Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Violence in video games

Another widespread, contemporary social issue is the presence of violence in video games. In Australia for example, there is currently no “R” rating for video games; that is, when a game is deemed to be under the “R” classification, then it cannot be legally sold or distributed. This is a unique situation, which is at the current time bringing a lot of the argument I have raised into very prominent political debate. Should Australia have an “R” rating? Is the amount of violence currently seen in many games too much?

The main argument against allowing the “R” rating, and subsequently the amount of highly mature themes (being mainly violence, drug use, sex etc), is the high level of interactivity that video gaming grants to the user. Sure, movies and television programs incorporate a large deal of these themes as well, but gaming allows the gamer to actively engage in acts of extreme violence, and outlandish acts of generally unacceptable social behaviour. The extreme of this was reached when Infinity Ward released their latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise, the highly popular Modern Warfare 2. In one of the opening sequences, the plot guides the user into engaging in a direct act of terrorism, running rampage through an airport, killing anyone and anything in their way. Not a particularly pleasant message to be sending out to our young people really.

On the other hand, there are also a number of reasons FOR allowing “R” ratings and violence in the game industry. Firstly, Australia is the only place without this classification, and so we have been slightly left in the dark with regards to these games. Secondly, many fail to realize that the average age of the active gamer is now low-mid thirties, a far cry from the stereotyped gamer; a slightly chubby young teenager yelling at his X-box out of rage. Many of this grouping are therefore above the age of 18, and so should come to expect access to the same range of games available anywhere else in the world. Another potential point to raise is the required informed decision to be made by the parents should a young person wish to purchase one of these games in question. If the person is socially/mentally unstable, then surely it’s the parent’s responsibility to identify that, and realize that allowing them to engage in acts of digitalized violence is perhaps not the best idea.

Once again, this is no simple matter to resolve. People come from differing backgrounds, differing levels of religious engagement and differing social perspectives. It is therefore understandable that not everyone agrees on this issue. In offering my own opinion, I feel that if someone is over the required age to purchase such games, then it is their decision. If you don’t like it, then don’t buy it. If they are below this age, then it is up to the parents/guardians of the child to make an informed decision as to whether they wish this content to be granted use by their children. Any thoughts?


  1. Yes, parents or guardians holds this responsibility...

  2. good parenting is crucial - if parents are not sensitive to certain issues in their son/daughter's development (ie access to violence etc), it allows these problems to be exacerbated.

  3. Hi jesson. thanks for having a look at my new blog!
    just wondering how you found it?

    also if you have any things you wish for me to perhaps discuss?

    in regards to your point, it is generally true, but also generally situation-dependant, if you know what i mean, but ultimate decision is up to parents i guess...

  4. Psychology has actually done a lot of interesting work into the area of video game violence, the results appear to support the approach that they don’t increase violent tendencies in the long run. During game play a player does experience heightened emotions but these disappear fairly quickly. The studies have shown that if somebody is already an angry violent person then the games only act as an outlet. It is a very interesting area. I do agree with the parents should actually pay attention to what they allow their offspring to play and I see no reason why violent video games should be an issue on mass


Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions, let me know