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a government report alleging that games cause violence;  The science varies

a government report alleging that games cause violence; The science varies

Young people compete in video games in Lima, Peru, in 2019. A link between video games and violence has been suggested for decades, but there is not enough evidence despite numerous studies.| Photo: EFE/Mikhail Huacan

After the violent attacks on schools, in particular the one that killed four children at the Cantinho Bom Pasteur day-care center in Blumenau in April this year, the government set up an interministerial working group to study the issue. This week appeared a report prepared by the group’s advisory firm Topikós. The document was supposed to be produced the month of the attack, and claims that “the appropriation of gamer culture by the organizers of the campaign of attacks on schools was central” and that “the attacks simulate online gaming performance”.

The advisors claimed that “the current wave of threats to school establishments has connections to the player’s imagination”. This causal relationship between violence and games It has been proposed for a long time. Recently, Presidents Luis Inácio Lula da Silva and Emmanuel Macron (of France) have reaffirmed this, the latter due to street protests in Paris.

The Stanford lab has tried to find a link between violence and gaming in all of the published studies, to no avail

But linking video games to violence has repeatedly failed to garner scientific support. Psychiatrists at the Brainstorm Lab at Stanford also report in the journal luck In May, “Current medical research and academic work has found no causal link between playing video games and actual gun violence.” The researchers spent months sifting through 82 papers, which is nearly all of the scientific literature on the issue.

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Since video games today are a very broad category that includes who candy crush (Puzzle game with “sweets” reminiscent of Tetris) to Call of duty (More violent series with complex graphics, war-themed), it is necessary to first isolate the problem from violent games. Most studies do this. One study sought to investigate whether there was a link between the FBI’s annual combined crime statistics and the publication dates of violent games. The period was 30 years. There was no correlation: gaming and violence varied independently of each other.

For Brainstorm Lab, causal link claims are “grand scapegoat narratives” that seek to blame entertainment for other cause problems that many claimants have a responsibility to control.

The same study with FBI data even noted a decrease
Violence associated (accidentally or not) with the publication of violent games. The authors speculated that if there is a causal relationship between violent gaming and no loss Real violence, this can be an escape mechanism, as people with violent tendencies are content in a virtual world, and are unaware of these tendencies in the real world.

“Recent research has also revealed many compelling benefits of playing video games,” the researchers added. One of the benefits that can be applied to problem-solving is more patience, since games often operate with repeated attempts to reach a goal. Studies show that games with a social dimension can “improve self-esteem, cognitive and social skills along with an associated decrease in depression, stress and loneliness”.

Experts cite the game Hellblade, from a producer of Ninja Theory, produced in partnership with mental health experts, patients, and scientists to address the taboos that stigmatize mental problems and act as barriers to treatment seeking. The result was “a portrayal of schizophrenia that was not superficial and formulaic, but nuanced and emotional, making many players feel as if they understood the disease for the first time.”

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A minority of studies indicate that violent games can induce aggressive behavior in gamers. But others raise doubts about this. A study published in 2019 in the journal psychologyby researchers at Illinois State University, tried a new approach: changing violent play The second death And note the effects on players. The remastered version has more graphic graphics, more scary enemies, and more extreme sounds to make the experience more violent. Another version has more ridiculous enemies that are not killed but are “brought home”.

After the game sessions, the researchers harassed the participants to note any tendency for aggressive behaviour. “It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever read,” they said of the essays written by the participants. The result: The effect of the game and its more extreme version on violent behavior was “small and indistinguishable from zero.” Study limitations: Sessions lasted only 15 minutes.

The bad side of video games

Causing violence in the real world isn’t among the drawbacks of video games, but it does exist. There are addictions and irresponsible decisions of players who spend a lot on titles. About 8% of American youth are addicted to video games, a behavior that has been recognized as a disease by the World Health Organization.

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