Australian Advocate: Violent Games Will Turn Troubled Kids into "Lethal Killers"

March 27, 2008 -
The national spokeswoman for the Australian Family Association told ABC.net that violent video games can make existing mental health problems worse in teenagers - much worse.

Angela Conway said:
If there are problems with that young person already, then this technology will turn them into a lethal killer.

Conway's comments came as Australian officials gather in Adelaide to discuss adding a new R18+ rating for games. Currently, games with content exceeding the MA15+ level are banned in Australia. 

The Melbourne Herald-Sun has more on the current political debate over games Down Under.

Comments

[...] fascists are at it in Oz tooalas. [...]

If there are problems with that young person already, an off-colored peanut could make them snap.

"If there are problems with that young person already, then this technology will turn them into a lethal killer."

What an idiot. Disregarding the fact that killers are lethal by definition, there is no conceivable way that the video games they are talking about can make anyone more efficient, or more skilled at real life combat. I've played every violent game out there, but I've learned more about how to load or fire a gun from movies/novels than games.

It is nice for the alarmists that they don't seem to need any proof, all they need is to be as shrill and sensationalist as possible to get their opinion out there.

I always thought that it was a formula of disturbed person+access to gun=gun tragedy. Even though a potential shooter may be going over the edge, even saying that it was finally the images of video games that drove him over, if the government did it's job limiting the weapon access to public...shootings wouldn't really take place, would it?

Good to see people still blither on in this vein despite the fact there is no evidence to back up their idiocy.

Another 'expert' being interviewed by the media. I still don't understand what children have to do with a discussion over a 18+ rating.

Well the early word has been in all the papers that we wont be seeing an 18+ rating in Australia any time in the near future. For the classification to be added the Attorney Generals of all of the states have to unanimously agree and the South Australian AG has apparently announced that he will never agree to an 18+ rating for games.

I don't think stuff like this helps the case at all either, those against it will just argue that all violent games should be banned.

Ignorant.

Plain F*cking Ignorant. JT worshipping B!tch.

The interesting thing is that unlike the US there isn't really a stigma attached to our extreme ratings. R18+ movies are regularly shown at the cinema compared to NC-17 and it doesn't even impact on sales much. The OFLC system is also used to rate games, and in all honesty the ratings are hard to argue with; the majority of the time the rating of any given game is bang on the money. Added to this is it is legally enforceable, preventing kids from buying MA15+ games without their parents present. For all intents and purposes, it's an example of a ratings system done right.

Due to the fact that the R18+ rating prevents sale/rental of the movies to kids even WITH parents present, there is no reason to disallow the rating. Hell it might even discourage piracy!

Please, do it for the adults :(

Jason Hill started a poll on tuesday for The Age blog Screen Play. Since then (and last time I checked) it had reached 180 comments of which about half of them were from (I suspect) non-gamers.

Luckily there's been plenty of gamers arguing back and its now at 52% in favor of an R18 classification.

@ cabbageman213

We had stringent gun laws put in place by John Howard and a gun buyback scheme in 1996 about one year after Martin Bryant pulled off the Port Arthur Massacre so access to guns isn't much of an issue here.

Furthermore we've learnt from overseas events such as Columbine too, after that took place teachers were encouraged to actively identify troubled kids and send them to counselling.

After Virginia Tech these laws were subsequently reviewed. Since then there's been calls to toughen laws regarding semi-automatic handgun ownership. The biggest fear among universities and schools nowadays is that a complete stranger will come in from outside and start shooting.

There has been a bit of a decline in our mental health services though.

In general the only way of possibly getting an R rating for games would be to either:

a) Make Micheal Atkinson leave parliament with a boot mark on his suit courtesy of Premier Mike Wran.

b) Wait for Micheal Atkinson to retire although thats risky since the political landscape amongst the other states might change as well.

c) If the opposition supports an R rating then get the current government booted and make the new attorney general hold up their end of the bargain when the attorney generals meet next.

We really do need an australian version of the ECA immediately.

Well, if if this asshole really wants to get into it, then fine. Someone who's unstable could be set of by just about anything. Including movies, TV shows, the local news, an argument, even just some kind of gesture.

It's a matter of if they are getting help, and if and when will they break?

But, as for the notion that they amplify mental health issues, is completely bullshit. And I'm willing to bet any respectable psychologist will admit to it. There could be some sort of mental aggravation, sure, but again, that could come from anything. But it wouldn't make someone who is, say manic-depressive, even MORE manic-depressive. That's not how it works.

I have a dream that one day facts will be necessary to make such outrageous claims

Angela Conway = Severe lacking of higher cranial functioning.

with a quote as broad as "If there are problems with that young person already, then this technology will turn them into a lethal killer."

In a day where it's harder to find a "normal, untroubled" child than it is to find decent government, it's things like this that make me realize that we as a society are boned.

I wonder what they are baseing these facts on.

note that these kids are already troubled and if you give them anything that can stimulate anger and frustration in thier enviornment they of course can have a hostile reaction. saying video games will cause this sort of thing is just ignorance because anything can set an already troubled individual off. an angry person who is quick to make rash decisions will make those decisions regardless of thier past time activites.

Oh NO! Not LETHAL killers!!

At least she only singled out already troubled people and not all gamers, but still - technology turning people into lethal killers? Sounds a ittle sci-fi to me. I prefer to think people choose their actions.

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

Thats the best thing about Australia, we have lethal and NON lethal killers! Its all about choice...

I do appreciate the idea that it might exacerbate an already existing condition but there's no logical reason to assume games/tech will be the ONLY catalytic agent in a psychopathic rampage. A psychotic sleeper will be triggered just as readily by a book, a noise, a person, a TV show, a pattern of light... Oh well, at least its harder to get guns here now (Who ever thought howard would do ANYTHING sensible? Probably just wanted to avoid being assassinated).

If only I could pretend that I actually cared about children, I'd run for politics based purely on the platform that we need an 18+ to keep games like this AWAY from children.

Since the OFLC is a national organisation I am wondering why the state attorney generals have a say in it at all

"If there are problems with that young person already, then this technology will turn them into a lethal killer."

Well if this is true I should be a mass murderer by now, (sarcastic) awesome. Alas so hard to convey sarcasim in a single type font.


@ Shoehorn

If they go on vidja games being trainers, maybe they should check my average acuarcy on FPS, they're normally less then 15%, though my accuarcy in reality is much much higher.

@ DCOW

There's a competant government in the world?!


@ jeffy

Bring on the cyborbs!

@ Blackwell

Excellent summary of the Aus. situtation at present. It's so easy to forget that we live in such a genuinely lucky country. Gun control FTW! The whole Aussie chapter of the ECA - Seconded. I'll attend if it's in Sydney. ;)

"If someone has a severe mental deficiency informing their speech, broadcast communication technology will cause them to infect anyone exposed to their ravings with a similar mental deficiency."

See? I can do it too, Angela! Oddly enough, though, while I've got just as much science behind my claim (read: ZERO), I'm fairly certain I have even more empirical evidence to support it than yours. Funny how that works, eh?

For the love of bytes, someone PLEASE take her to task for that GROSSLY irresponsible statement.

@Ebonheart
“If there are problems with that young person already, then this technology will turn them into a lethal killer.”

Well if this is true I should be a mass murderer by now


Same here mate, maybe we should go through our virtual (but still 100%valid) qualifications & where we got them:

Here's a very short list of my qualifications:
Tough International Spy: Splinter Cell series, In Cold Blood
Submarine Commander: Silent Hunter 3, Red Storm Rising
Interstellar Trade Mogul: Elite, X series, Starflight series
Martial Artist / Ninja: Tenchu series, Shinobi, International Karate +, Jade Empire
Soldier / Spec Op: Operation Flashpoint, Halo series, Full Spectrum Warrior series, Rainbow 6 series, Ghost Recon series, Practically every FPS made
Jedi: 75% of Star Wars Games
Criminal: Grand Theft Auto series, Mafia
God: Populous series
Pilot: IL2 Suromovik series, Xwing series
Battlefield Commander: Dawn Of War series, Total War series, C&C series, Star Trek Starfleet Command 3
Sex Haver: Mass Effect, GTA San Andreas

I'm half tempted to apply for a few jobs with all that on my CV, just to prove the "games don't teach you how to do things" point.

Why must they insist? Why? There's no scientific proof at all. In fact, there's scientific proof of the opposite.

@Ebonheart

at least there was...... (see Jean Chretian)

There's a big disconnect in that statement.. For one, mentally ill people with murderous fantasies usually seek out ways to enact their sick desires. They take the otherwise harmless practice of playing a videogame and turn it into some sick ritual of lavishing in murder, enjoying the game in a way not intended by the creators. The same goes for movies, where they will watch a particular movie over and over just for the gory death scenes.

Nearly every killer who has also happened to play videogames, had a long list of violent material that they obsessed over. They were psychotic before finding the games, movies, and music, but since those things were there, they often become the scapegoats.

If you were to watch a psychotic murderer play a game like GTA, and a normal gamer, you'd see the difference instantly. The Normal gamer would probably do a few missions, slump back in their seat and just play. The Murderer on the other hand would probably be way to close to the screen, cackling maniacally at the countless digital people he was killing, getting a legitimate buzz off killing anything at all.

@ Aliasalpha

Aww, I'm not tough spy. But I am a James Bond clone apprently. But if games where a great trainers apprently I fail at business regulation. Nor a good city planner. Also whats a Non Lethal killer? ISn't that an oxymoron?

Sim City, 99% of Tycoon games (I rock Zoo Tycoon though, apprently animals are my thing. Hmm surprised though my zoo stilll hasn't been closed from the 500+ people I let my animals eat) Also on a galatic battle, I suck. Homeworld tought me that!

Anyways let's start a message board of something call it the "Mass Murders in training" or something, something with a nice good underlying sarcasim to it.

But the real point is, I am over the age of 18, so I should have the right to play any videogame that I want....

Also a person with a mental problem will do anything and everything that triggers him/her off, regardless if it is a videogame or something on TV or maybe a person shouting at them.

YOU CAN'T JUST SAY Videogames will turn them into Serial Killers all because it is your opinion.

allow others to have their opinions be heard too please...

Well that is what I would say to that spokeswoman...

What surprises me is what kind of games get the MA15+ rating. :)

Did you know that Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is MA15+ in Australia? Just as a comparison, its ESRB rating is M(17+) and its PEGI rating is 18+.
Hmm, how did they get that one past the inspection??

In response to recent camel spinal injuries, it is now illegal to place straws on a camel's back. After all, if they're already carrying something really really heavy, that might be too much. It is still legal to have them carry heavy objects though, as long as no straws are involved.

I agree. Virtual violence WILL make a crazy-person crazier. Because they don't know the difference between real and virtual violence.

The rest of us, however, do. So it doesn't make us violent.

i think shes right...to an extent. see, i have mental health problems. i play violent video games. a lot. ive never even attempted to kill or hurt anybody. it would have to be mental health problems of the more violent kind, or a problem in a person who was already violent (i know some people who have the same disorders i have, yet they are actually in a psyc unit because of their violence, which was already there, but was exacerbated by their problem). these violent video games would be the trigger, but not the underlying cause of the violence, in this case.

I should apply for proffessional sports I'm good at hockey and Madden, or perhaps I could run a franchise...

or perhaps prime minister Civilization and Europa Universalis made me goodat that

and an attorney, I went through the ace attorney series

now someone make a good shrink game so I can take this guy's job.

Crikey! Today we're going to study one of the most dangerous species in all of Australia, the teenage game-crazed LETHAL KILLAH! Easy now, these things are deadly! If you ever encounter one ah these things in the wild, you'd have about three seconds before he ripped yer heart out. You're all right, mate! This is one of the deadliest, most aggressive species on the planet, a real ornery buggah. What a beauty!

In part, I as well agree with her.

After doing my own research regarding many school shootings I've found that one of the biggest common factors is the possibility of existing mental issues.

In many of the FBI psychological reports on these individuals, the possibility of a pre-existing issue was incredibly high. These issues included Depression, Anxiety disorders and Bi-polar problems, among other issues.

I do think that if someone with pre-existing issues were to envelop themselves into violent or disturbing media, not just limited to games but also including music, movies, artwork and television shows, then it does seem likely that this individual may entertain thoughts that would go against the societal norm.

Of course access to weaponry also turns disturbed people into leathal killers, so I guess anything sharp needs to be outlawed so as to not incite anything.

Seriously though. Does this person have ANY qualifications to make this statement? Or is it just "Can it be soundbyte time naow?"

@ Azhrarn

Money.

*cough* I mean gov't oversight...

Everybody watch out. I am a lethal killer!

Angela and Jacko sitting in a tree...

Ug. Why must I share a country with monkeys like this woman? Can I say I'm Canadian? Do they have morons there?

Does she have any degrees in psychology, does she have any real experience working with the mentally disturbed?

My gut tells me: NO

@DCOW

Just call her retarded if that's what you mean. No need for moronic PC trash.

killers are lethal now? who knew...

The problem is that these INSANE BORN VIOLENT people get ILLEGAL guns to kill people cause they don't know any better and they chose not to do anything about it. They may also do it because they want to be famous and/or they have a grudge against someone that is so large that they want that person elminated. Restricting 1st or 2nd amendments (well here in the U.S. anyway) won't fix it because these killers are naturally insane (Media doesn't cause this, medical reasons do) and they get there guns illegally (Restricting the 2nd amendment will only make things worse).

How will preventing people accessing guns legally & comparatively simply make things worse? Is there statistical evidence that more than 50% of these people get guns from illegal sources, not including guns they stole from family/friends/neighbors who legally own them? Does it automatically provide them with black market connections to buy illegal firearms or is there an illegal firearms shop in every american town?

What is it about organisations with "family" in their names?

Most of them seem to use it as an excuse to mess about with your family's rights.

@Aliasalpha

I come under just as many of them as you do. But one thing, if the kids a head case, why the hell are they letting them play violent video games?! It's just asking for trouble. Or, in my theory, these people do it on purpose to try and get violent games banned. STOP USING THESE PEOPLE TO GET RID OF OUR GAMES! (or I could be losing the plot)

umm, ok? *cough* Soccer Mom *cough* Me personally, if the person's already messed-up in the head, a game doesn't make a person want to kill people in real life. All I see is another idiot who jumps onto the anti-video gaming bandwagon and spews out this shit about how games cause problems. No, bad parenting and over-zealous bullying (i.e. throwing stinkbombs at them, grouping up and beating them up because they can, spray-painting their home with random stuff) cause these kind of things, not video-games, STOP SCAPEGOATING YOUR PROBLEMS AWAY, IT DOESN'T TURN OUT VERY WELL!!!!

Censorship ministers at today's Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting in South Australia have agreed to canvas public opinion on the proposed introduction of an R18+ classification for games.

@ Ben Abraham

That makes a total of three people (until now it only consisted of me and one other person) any other australians here want to join up?

Once again "family" proves to be a label for babbling morons trying to shift responsibility. People who are gifted with common sense don't need to label themselves with "life", "family", "christian" or "conservative".

Would anyone believe the statement "violent video games can make existing mental health problems worse in teenagers" without either a serious study or without already assuming videogames are inherently harmful? I doubt it. Doesn't that assume what it's trying to prove?

That problem aside, what the hell kind of idiot would let a teenager with an existing mental health problem play violent videogames if these games are (supposedly) inherently harmful? That's where a parent or guardian is supposed to come in. Dont tell me parents are too busy to parent their precious little children.

Also, I'd like to see an example on a non-lethal killer...
 
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