Banning Violent Video Games in Mexico

There is growing research on the effects of videogames on children, especially in regards to violence.  Many of the most popular games emphasize negative themes and promote killing, criminal behavior, disrespect for authority and the law, foul language, and obscenities.  Many studies of children who are exposed to violence have shown that they become immune to the gravity of violence, imitate the violence they see, and show more aggressive behavior.  In addition, studies have revealed that the more realistic and repeated exposure to violence, the greater the impact on children.

Spending large amounts of time playing violent games can create problems such as poor social skills, lower grades, less reading, exercising less and obesity, aggressive thoughts and behaviors, and less time with family, school work, and other hobbies.

In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, legislators have just asked federal authorities to ban the video game “Call of Juarez: The Cartel.”  This video game is based on drug cartel shootouts in Ciudad Juarez and has angered local officials who are busy fighting “all-too-real violence.”

Do you think banning violent games will help children’s growing aggressiveness?

Here is the full article about the game in Mexico:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/world/americas/21mexico.html?scp=9&sq=video%20games&st=cse

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anthony
    Feb 25, 2011 @ 12:53:04

    Since we spoke about research this week…

    These are VERY bold claims:

    ” Many studies of children who are exposed to violence have shown that they become immune to the gravity of violence, imitate the violence they see, and show more aggressive behavior. ”

    ” In addition, studies have revealed that the more realistic and repeated exposure to violence, the greater the impact on children.”

    “Spending large amounts of time playing violent games can create problems such as poor social skills, lower grades, less reading, exercising less and obesity, aggressive thoughts and behaviors, and less time with family, school work, and other hobbies.”

    Can you give examples of these ? Because I haven’t seen a truely conclusive study which shows these things to be true. In fact, it was my understanding that most of the studies that tried to show a relationship between people who act out violent crimes don’t tend to watch or play more violent games/tv than kids who didn’t commit crimes. So, I have to wonder, in a society where kids are exposed to violence everywhere (on the streets, in the news, in cartoons, in books) and much of it is condoned, how can you isolate the effects of videogames, compared to the effect of having to live with violent gangs offering you a “way out,” or any of the other factors involved? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate and useful to have a game that is violent, and forces kids to explore the ramifications of thier actions? (and the futility of being in an extremely violent gang?) Not that I’m implying this game would do that…

    Reply

  2. Alex Rich
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 20:30:00

    In regards to Mexico, unfortunately, I do not think banning such games will have a substantial affect on the current state of affairs. In Mexico, the reality is such; the drug lords run the country because they are more powerful than the government and until the government accepts this fact and makes concessions or builds up enough momentum to topple these horrific gangs the violence will persist. While I am not saying that violent games play no roll in breeding and grooming the next generation of Mexican drug lords, I by no means think that pulling these games off Mexican shelves will solve the problem and believe that the Mexican government should be focusing their efforts elsewhere. Drug violence in Mexican youth is predominantly a function of socialization and sadly, in some cases, of survival. In response to your statement that violent games spur aggressive behavior in children and numb them to violence I am in agreement with you. Kids are highly influential and tend to mimic what they see on television and in games. If getting aggressive helps a videogame character overcome an obstacle in one of their games they may to look to such tendencies when problem solving in their daily lives. Moreover, as with anyone, the more you expose an individual to a stimulus, such as violence, the less extreme of a response that stimulus will illicit. Allowing kids to play violent videogames leads them to become less and less responsive to violent stimulus’s. However, I do not agree with your claim that violent games causing otherwise peaceful youth to become violent and pick up a weapon. While their may be instances where a violent videogame may have pushed an already disturbed individual over the edge and elicited a violent response, I do not believe that a completely content, normal and happy child would simply pick up a gun and shoot someone just because they did so in a videogame. Moreover, I think the primary reason why an otherwise normal child would not simply pick up a gun and shoot someone is because they still have a connection to the real world and with the morality and parental figures that comes with it. However, I do believe that in extreme cases of isolation and game play individuals may loose touch with reality and mimic the actions of the characters in the games that they play.

    Word Count: 398

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