back to article Violent videogames reduce crime

While there's no end of detractors claiming that violent videogames cause aggressive, often criminal behaviour, some refreshing research has now insisted that the opposite is true. The report, entitled Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime, says while "there is evidence that violent videogames cause …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    At least his bias is up-front

    "refreshing research" AKA: research that bolsters my pre-conception.

    I can see the logic that people who don't go out aren't going to cause much trouble, but that's not really the same as saying that if they do go out then they're not as violent, is it? In fact, it's a pretty stupid argument, suggesting that everyone should be locked up in order to prevent crimes ever happening.

  2. Thomas 4

    You degenerate monsters!

    How can you be so thoughtless? By refusing to ban such filth as Kirby's Dream Land or Nintendogs, you are merely encouraging the next generation of brutal psychopaths! I cannot supervise my child due to regular PTA meetings, my high profile business career and my Daily Mail column, so I often have to leave him with his Xbox and a copy of Tiger Woods Pro Putting Simulator. The thought that he could be playing something as foul and evil as Little Big Planet makes me sick to my stomach.

    Won't someone PLEASE think of the children?!

  3. ph0b0s


    Is it me or has this report about gamers not having time to be committing crimes been reported on repeatedly for a couple of months now.

    Otherwise the idea should be no surprise. People advocating that video game cause violent behaviour really need to explain why since 92 (when Doom was released) violent crime has been decreasing and is now at a record low (at least in the US, the biggest gaming market).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Similar original research

    This comic from 2006 explains how videogames could also form part of an AIDS-prevention strategy. (No offence intended.)

  5. Graham Bartlett



    And the "video games cause violent behaviour" lobby itself is just a development from the "films cause violent behaviour" of the 60s/70s and the "D&D causes violent behaviour" of the 80s. Rinse, repeat, rant rabidly...

    1. John G Imrie


      D&D and Films and Video games.

      It's a wonder I can walk down the street without ripping someones head off.

    2. Ian Stephenson
      Black Helicopters

      You missed out the PMRC

      because Tipper and Al Gore had absolutely no interest in jumping from this bandwagon (Rock music causes blah blah blah) into politics did they?

    3. Jedit Silver badge

      You forgot...

      ... the "rock and roll causes violent behaviour" of the 1950s.

      Kids rebel against their parents; the parents believe they've taught their kids the same values that they had, so inevitably blame something that their kids have and they didn't at the same age. There was probably a "ye pryntynge presse causeth violente behaveour" lobby in the 1390s - though we don't hear about their psychological research because of course, they didn't publish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And what about.

        War causes violent behaviour of the 1940s?

        Oh, wait....

  6. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    By the bsame argument, prison works,

    because criminals are kept locked up unable to commit crimes, except against each other.

    That is why there is no crime, and, therefore, no need to be concerned about violent video games anyway.

    Back in reality, however, these representatives of our species who spend all their time playing crime sims, war sims, and beat-em-ups, how well-socialised will they be? When they do occasionally interact with other homo sapiens, will they be civil and tolerant, or will they fail to connect on a human level, and, instead, treat the other party like they treated their X-Box the last time they got Red Ring of Death, and put them through the nearest wall?

    There are sometimes slightly unbelievable stories told of the effect of some games on individual minors, such as,

    And there was a war fling game for the dear old Sinclair ZX Spectrum where, with the greatest skill, you still couldn't get the bad guys without inadvertently strafing some of the refugees on the ground. Human shields for the legitimate targets, so not my fault. War is hell.

    And a magazine giveaway game that for some reason was isometric-perspective squash played with baseball bats over a tennis net. But if you advanced to the net, the computer opponent came over to meet you, and you could beat him to death with your bat. First player to ten points wins.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      People that can't distinguish between fiction and reality were effed up long before even touching a video game. That includes yourself.

      As a thought exercise, substitute video games in your little rant there with violent films and tell me why video games are a problem while movies are apparently not.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        I didn't say

        that violent films aren't problematically influential as well.

        If you watch mainly Jane Austen stories then you'll be scrupulously polite at all times. If you watch a lot of Westerns then a trip to the grocery store can end up like that shoot-out in "High 4:10 to the OK Corral".

        If you want ET or Star Trek then you want to meet aliens. If you watch Starship Troopers then you want to kill aliens.

        Why don't kids play "Cowboys and sheep farmers, or railroad builders"? They pick the drama of conflicting interests that's most often shown.

        1. Figgus

          Or maybe...

          ... people just watch what they are already interested in? Correlation is not causation, you know....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Yes, all those violent games like chess - we should ban that warmongering filth before we are inundated with hordes of spotty, bespectacled wimps sacrificing our pawns on the way to some serious regicide.

          Or Monopoly - surely all the financial woes in the world have been caused by impressionable kids having their impressionable minds warped with unwholesome ideas that monopolistic behaviour and financial shenanigans is all well and good.

          Not to mention all those deaths and maimings caused by the hoodlums whose taste for performing untrained, unauthorised surgical procedures was honed at an early age from playing Operation. Man, you can barely walk 10 yards down the street these days without someone trying to extract your funny bone or rip your heart out with a pair of tweezers.

          But more importantly, you admit to playing violent videogames - so what is it? Are you a murdering psychopath who needs locking up for the good of mankind, or did it in fact not have any measurable negative effects on you in which case any belief that it would be bad for anyone else is just arrogant arrogance of the worst type?

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            "Are you a murdering psychopath" - how would I know?

            "Are you a murdering psychopath who needs locking up for the good of mankind?"

            If you can find any survivors amongst my enemies and ask them what they think, let me know. I may have missed some. Like the "refugees" in that video game. Body parts flying in the air when a stray shot hit them - well, all right, it was the Spectrum, so little black pixels, but you could -imagine- that they were arms and legs and globby inside bits. Oh, all right, I didn't really.

            Why on earth would you assume that I'm not a psychopath? And why would I assume that you're not? Who do you think reads computer technology web sites? Not the well socialised, generally.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              It was a leading question

              If you learnt to read you will see it was a simple either/or question (psycho or normal) - I care not which one you are as both options make your trollishly poor argument invalid.

              Off back under your bridge, there may be billy goats along soon.

    2. ph0b0s

      Where is this violence effect?

      "Back in reality, however, these representatives of our species who spend all their time playing crime sims, war sims, and beat-em-ups, how well-socialised will they be? When they do occasionally interact with other homo sapiens, will they be civil and tolerant, or will they fail to connect on a human level, and, instead, treat the other party like they treated their X-Box the last time they got Red Ring of Death, and put them through the nearest wall?"

      We can see whether this is happening from the crime stats. The fact is as I stated above as the number of people gaming has increased, violent crime rates have gone decreased. Do argue that this is causal, no further work would need to be done to prove that.

      I see no-one from the camp down on violent games admitting the above fact and saying we should looking into this more as it may not be as black and white as the say. They just stick to the same line that these games cause violence even though it's effects are not showing up. It does seem a bit like arguing that up is really down, you really need a reality check..

    3. Francis Boyle

      Save your breath

      That sort of horror story only works on an audience which is ignorant on the subject which we here are not.

      BTW, you do know that the stories at Not Always Right are ,shall we say, not always true.

  7. jubtastic1

    Zombie Mary Whitehouse disagrees

    She groans that you will burn in hell for your virtual sins.

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      Zombie Mary Whitehouse

      Still needs brains.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <insert "If Pacman had affected my generation" joke here>

  9. Corinne

    I play a few games, also used to play that bete noire sport paintball that's supposed to turn us all into violent warmongers or terrorists. I don't think I've actually killed anyone though, at least not recently or to my knowledge.

    However I DO have occasions when I feel like I want to kill someone (commuting into central London every day can have that effect), and when that feeling comes along I settle down at the PC and kill pixels instead of real people - used to be I'd save it up for the weekend & shoot paintballs at people. And guess what? I get rid of all that agression in play activities, which leave me no longer wanting to hospitalise someone in real life.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge


      "...turn us all into violent warmongers or terrorists."

      Oh, I dunno. I laughed like a drain when I shot a colleague clean in the happy sacks, reducing him to a squeaky-voiced heap on the floor.

      Now I should, of course, have been the very soul of conciliatory sympathy laced with the milk of human kindness. I blame paintball.

      In my defence all I have to say is that it was a bloody good shot at that range....

  10. James Micallef Silver badge

    Love and Peace

    Politicians, all government agencies, media etc keep on pushing the idea that crime is somehow rising and out of control. It fits their agenda, respectively, to prey to voter's insecurities; increase their influence, authority and budget; and to sell more copy / page impressions etc.

    The REALITY is that most or all types of crime (especially violent ones) are at all-time lows in pretty much all the civilised world. In the uncivilised world, both wars as well as people killed in wars are at historic lows. It only seems different because we keep seeing wars / violence on TV and in the news.

    Seems like the more violent videogames get, the less violence there is in real life. Not a scientific study of course, but when has that stopped pols making the opposite argument??

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    1. Anonymous Coward 15


      Free beer and pies for all!

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