web analytics
July 5, 2015 / 18 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Video Violence And The Slaughter Of Children

Front-Page-012513

Both of those are reasonable and important arguments.

And while they are being made, children continue to be slaughtered.

Ultimately, both arguments hinge on the claim that there is no causal relationship between violent video games and actual violence. For if there is such causation, the other arguments become moot. The First Amendment cannot be claimed as protection if the activity leads to murder.

In considering the question of the causality and influence of violent video games on actual acts of violence, and addressing the protests of the video game industry, it would serve us well to recall the many years that the tobacco industry protested the claimed effects their product had on people’s health, arguing that there was no “causal” relationship between smoking and lung cancer – or heart disease or any number of other health issues. Deflection, defense and the anecdotal evidence of a handful of individuals who smoked three packs a day and lived healthy lives well into their nineties should not have been allowed to pass for a sound argument. In the face of overwhelming circumstantial evidence, the tobacco industry resisted, insisting on – how ironic in the context of our current discussion – a “smoking gun.”

But what if there is no smoking gun? There certainly is ample anecdotal evidence to suggest a direct connection. Consider Mrs. Sherratt, an elementary school teacher in England, who notes that she has witnessed her class of four and five-year-olds in the playground, “throwing themselves out of the window of the play car in slow motion and acting out blood spurting from their bodies” to mimic scenes from violent games.

As a professional working with young children, she is well aware that children are often very physical in their play. “We all expect to see rough and tumble but I have seen little ones acting out quite graphic scenes in the playground and there is a lot more hitting, hurting, thumping in the classroom for no particular reason.”

While apologists will dismiss her observations, they have yet to counter the thoughtful argument presented by my son Nathan Safran. Rather than address the issue “head on,” Mr. Safran suggests a compelling example of how video games directly impact attitudes and behavior. He notes that the length and breadth of American military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has unwittingly provided clear evidence of the power of video games to affect players.

This extended military mission has resulted in an overwhelming incidence of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) in the military, forcing a new urgency on military psychologists seeking to find a way to address this debilitating condition.

One of the most promising methods the military is working with is virtual-reality treatments – a combination of video and audio programs that are designed to be immersive in order to most effectively counteract the violent experiences the soldiers experienced. This treatment appears to be very successful because it seems to rewire the brain.

In other words, when used as a treatment program for PTSD, the very same immersive experience that gamers enjoy is effective because it alters emotions and behaviors by rewiring the brain. We applaud the creativity and determination of the military psychologists. We also wonder how this experience changes behavior when it is used to treat PTSD but has no direct impact when the question is, Does it promote violent behavior?

Video games are unique in that they are immersive. Players “live” in them. They do not passively observe or listen to them, as is the case with music, television or the movies. The player decides what happens, making a conscious decision to “kill” a cop or innocent bystander on the street. The player decides to kill with his bare hands, with a baseball bat, or with a gun. In a game like Nintendo Wii’s Manhunt 2, the player can literally simulate the movements of cutting his victims’ throats with a piece of glass or suffocating them with a plastic bag.

Think how that makes you feel when you are simply reading it. Now imagine how it impacts the player himself as he experiences it. It has to be a disturbing image, particularly for parents.

* * * * *

I would ask parents who do not believe there is a link between violent video games and violent behavior and so intend to let their children continue to play to consider that, even in the absence of that “smoking gun” connection between violent video games and violent behavior, there is still the issue of “rewiring of the brain.”

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Video Violence And The Slaughter Of Children”

  1. Even though I do not practice my religion I admire and greatly appreciate and agree with Rabbi Safran insight and wisdom.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Future guard? Arab child with Hamas headband aims toy rifle on the Temple Mount after prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque.
CNN Promotes Old City on Verge of Extinction Due to ‘Political Tension’
Latest Indepth Stories
Obama was all smiles for Israel's Ambassador Oren when they met in the White House.

US Jews prefer to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends complaining about “settlements” and Bibi

New Israel Fund and the UN

New Israel Fund & its supporters must be countered; Israel’s in the midst of an unprecedented storm

An ISIS Gaza rocket launcher.

PM Netanyahu this week identified ISIS and Iran as Israel’s primary threat. It is a planetary threat that carries the promise of peace.

U.S. postage stamp honoring Haym Solomon.

Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Safran
Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

What makes a man dedicated to what is best, stray? What makes a leader, a rabbi, lose his way?

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

Peace/Shalom/Wholeness: A gift conferred; earned and received by God’s grace; His blessing.

Lag B’Omer became the “Scholar’s Festival” reminding all that derech eretz kadmah l’Torah-

The only way to become humble is honesty about our experiences; it’s the only path to true humility

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Jews cover the head not as ID but because wearing it makes concrete to ourselves our devotion to God

It’s easier to take Jews out of galus than to take galus out of Jews – Chassidic master

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/video-violence-and-the-slaughter-of-children/2013/01/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: