Crime Trackers

Feb 21, 2013 12:52 AM by Lupita Murillo

Crime Trackers: Video Violence

TUCSON - Recent mass shootings have prompted President Obama to push Congress to fund research into causes of gun violence including potentially the role of entertainment media.

Research shows, kids can become desensitized from watching violence in the media. But what is it that flips the switch transforming a child from an observer to an active participant?

All questions the public is asking, what makes a mass murderer?

With offices in Moscow and New York Tucsonan Vince Desi produces video games that include all kinds of violence. Such as tasering, shooting, and even killing Osama Bin Laden. It's all part of his "Postal" series.

"I do believe as a developer that video games just like film and other forms of media that present violent content do contribute and influence to any individuals make up their thought process," he says.

University of Arizona professors and researchers Dale Kunkel and Ed Donnerstein helped draft a brief on this subject for the U.S Supreme court in 2011.

Kunkel says, "Human behavior is so complex that you really can't put your finger on one factor that causes anyone to do anything."

Donnerstein, who was once the Dean of the College of Social Behavior Sciences says, "Violence in the family, guns, genetic factors, drugs, gang behavior, witnessing violence in the family, being a victim of violence in the family."

The two researchers say exposure to media violence does play a role in triggering aggressive behavior.

Kunkel says, "When he or she feels justified then they will aggress violently against others."

However, playing violent video games or watching violent movies alone aren't triggers.
Vince Desi says, "You have 150 million people playing games in our country if that was the case and you had a direct correlation you'd have bodies in the streets all day long."

So what's the solution?

Kunkel says, "We're trying to get government to take what steps it can to reduce children's exposure to these risk factors and at the same time try to protect societal freedoms."

Video developer Vince Desi says parents need to take a more active role in their children's lives.

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