Ban Itchy and Scratchy

Record sales of violent video games very worrying – Mitchell O’ Connor

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today described reports of records sales of the new ‘Call of Duty’ video game in the lead up to Christmas as very worrying.

“In a week that saw needless bloodshed, both at home and abroad, the high sales figures of this violent video game are very concerning. Sales are estimated to have generated €1 billion in just 16 days. It is being lauded as the fastest selling entertainment product of all time, ahead of films such as the Harry Potter movies and Avatar.

“I really fear we are entering an age where such violence will be commonplace. Undoubtedly, society has become desensitized to acts of violence. There are a number of reasons for this, but violent video games certainly play a part. Life is precious and such games present people as obstacles and violent acts as having no consequence. Over exposure to such violence, be it in video games or otherwise, can distort reality.”

“Having worked as a teacher and as a principal, I am aware of how impressionable some young adults can be and I think it is really important that rules governing the sale of such games are enforced. I also think it is important that parents are mindful of buying adult games in situations where younger children might gain access to them.
“These video games provide no educational or social benefits. For me, the gift of a book will always provide real and lasting benefit. In Ireland, we are very fortunate to have exceptional authors both for children and adults and we need to support them more. It is also hugely important that literacy levels in this country dramatically improve. The Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) shows our literacy levels have fallen from 5th in the developed world to 15th.”

ENDS

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16 Responses to “Ban Itchy and Scratchy”

  1. Somewhere, buried deep inside this nonsense, are two good points. (I know, I know, don’t worry, it’s still Stu)

    1) Parents should be aware of the content of games they purchase for their children, and what the age limits mean.

    2) Books are good.

    The rest is just misinformed shite.

  2. dinglesurf says:

    I’m gonna pop a cap in her ass.*

    *This is a joke. I do not intend to assassinate or harm any TDs. In fact I don’t even own a cap. I prefer a Fedora.

  3. Paul Moloney says:

    “Books are good.”

    I love reading, ever since I was a kid. I fondly remember sitting for hours in Pearse St Library. I still have thousands of books. But the fetishisation of them over other art forms is bizarre. I’d rather my children played something intellectually stimulating like “Bioshock” or a historical strategy game than read one of those shite Harry Plopper books. Other than in the Bible Belt, no politician these days would dare say boo about books, yet other art forms are fair game.

    P.

  4. Lisa says:

    Books are good. Books are always better than games. Like the glut of princess pop-star novels for little girls; so much more wholesome than installing Minecraft. Or Jordan’s fourth autobiography! That’s so much better than kids getting enthralled by the incredible lore in Skyrim, in which one can actually cleave an Orc’s head off. Or the fantastic writing in Portal 2, where you’ve got homicial AI systems.

    Whatever you do, don’t tell Mary Mitchell O’Connor that the Call of Duty games are based on real life. She’d implode.

  5. Driving off the plinth and all other Mitchell O’Connor jokes aside, she is not misinformed about violent video games and their effects on aggressive behaviour in children and adolescents. There is as well established a link between the two as any that can be found in social science.

    See 2010 cross-cultural meta-analysis
    http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/caa/abstracts/2010-2014/10asisbsrs.pdf

  6. She should do a Google search for “video games improve” and see all the scientific articles pointing out the benefits of video games. Some surgeons even recommend video games for improving hand eye coordination.

    Back to reading How To Build A Nuclear Bomb. It’s a book so it’s OK.

  7. Paul Moloney says:

    And Ciaran, here’s a counter-argument that we should very careful about who are behind, and funding, these studies:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/violence-in-games/

    But the point is, most people would agree that children shouldn’t watch violence movies. And that’s why we have a rating system for games in the same way as film. However, noone then implies that all movies are worthless, and that even the worst book is better than the best movie.

    P.

  8. @Paul

    Peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly research please :)

  9. Paul Moloney says:

    AFAIK, there’s isn’t a single peer-reviewed double-blind trial done for this issue. Simply summaries of multiple trials, each of which could be flawed and many of which are either performed or funded by vested interests, such as fundamentalist conservative US pressure groups.

    Ciaran, there is _already_ a rating system for games. If parents are ignoring this rating system and buying video games for their children, what else can be done?

    P.

  10. @Ciaran are there “Peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly research” studies saying “video games are bad for you”? Just curious.

  11. Eoin says:

    Out of curiosity, was this said in the Dáil or released in a press release?

    Can’t seem to find the original source,

    Cheers

  12. TUG says:

    When “peer reviewed” research can’t understand that correlation and causality are separate concepts, it’s not bloody worth much… In fact, you could probably draw a line graph showing that as the amount of this peer reviewed academic rubbish grows so too has the growth in video games!

    Wonderful but what have we learned…

    School Principal is woefully out of touch shocker… Nothing to see here, move along, just another fine day in this FAILED state.

  13. @Paul 2.09

    A double-blind study involving violent video games? I have no idea how this could be possible. How could both the researcher and the participant be unaware of the nature of the video game being played? Participants can be randomly assigned to either violent or non-violent video game categories (e.g. http://socialcogneurolab.missouri.edu/pdfs/Engelhardt_atal_JESP_2011.pdf) But this can’t be double-blind as presumably the participants would they realise which condition they were in quite quickly.

    At any rate to do so in this context – i.e. with children or adolescents – would conflict with the code of most human research ethics boards – i.e. you can’t get minors to play video games which it is illegal for them to buy.

    @ TUG 2.41

    I’m fairly sure that peer-reviewed research, such as the paper I’ve linked to, understands the distinction between correlation and causation. In fact, that meta-analysis only comprised of 82 cross-sectional studies, 92 were experiments (the other 34 were longitudinal). As you probably know, in an experiment causality can be inferred.

  14. Raul says:

    That’s like blaming Monopoly for the boom and crashes :)

  15. TUG says:

    DBS! Why didn’t you say so… I can infer something from that too…

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