Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Video Games and Violence

This entry is somewhat random — really just an email I wrote to my Dad this morning. it was one of those emails that illustrated the perspective of the older folks in our society who lived before all sorts of nifty things like TV, microwaves and penicillin. It seemed to connect with what I had recently read in The Economist about a digital generational divide. Here are my thoughts: Strange then to imagine what I will encounter in a lifetime. I just read in the Economist as well that of the total number of people that regularly play video games over 82% are 18-34 (almost evenly split between men and women surprisingly). The author took to calling people digital natives (that had grown up in the landscape of videogames) and digital immigrants (people who might use email or buy something on the web but don’t live there and don’t speak the language). Most complaints coming from Congress and otherwise concerning video game violence are coming from digital immigrants and I agree with the author that a lot of us digital natives really don’t understand all the hubbub.

I’ve been killing Octorocks (along with at least 50 other Hyrulean species) for nigh on twenty years now and too long to consider that it made me a violent person. Of course, I have to take into consideration that I killed these beasts as a matter of defense and there was some art to it because I had to do it with a sword and/or bow and arrows. Kids today have all kinds of RPGs and automatic weapons. That wouldn’t be a fair assessment either since when I run into those same kids in Halo II they’re usually dead before they realize I was hiding in the elevator shaft with a sniper rifle. At rate, my only question is when I give all of this nonsense up in a neo-luddite huff, will that make me a digital refugee? And can I get government support for that?

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