DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Video games, Violence, and Children Annotated Bibliography

Bushman, Brad J. "Get Psyched! Do Violent Video Games Increase Aggression?” Psychology Today, 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 21 Jan. 2013

            In this judicious Psychology Today article on videogame violence, Brad Bushman, a psychology professor and violent media researcher, claims that violent video games have a significant effect on the aggression levels of children. By following psychological and logical reasoning, Bushman analyzes how exactly violent video games increase and encourage aggressive behavior. He discusses the psychological concepts of active learning, identification, and behavioral conditioning in order to show that violent video games increase violent behavior. For example, players are often awarded with extra points for scoring headshots or extremely violent kills in certain video games, and Bushman believes that this encouraged violent behavior may be trickling over into other aspects of children’s lives. Bushman hopes that by making his audience aware of the fact that violent games actually affect kids, his audience will better regulate or at least be knowledgeable of the issue so that better decisions can be made. Bushman’s primary audiences are those who peruse psychological information and parents who wish to be informed on the effects of violent media.

The reader may certainly have questions about the source; I definitely did. First off, Bushman cites studies but he doesn’t explain how they were conducted. He leaves them vaguely described. People who don’t fully understand psychology may not understand his point as well. The article was certainly biased towards the belief of “video games are bad”, but he isn’t hateful or uneducated about it. He just doesn’t leave any room for debate. This source will be useful because it is a good representation of the argument that videogame violence is a problem. It cites scientific causes however, not bogus claims. I can use this source in my conversational piece in order to form a logical and scientific argument for the side believing video games cause aggression

Cooper, Roanna, and Marc Zimmerman. "Do Video Games Influence Violent Behavior?" Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center. Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center, Autumn 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2013

            In this Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center blog post, Roanna Cooper, MA, and Marc Zimmerman, PhD, urge that both sides to the violent video games issue have merit, a deeper examination of the issue from different viewpoints is required in order to develop effective solutions to the problem. Cooper and Zimmerman develop their claim by first establishing the credibility of both sides of the argument. They vividly describe several studies conducted to examine the effects of media violence on children and they also justify the statements of those who argue against the banning of violent video games to minors. They establish credibility on both sides of the argument in order to show that there is no simple solution to this issue. One does not simply selectively ban an art form based on claims that it negatively impacts children. Cooper’s and Zimmerman’s intended audience are those who seek information on the effects of violent media on children, such as concerned parents, and those who believe there is one simple solution to the problem.

            The only question that I feel could be asked about the source is that if the two widely proposed solutions to the issue, banning the sale of violent video games to minors and doing nothing, don’t work, then what is a good solution? The authors do an excellent job of showing that the two extreme won’t work. They don’t, however, describe an alternative, they simply state that one is needed. This source will be useful in my conversation paper because it talks about the validity of both points of view. It will serve as a good middle ground to the issue. It will also help me establish that there is, without a doubt, some relation between violent media and violent behavior in youth.

Ferguson, Christopher J., Claudia San Miguel, Adolfo Garza, and Jessica M. Jerabeck. “A Longitudinal Test of Video Game Violence Influences on Dating and Aggression: A 3-year Longitudinal Study of Adolescents.” Journal of Psychiatric Research 46(2) (2012): 141-46. Print.

In this longitudinal study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, Christopher Ferguson, an assistant professor at Texas A&M International University, and others explore the alleged effects of videogame violence on several age demographics. Ferguson exposed 165 children to violent video games over a three year period and, at intervals throughout the experiment, evaluated them in several fields such as aggression, dating violence, depression, family issues, antisocial tendencies, and delinquency. Ferguson conducted this study in order to determine if video game violence negatively affects not only aggression levels, but other aspects of children’s lives. Ferguson concludes that there is no reliable connection between exposure to videogame violence and any of the tested negative areas. Ferguson’s intended audiences are a mixture of academic colleagues and people interested in the issue.

There is primarily one question that readers may have regarding this study. All but one of the tested children were Hispanic. This may not have any effect on the results but the racial demographic of children may have something to do with aggression levels. This source will be helpful in answering my research question. The results of the study clearly state that violent video games have no negative effects on children. The study used highly validated means of evaluation and it was conducted without error. Ferguson used scientifically approved evaluation forms used for Psychological research and he reported no errors over the course of the experiment. This study will be of use in my argumentation paper because it provides validated claims that video games are not to blame for youth aggression.

Ferguson, Christopher J. "Sandy Hook Shooting: Video Games Blamed, Again." Ideas Sandy Hook Shooting Video Games Blamed Again Comments. Time Inc., 20 Dec. 2012. Web. 14 Jan. 2013.

In this Time Ideas article, Christopher Ferguson, a video game violence researcher, argues that violence in video games has no influence on the occurrence of mass homicides or any form of violence in youth. Through citing scientific studies and past events, Ferguson dismisses the claims that violence in video games causes violent and aggressive behavior. Ferguson utilizes results published from The Journal of Youth and Adolescence and results from past homicidal investigations in order to clear up issues surrounding one of the suspected causes of the Sandy Hooks Elementary Shooting, violence in media. Ferguson essentially analyzed the claims against video games and explained why they were incorrect or misleading. Ferguson’s reasoning on the Sandy Hooks Elementary Shooting is aimed at those curious about the causes of the recent tragedy in Connecticut. He seeks to eliminate a common scapegoat while directing attention to more likely causes of the shooting, such as lax gun control and mental health issues.

There is much dispute about whether there is a correlation between violent media and heightened aggression. Many argue that there is proven correlation but not proven cause. Ferguson’s claim that there is no correlation between the two issues whatsoever is certainly questionable. Ferguson may be biased in videogame’s favor, but he does cite good examples, such as U.S Secret Service finds that claim that people who commit violent acts are exposed to no more violent media than their victims, meaning that violent individuals and nonviolent individuals consume the same amount of violent media, and there for the media violence isn’t a factor in their aggressive actions. This source is useful in that it embodies the argument against violent video games causing violence. It addresses the issue, and offers alternative causes to violent outbursts. I can use this in order to sum up the pro video games side of the issue, and I can use his segment on Secret Service findings to go about determining a more likely cause.

McGraw, Phillip C. "Children and Violent Video Games." Dr. Phil.com. Peteski Productions, Inc, n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.

            In one of his recent Advice articles, America’s own Dr. Phil argues that video games do indeed have negative effects on children. Dr. Phil develops his argument by examining violent video games’ effects on young children, specifically morality (and its consequences) and empathy, as well as examining information pulled from the American Psychological Association. For example, Dr. Phil points out that shooting people in games rewards you with extra points, not jail time. Dr. Phil brings these issues to light in order to inform parents of the risks that violent video games pose to their children. Dr. Phil directs his rhetoric and diction specifically towards parents that want to have the best for their children, providing an “advice for parents” section at the end.

            The readers may question the studies that Dr. Phil cites in his article. The studies were conducted by the American Psychological Association, but there were no details given about what went on with the study. There were no specific results cited, and the validity of the studies is certainly up for debate. This source will be useful in answering my research question because it claims that video games do have an effect on children, and there are other sources that claim the opposite. This will help form a valid argument for both sides, and it will force me to look deeply into the issue to find an answer. It will also help me reinforce the points in the conversation paper, as I have a scholarly study for one side and America’s favorite doctor on the other.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.