Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing of Youth

October 12, 2010 -

Following a recent rash of violent crime, the district attorney for the Massachusetts county of Middlesex is attempting to pin at least some of the blame on violent videogames.

District Attorney Gerry Leone, when asked about the recent transgressions, stated that “None of this surprises me,” adding, “I find young people have a more cavalier attitude toward crime than they've ever had.”

Continuing, Leone stated that today’s youth are “not really drawing the boundaries between a bad choice and a really seriously bad choice.” Why? “I attribute that to the numbing of our young people,” answered Leone.

Speaking to the Metro Daily News, Leone pointed to many factors for the desensitization (or numbing) of youth, including texting and social media, which he referred to as “impersonal” means of communicating that lead to detachment, and the prevalence of gang culture in society.

The “popularity of violent, military video games worries him,” as well. Leone said about violent games, “Think of all the things you could be spending your time on," instead of playing games that have “blood going all over the place.”


Comments

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

The causes of crime rates increasing or decreasing usually is a very complex, with many different social variables. And yet, people attempt to give the most simplistic answers, usually just some sort of baseless assumption.

 

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

Interesting, if you take MA as a whole:

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/macrime.htm

You'l note that property crime in the area is significantly lower than it was in 1970-80, when the current generation of 35-45 year olds were teenagers. Robbery has dropped by about a third, burglary has plummeted, as has larceny and vehicle crime... Most of the others have remained at the same level as 1980 despite the population almost doubling, which makes them statistically reduced by about 50%. In fact the doubling of population also doubles the impact of the huge drops as well.

In fact, probably the most dangerous time to live in MA was when the current generation of lawmakers were teenagers...

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

This guy is an idiot who doesn't have an awsner to why he and the police dept. aren't doing their jobs effectively so he makes up a scapegoat. Hitler had the jews, this guy has videogames and other social media. (Godwin'd? )

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

I have to disagree with this guy's stance. First of all, he is making the assumption that increased use of texting and social media lead to decreased face-to-face communication. While I don't deny that this could be an issue, I don't think it is the case. In my experience, at least, the opposite is true.

What he is saying about violent entertainment is really nothing new, along the lines of 'I don't see the appeal' and 'we can live without it'. Which is fine, but is just a matter of personal taste.

Never mind that placing blame on technology and media for complex social issues (in spite of what the research and statistics say) firmly sets you out as a monument to a vast generational divide.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

Following a recent rash of violent crime, the district attorney for the Massachusetts county of Middlesex is attempting to pin at least some of the blame on violent videogames.

First, can we really take this seriously from a county called Middlesex? (Apologies to anyone living there, except this bozo of course.)

District Attorney Gerry Leone, when asked about the recent transgressions, stated that “None of this surprises me,” adding, “I find young people have a more cavalier attitude toward crime than they've ever had.”

Considering that jobless and poverty is on the rise? That and our out of touch politicians would rather throw blame on media to create a nanny state then actually fix the problems at hand.

Continuing, Leone stated that today’s youth are “not really drawing the boundaries between a bad choice and a really seriously bad choice.” Why? “I attribute that to the numbing of our young people,” answered Leone.

Well between alcohol and video games, which is a safer choice? And with the world going to hell and nobody listening to reason, why are we surprised we choose to numb ourselves?

Speaking to the Metro Daily News, Leone pointed to many factors for the desensitization (or numbing) of youth, including texting and social media, which he referred to as “impersonal” means of communicating that lead to detachment, and the prevalence of gang culture in society.

No, social sites like Facebook and Gamepolitics and Slashdot and texting actually ALLOW people to express their options and dreams. It's idiots like you who want to control and smother those dreams.

The “popularity of violent, military video games worries him,” as well. Leone said about violent games, “Think of all the things you could be spending your time on," instead of playing games that have “blood going all over the place.”

What we choose to do on OUR free time is none of your business.

-------

Veni, vidi, vici, I came, I saw, I conquered.

-------

"WARNING GUARANTEE: This post contains material which a truly free society would neither fear nor suppress."

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

Someone show him the chart that says that violence has gone down. The one that IIRC was done by the FBI or something.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

haha, i had the same reaction.  One post below yours.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

To be honest, I understand and even agree on this one. Usually, I go on some kind of rant about how such-and-such politician doesn't have a clue, or is just playing their typical political game/etc. But not this time.

Though I do disagree that media has really anything to do with any rash of crime anywhere, I definitely DO see a kind of numbing and disconnect in the younger generation, the kids who don't know a world without high-speed internet and cellphones with just about every bell and whistle that can possibly be crammed into them. Many of them are enjoying the power of such technology, but have learned little to no appreciation for responsibility with it, for not going overboard in using it. I've lost track of how many times I've seen a pair of kids sitting across from each other at a restaurant or something who are texting other people. What the fuck man? Don't people actually SPEAK to one another any more?

Granted, a lot of my communciation lately is through the internet, but the reason I do so is mainly to reach people I wouldn't be able to otherwise, like folks who live England or Norway. The kids I see texting incessantly (which costs a god damn fortune, apparently) are usually doing so with someone who lives less than five block away.

And this is to say nothing of the whole sexting thing, which, in my experience, is one of the few things the news outlets haven't been exaggerating on: From where I stand, it really is a problem, and I attribute that to kids not learning responsibility with the technology that to me is all-too-easily handed to them. Sure, kids have been exchanging naked pictures of each other since taking pictures was even possible, but the prevalence of cellphones and the popularity of the internet (as well as a lack of morals on the parts of some) have made that a potentially dangerous habit. Seriously, I've seen kids as young as 9 in the possession of cellphones. Why do they need a cellphone? They're too young for there to be a situation where there isn't an adult around at any point in their typical day. There's no reason for it. Their friends don't live hundreds of miles away.

And of course, parents are, as usual, greatly to blame as well. They're the ones supposed to be teaching their kids responsibility with things after all, and setting boundaries, and quite frankly I'm not seeing enough of that going on these days. Not where I live. Kids around here do whatever the hell they want, and no one does or says anything until the cops have to get involved. And when that happens, all of a sudden everyone "tried everything they could, but it just wasn't working". Bullshit. Your kid was running around with his friends vandalizing people's property because you were too busy banging twenty different dudes a week.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

Your response is kind of funny, I'm guess you are well into your thirties or older, you definitely seem out of touch and as if you don't understand the new communications paradigm that is developing in this country and aroudn the world.

So many of the older generation see these technologies as "impersonal" and think that kids are getting "disconnected" when in reality just the opposite is true. These new technologies are allowing kids to socialize and connect far more than ever before. I work with a 17 year old high school student, he is getting and recieving texts all day, he still talks on the phone to his friends and still hangs out with them after school and on weekends. He is able to communicate MORE with his freinds through the texts whereas otherwise he would be unable to.

People fear that which they don't understand but as history shows us these new communications technologies are generally always beneficial to society.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

*sighs*

Can someone ever have a different opinion on here than the majority when it comes to an issue like this and NOT be accused of being "out of touch"? Seriously? I see it happen way too often. I understand with politicians who think that an Xbox 360 controller is outdated, or ramble on about points in games, but c'mon.

A few corrections for you:

1) I have no fear of new technology, I'm concerned about what I see people do with it. I'd say that's pretty reasonable.

2) I have never even remotely implied, nor will I ever, that what I witness represents any kind of majority. I've simply spoken on it, and everyone is free to make of it what they will.

3) I don't really have a point to make in the first place. Not in this case at least.

4) I'm 26. And even if I was 16, or 36, my opinion would be the same. Although if I was 16, knowing me, I wouldn't know about this site.

And lastly, I understand fully that technology has helped people connect more. I have been using the internet for some time, after all, and have learned to appreciate its abilities. The same goes for cellphones. Texting, I have no personal experience with, but I've seen the good it can do too. It isn't all bad, and I know this. But I do still see bad things, and they will always concern me.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

Wait, so kids were better in the "good old days, were kids were allowed to do what they wanted with out supervision and crime rates were higher" than "kids these days are more disconnected from reality, have constant supervision and crime is lower"  ???

 

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

I wasn't implying that. I was simply commenting on how I see things in my area. And yes, to an extent, it has gotten slightly worse in my neck of the woods. I mostly blame parents for that though.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

I don't know.  I kind of have to disagree with you here.  That kids are different today is true.  Kids of every generation are different in many ways than the generations before them.  These higher perceived crimes rates or delinquency I think just comes with getting older.  To criticize kids for texting and what not... I'm sure that a lot of the same criticisms were made by our elders when the telephone, tv, etc were invented. 

The fact that you don't include games (as much) in the delinquency of youth is just because you participate in it.  I guess you don't text a lot... so I would argue that this is the same line of thinking of people who don't play games and criticize them.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

I don't text at all, because I have no reason to. And I don't see texting itself necessarily as a problem. The problem I see is, like I said, when you have a pair of young people on a date, who spend the whole time on their phones texting away, without ever saying more than two words to each other. I think that's a lot greater of a difference than when people started using phones to communicate a lot more often.

It's all about the mentality, the approach to life that I see a lot of kids embracing that I just don't see as healthy. And I don't blame the technology entirely for it either. Anything can be taken to excess.

And I don't blame games much because I see a lot more interaction within them then I do those kids who text each other so incessantly.

Don't get me wrong, every generation comes with unhealthy habits, often brought about by a whole new era of communication technology. I just think the current state has taken it to a whole new level that we should all be mindful of.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

"you have a pair of young people on a date, who spend the whole time on their phones texting away, without ever saying more than two words to each other"

The only problem is that this is an imaginary scenario that statistically does not happen. There may be one or two anectodal stories like that but they are statistically irrelevant. Again, I'm sure I'll be the way as I age, but culture and tech passes us by and we don't understand the new modalities. Then we react in fear and mistrust of that which we don't understand. Try and use data points, not the generalities that you are using if you want to make real points.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

With respect, I have to disagree.  First there is no data to base these kinds of speculations on (and they are just speculations), and second they tend to fall into the general pattern of "kids today...they just don't have respect and values like we did when we were kids"...nonsense, you (meaning anyone) is just selectively glorifying memories of a past which never existed.

The data on the other hand are clear...youth violence is at a 40-year low.  Not high, low.  The lowest since the 1960s.  By contrast, youth involvement in civic behavior and volunteering is at a highpoint (since people have tracked such behavior, which really only started in the 80s). 

Taken together I think comments that youth today are "numb" are in diametrical opposition to the facts.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

I wasn't implying that any crime, let alone violent, was on the rise at all, let alone being caused by something I've personally observed.

And I freely admit that things weren't much better when I was a kid either. But there are some differences, namely that when kids wanted to hang out with their friends before, they actually physically interacted with their friends. Where I live, I don't see that happen much any more. All the kids are plugged into something.

I don't know for a fact that there's any kind of psychological damage being done by such a prevalent method of doing things, but it's very hard for me to picture it as healthy.

And these are just things I've personally observed and built on opinion about. And I know that the situation is different elsewhere in the world, particularly in states/countries that aren't very "wired".

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

Kind of hard to hang out with friends when places to hang out are fewer and fewer and people always assume more than two people of certai nage in a group are always up to no good.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

I know, and believe me, I see that as a major problem too. A lot of adults just simply aren't willing to give youths the benefit of the doubt, under any circumstances, and that disheartens me greatly, because with as many hooligans as I see, there are just as many kids who DON'T spend every weekend getting hammered and vandalizing others' property.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

But I think that in and of itself plays to the belief that being involved in video games or being on-line, can't be social.  Some of the Pew Research Foundation's work on this has found this belief to be false...gaming and going on-line are highly social activities.

I think part of the issue of kids hanging out less outside (the availability of much better TV and video games than in my day is probably one factor I do admit), is also related to children simply being prevented from doing so.

On one hand increased suburban sprawl (good tune by Arcade Fire, by the way), has limited the kind of physical spaces children can interract in.  Kids can't just ride bides on suburban streets the way they did, cuz they could get hit by a car, given automobile traffic has vastly increased.  Yard spaces for new developments have also shrunk so that "go play in the yard" is kind of a waste of time on a 5000 square foot plot with a 2500 square foot house.

Any many parents don't let children wander far afield anymore out of fear of "predators" who will snatch their child.  This fear is largely unfounded (sexual victimization of children has gone down, not up), but I remember in my day at age 6-7 I could ride my bike down several streets to a friend's house and go play in the woods nearby with minimal supervision.  That's much more unlikely today in an atmosphere of parental hypervigilance (I'm not saying such hypervigilance is necessarily bad...hey it could be why there are fewer child victimizations...I'm just saying it does limit children's opportunities for socialization to some degree).

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

Very valid point, and I do agree. It's just that in my area, that's not quite the problem. But it is in many parts of the country, and I acknowledge that.

And I don't like it either. Much as I believe in being mindful over ones children, it does get taken overboard a lot in society in general, and it definitely is a driving force behind many kids in various parts of the country trying to "break free" through the internet and cellphones. And I see that leading them into danger as well, which only serves to excacerbate the situation, because then parents go "See! That's what I was trying to avoid!" and get even more over-bearing.

It's all about balance, and achieving it is certainly easier said than done. I know I'm not good at it. It's just easier for me to accept that because I'm not a kid, and don't have any to worry about, I suppose.

Re: Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing ...

Fitting image giving the exact same things have been said about rock music.

 
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