The age old debate – Violent games and kids

Nov 23, 2008 | Tech News

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The New York Times posted a really impactful video and slideshow that shows high resolution footage of kids from the US and UK playing violent videogames.



“…created by Robbie Cooper, a British photographer who employed a Red camera — a very-high-resolution video camera — and then took stills from the footage. Cooper, who says he was inspired by the camera technique that Errol Morris used to interview people in his documentaries, arranged his equipment so that the players were actually looking at a reflection of the game on a small pane of glass. He placed the camera behind the reflection so that it could look directly into their faces as they played. Cooper and his collaborators, Andrew Wiggins and Charly Smith, videotaped children in England and in New York.”

I found the footage fascinating and wanted to share with our readers.



The expressions range from motionless, to intense concentration to actual tears in one child. I don’t have children but I’ve always thought it must be a real challenge for parents to figure out where to draw the line in terms of the kinds of games and web content that they condone or restrict. As a child I would play blocky pixellated yet still immersive shoot-em-ups and never really felt the urge to go on a murderous rampage. In fact if anything computer gaming got me interested in programming and pushed me to learn more and more about computers and how things worked. On the other hand I feel as though I had a loving, supportive family who taught me right from wrong and games were just seen as play. For kids who don’t have that moral compass in their lives I wonder whether games like the infamous GTA IV from Rockstar Games really do have a negative impact or lead to a skewed perspective on reality. There’s plenty of studies out there that argue the pro’s and con’s but at the end of the day it seems like a decision that parents will always have to make a judgement call for themselves and decide how they’ll *attempt* to enforce.

The Daily Telegraph features a quote from Cooper that seems to echo my thinking, “Cooper – who at 39 is part of the generation that grew up with videogames, and still plays them himself – is keen to approach his subject with an open mind. ‘It seems possible,’ he says, ‘that there’s a link between violent games and social aggression, bullying or exclusion; but whether the violent game is the biggest factor in that, it’s hard to say. I think a lot of what has been said so far about the effect of media violence on children doesn’t take into consideration the psychological make-up of individual kids, and how big an impact the different types of media violence have on different children.'”

If you’re looking for a more mellow alternative to stabbing random strangers in the streets of New York this Thanksgiving you might want to consider a truly beautiful audio visual treat that recently launched named Auditorium.

Somewhat similar in concept to one of the more popular iphone appstore games ‘Enigmo‘, Auditorium is a web based music puzzle game that involves bending light particles with space modifiers to fill audio containers that fade in portions of an orchestrated soundtrack. It’s pretty intuitive and I suspect that one or two of you may kill a few hours in tryptophan haze trying to beat the progressively more difficult levels.

Visit http://playauditorium to try it for yourself.

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