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“Internet cafes asked to impose curfew on minors.”

This is the latest attempt to strictly regulate the gaming phenomenon in the Philippines. A Waray Representative Florencio “Bem” Noel proposed that minors and students should be allowed to stay in Internet cafes until 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. only. Most schools in the Philippines allow their students to leave the campus by 5:00pm, consider the line one will face waiting for a terminal in an internet cafe, a student-gamer will most likely be able to play by 7:00pm or 8:00pm in the evening.

He also expressed alarm that most of the Internet games being offered by the operators were violent and had no educational value.

“What positive values could we get from games whose main objective is to invade a territory, destroy a military base, and fight-off zombies with blazing guns and tanks?” he said.

“Soon we will be producing adults who are war-freak and utak-pulbura [violent] who will approach their daily problems with the mindset of a warrior or a terminator,” he said.

According to him, majority of (online) games are violent and has no educational value. Well, I wonder if this isn’t educationalYou Play World of Warcraft? You’re Hired!, a guild master (or a leader) of a large guild of the popular online game World of Warcraft got hired by Yahoo! Inc. because of his leadership skills. Friendships, camaraderie, honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, these are the values a player can gain and learn by being in a gaming guild/clan/organization, these are evident on these popular guilds — Lost Order of Akalabeth, Holy Order of the Light, Legions of Aguila and Tribo Pinoy — to name a few.

That these games will produce adults who are war-freak and utak-pulbura (violent) who will approach their daily problems with the mindset of a warrior or a terminator? Let’s show some statistics here:

  • Violent crime, particularly among the young, has decreased dramatically since the early 1990s while video games have steadily increased in popularity and use.
  • Dr. Joanne Savage reviewed the research purporting to show negative effects of media violence on youth. She concluded that there is no causal link between media violence and violent crime. From her 2004 article, “Does Viewing Violent Media Really Cause Criminal Violence? A Methodological Review” that appeared in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior:
    • The question addressed here is not whether or not the effect is plausible, but whether the effect has been demonstrated convincingly in the scientific literature and the answer is ‘not so far.’ … At this point it must be said, however, that there is little evidence in favor of focusing on media violence as a means of remedying our violent crime problem. Certainly video games haven’t had any significant impact on real-world crime.
  • Many games with violent content and sold in the United States and some with far more violence are also sold in foreign markets. However, the incidence of violent crime in these non-U.S. markets is considerably lower than in the United States. This suggests that the cause of violent crime lies elsewhere.

And what does (the) science say about it? According to independent research findings:

Williams, D. & Skoric, M. “Internet Fantasy Violence: A Test of Aggression in an Online Games.” 2005.

Williams and Skoric set out to determine the effects, if any, of engaging in a violent massive multiplayer online role-playing game. They found that there was no effect on levels of aggressiveness or in belief and behaviors of the gamers.

They wrote, “Research on violent video games suggests that play leads to aggressive behavior. A longitudinal study of an online violent video game with a control group tested for changes in aggressive cognitions and behaviors. The findings did not support the assertion that a violent game will cause substantial increases in real-world aggression.” The results determined that, “…game play controlling for gender, age, and time one aggression scores – was not a significant predictor of aggressive cognitions. Compared to the control group, participants after the experiment were not statistically different in their normative beliefs on aggression than they were before playing the game.”

Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S., et al. “Playing With Fire: How Do Computer Games Influence the Player?” Commissioned by the Danish Government and published by the Unesco Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media. 2004.

In their review of the existing body of research commissioned by the Danish Ministry of Culture, the authors determined that the results of research into the effects of violent games have “often pointed in different directions.” The authors state: “…the studies that purport to show [a connection from violent games to violent behavior] have been exposed to serious and continuing criticism.

This criticism is primarily that it is an oversimplification to perceive computer games as a phenomenon that can be isolated from the player’s everyday life.” Further, the authors conclude that: “It is not possible to say anything conclusive about the potentially adverse effects of violent games. The empirical evidence is too limited and the criticism of the extant research too serious.We can say that the question of the extent to which computer games in general have an adverse effect on all or on many gamers is too broad for a specific answer.”

Vastag, B. “Does Video Game Violence Sow Aggression?” Journal of the American Medical Association. 2004.

In a summary of research, researcher, Brian Vastag, details the results of major studies and their findings. His conclusion is that:

  • Consensus is lacking on whether video games with violent content fuel aggressive behavior in children and adolescents…
  • If video games do increase violent tendencies outside the laboratory, the explosion of gaming over the past decade from $3.2 billion in sales in 1995 to $7 billion in 2003, according to industry figures would suggest a parallel trend in youth violence. Instead, youth violence has been decreasing.

Tremblay, R. “Physical Aggression During Early Childhood: Trajectories and Predictors.” Pediatrics. 2004.

Dr. Richard Tremblay, professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Psychology, Canada Research Chair in Child Development, and Director of the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development and widely considered one of the world’s leaders in aggression studies, has conducted research on thousands of subjects to determine that:

  • Most children have initiated the use of physical aggression during infancy, and most will learn to use alternatives in the following years before they enter primary school. Humans seem to learn to regulate the use of physical aggression during the preschool years. Those who do not appear to be at highest risk of serious violent behavior during adolescence and adulthood.
  • Results from the present study indicate that children at highest risk of not learning to regulate physical aggression in early childhood have mothers with a history of antisocial behavior during their school years, mothers who start childbearing early and who smoke during pregnancy; parents who have low income, and have serious problems living together.

There are more, just read: Games and Violence.

The problem lies not in playing games

I was preparing to write a short series of what gaming has done to the society and was thinking of where and how I will start it, I guess I don’t have to worry about it now.

Can we learn something from all types, kinds, and genre of games? Are there educational values from playing these games? What benefits can the society gain (especially the Philippines) from future adults who are regular gamers today? Is playing games at a legal age a sign of immaturity? And how can the problem of game-addiction be solved?

At this point, it is already obvious that the problem lies not in these games but in teaching these students to be responsible with their own lives. I was once in a similar state as these students of today, until I realized myself (because of online gaming) that my life is more important than gaming. You see? I learned the value of my life because of playing games.

Join the Video Gamer Voters Network (VGVN) and take a stand, protect your games!

Video Game Voters Network

Is a self-confessed bibliophile and technophile other than being an early adopter, an avid gamer, a geek, nerd, role-player, anime otaku, and trekker.

His first online project was in 1998 when he launched the unofficial website for Ansalon MUD and his own community forums Laibcoms.Community. By 2003 he created his work blog GM-Yukino which grew into gameshogun™, Snoworld™, and techmagus™.

His website is jcsesecuneta.com and 1way.faith. He also owns Clean Real Food, YourOnly.One, Adorable & Beautiful, and other online properties.

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Gamers Will Soon Become War-Freak Adults
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Gamers Will Soon Become War-Freak Adults
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"Soon we will be producing adults who are war-freak and utak-pulbura," said a representative. The latest attempt to control the gaming industry.
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