Volume 93, Issue 1

Friday, May 14, 1999


BOG to Senate: reconsider med school tuition freeze

Bus pass universally confusing

Jungle yearbook mauls council

Flag on the Play - Mustang football player penalized for roughing

Tory budget gets mixed reviews

London's latest stabbing has fatal consequences

Rumours threaten school safety

Sun rises on new Weldon Library

Kill your T.V.?


In the city

Kill your T.V.?

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

The recent rash of high school shootings has sparked much debate on the relation between video game violence and its effect on players.

"Observing violence and what happens when people view violent acts – people tend to be more apt to imitate it," said Paul Whitehead, a sociology professor at Western.

However, Whitehead said most studies which analyze the violent nature of popular video games and their connection to violent behaviour have been inconclusive. "Whether or not playing violent video games leads to the same behaviour – we just don't know."

Rose Dyson, chair of Canadians Concerned About Violence in Entertainment, disagreed with Whitehead on video game violence and said many studies prove otherwise. "The debate on research is over. The preliminary indicators are that video games are even more harmful because the person is even more immersed in the violence," she said.

Some students, however, have varying opinions on the influence of violent media and games on viewers.

Anou Chinchalkar, a third-year health sciences student, said he did not believe there was a connection between playing violent video games and violent behaviour. "I personally don't think so. I think it has more to do with how they are treated and how things are in their homes," he said.

David Walters, a PhD sociology student from McMaster University, disagreed and said many studies demonstrate a link. "The day after prize fights, it's been shown that homicide rates increase," he said.

Walters also said the incident of the killers committing suicide in the recent high school shooting in Littleton, Colorado illustrates the connection. "[The killers] blamed society for what happened. If they didn't, they wouldn't have killed themselves."

Still, video games continue to enjoy popularity, especially among children and teenagers, said Todd Jemunt, a sales associate at the Compucentre computer store at Masonville Place in London.

Jemunt said the violent video games in question are currently their best-sellers. "In terms of popularity, the first-person-shooter games sell better when compared to all the other games."

He added games which are violent or explicit in nature are labeled for content to provide consumers with information about the game. "It's kinda like movies. [The games] are marked 'M' for mature, 'T' for teenagers or 'E' for everyone," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999