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Teen Violence & Violent Video Games

Violent video games have come under attack in recent years because they have been associated with a corresponding increase in violence among the teens that play them. Following the 1999 Columbine shootings, at least seven states proposed bills restricting the sale of violent games. However, an equally strong contingent on the opposite side of the issue brought legal challenges to bear on every one of the bills (ôViolent Video Games Under Attackö). Clearly, there are two sides to this story.

Although violent video games have their defenders, the preponderance of evidence indicates that they do indeed promote teen violence. Author Evan Wright addresses the issue in his book Generation Kill, quoting a U.S. soldier who said that an ambush felt just like playing the game: ôIt felt like I was living it when I seen the flames coming out of windows, the blown-up car in the street, guys crawling around shooting at us,ö the soldier said (ôViolent Video Games Under Attackö).

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman is a leading expert on media violence and youth. He is co-author of Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill as well as being the Pulitzer-nominated author of On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Grossman is campaigning to limit childrenÆs access to violent video games and has compelling reasons to support his views. He explains that before the military used violent videos to train soldiers, their weapons were hardly ever fired, yet after they were trained with the videos their weapons were fired more often. Grossman compares violent videos to ôa killing simulatorö (Larsen). Even more disturbing is the study where a group of Boy Scouts who had never used a real pistol were allowed to demonstrate their proficiency with point-and-shoot video games before being given a 9mm pistol. "The ones who were experts with the point-and-shoot video games were stunningly better with the...

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