Submited by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
We’ve known for years that exposure to violence makes humans more likely to commit violence themselves. TV violence is especially pernicious and can have effects lasting decades. Now that applies to participatory virtual violence as well.
Mark Bradford, a 46-year-old resident of Plymouth, England attacked a 13-year-old boy who had just “killed” his virtual fighter in the wildly successful computer game, Call of Duty:Black Ops. The two were playing the game over the Internet when Bradford’s character was shot during a battle scene. The enraged father of two promptly raced over to the boy’s nearby home and grabbed the young man by the throat using both hands. The child’s mother fought him off and called police.
Bradford bravely claims he was motivated because the child also called him a name after the virtual fatal shot was taken. “It wasn’t malice. I just grabbed him. I’ve seen him since and apologized. The injuries weren’t that bad but I do regret it,” Bradford told the Court. Seems virtual violence leads to real lying ,too. The Court was not impressed and scheduled a sentencing hearing this month.
The child’s mother is not buying either. “It’s pathetic that a grown man would attack a defenseless child like this. If you can’t handle losing to a child then you shouldn’t be playing games.” Amen
The case raises the question about whether games glorifying virtual violence and mayhem are suitable for anyone.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
51 thoughts on “Call of Crazy: Gamer Attackes Teen Who Killed His Character”
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Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after
I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!
@ tomdarch my sons, fiancee and nephews all play call of duty everyday all day if i let them. and have been killed many times and not one of them has run out and attempted to beat up the person killing them. and no even if the kid accidently killed the man and they were on the same side the key word being ACCIDENTLY. and the fact remains that it happens there are times that you end up killing or wounding your own team mates when they come out from behind doors, and walls that i am shooting at because the enemy was just behind that same door or wall
So here’s the hypothesis: “Exposure to media violence increases violent behavior.” I’d like to propose a thought experiment test: We all know that opera is chock full of violence and killings. Classical symphonic music is, well, just music. If exposure to media violence has a meaningful effect of behavior, and the typical opera fan is thus exposed to media violence, then shouldn’t we see a higher rate of violent behavior to a statistically significant degree among fans of opera than among fans of symphonic music?
Seriously – who here thinks that we’d find more violent behavior among opera fans? Try saying that and keeping a straight face. Do these lab test results really translate into real world effects? It’s clearly less than obvious. Also, are kids who play violent video games and watch TV today possibly exposed to less violence than kids were one hundred or two hundred years ago? Ken Burns’ Prohibition is making it clear that brawls in the street in front of saloons were perfectly normal in the 19th century. Kids used to be taken to public floggings and hangings, and there are tons of photos of smiling kids standing under lynched men and women back in the “good old days” of US culture. My dad used to love to go to get “fresh chicken” when he was a kid – it was really, really fresh – the fun was that he got to see the butcher chop the head off the chicken and watch it flop around. Remember when comic books were destroying America’s youth! Gasp!
But back to the original story! One important fact that isn’t spelled out in the msnbc re-hash or the local paper story is whether these two were playing against each other or on the same side in the game! It’s entirely possible that the kid “fragged” the adult player – that they were on the same side, and the kid intentionally killed off one of his teammates, which, when combined with an insult, is astoundingly aggravating. Not that this would justify even going over to this kids house to chew him out in person, let alone assaulting him, but it would make this guy’s unacceptable actions far, far more understandable.
One hugely positive aspect of these online games is that people need to work together in close teamwork to succeed. This is obvious in the military-style games, but the hit zombie survival game Left 4 Dead is specifically designed so that players must work together as a team against various mutant zombies. Without collaboration and coordination, players literally won’t last more than a minute or two into the game. Right now, as we, uh, speak, there are literally millions of complete strangers around the world teaming up to work together in various game worlds.
From the American Psychological Association:
Violent Video Games: Myths, Facts, and Unanswered Questions
Studies provide converging evidence that exposure to media violence is a significant risk factor for aggressive and violent behavior.
By Craig A. Anderson, PhD
After 40+ years of research, one might think that debate about media violence effects would be over. An historical examination of the research reveals that debate concerning whether such exposure is a significant risk factor for aggressive and violent behavior should have been over years ago (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). Four types of media violence studies provide converging evidence of such effects: laboratory experiments, field experiments, cross-sectional correlation studies, and longitudinal studies (Anderson & Bushman, 2002a; Bushman & Huesmann, 2000). But the development of a new genre-electronic video games-reinvigorated the debate.
Two features of video games fuel renewed interest by researchers, public policy makers, and the general public. First, the active role required by video games is a double-edged sword. It helps educational video games be excellent teaching tools for motivational and learning process reasons. But, it also may make violent video games even more hazardous than violent television or cinema. Second, the arrival of a new generation of ultraviolent video games beginning in the early 1990s and continuing unabated to the present resulted in large numbers of children and youths actively participating in entertainment violence that went way beyond anything available to them on television or in movies. Recent video games reward players for killing innocent bystanders, police, and prostitutes, using a wide range of weapons including guns, knives, flame throwers, swords, baseball bats, cars, hands, and feet. Some include cut scenes (i.e., brief movie clips supposedly designed to move the story forward) of strippers. In some, the player assumes the role of hero, whereas in others the player is a criminal.
The new debate frequently generates more heat than light. Many criticisms are simply recycled myths from earlier media violence debates, myths that have been repeatedly debunked on theoretical and empirical grounds. Valid weaknesses have also been identified (and often corrected) by media violence researchers themselves. Although the violent video game literature is still relatively new and small, we have learned a lot about their effects and have successfully answered several key questions. So, what is myth and what do we know?
Those statistics were for violent crimes committed in schools–not violent crimes committed by youth in society.
Those fact things just keep getting in the way! 🙂
Mespo: short answer, Yes.
Ever feel that simple English is undecipherable to most (not all mind you though this statement will now be deemed completely worthless unless it applies to each and every person) native speakers?
Les, you have no idea who I am. If you did, you would not be so certain of yourself. I am done here. I can explain it to you, but I cannot understand it for you.
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