link between video games and mass violence.

Brandon Savoie, 24 and his brother Austin, 20 are two avid video gamers who enjoy hours of competition playing "Call of Duty" in the family living room in Luling.

"It's a rush," said Brandon as he mowed down a series of enemy combatants on the video screen. "I'm feeling a little bit of a rush right now."

Brandon says he and his brother play these type of video games for fun and entertainment.

"We can play these games and not be effected mentally by it."

But, he admits some people with mental challenges to begin with, may have a tough time separating the fantasy of the game from real life.

"Right now, I'm having a tough time talking to you right now, doing an interview because I'm trying to play this. What if someone is entirely focused on their game play. I really think they can get brainwashed."

Investigators say Adam Lanza, the 20 year old gunman who police said shot and killed 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut may have been motivated by violent video games.

Law enforcement reportedly found a "trove" of violent video games in Lanza's basement where he spent hours alone playing with the windows blacked out.

So far, the research is mixed on whether there is a link between certain video games and mass violence.

LSU child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Kristopher Kaliebe said to allow a kid to act out a violent fantasy over and over again seems like a bad idea.

"We know we have kids who play these games and then did horrible things and I think to not acknowledge that there's likely a connection in those cases would be, you know, foolish," said Kaliebe.

Earlier in 2013, President Obama called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to renew scientific research into the relationship between video games, media images and violence.

He also asked Congress to authorize $10 million for the research.

Tulane Criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf says more research is needed.

He believes the fantasy world on the video screen is very real for certain people.

"Are these not good for highly depressed individuals and can they get caught up? Damn well, betcha," said Scharf. "That isn't even arguable."

Dr. Kaliebe says parents should regulate the type of video games their children play.

"Parents can always choose what their children are exposed to. Parents have a large degree of latitude to figure out how much time and what type of media their kid is exposed to."

Dr. Scharf is pushing for stronger measures.

"Controlling access through parental means, through industry regulation, by getting rid of some of these games or law maybe critical pathways to averting mass violence," said Scharf.

Back in the Savoie's living room Brandon says when it comes to video games, it all boils down to good parenting.

"I see what my parents do. If they see that me and my brother were inside too much, me and my brother were playing games too much, they take the game away. They would say go outside and play, be with your friends."

Some members of congress are now calling for restrictions on video games.

In 2006, a federal judge ruled that a controversial law that banned the sale of violent video games to minors in Louisiana was unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

 

Print
Email
|