Deputy UK prime minister says GTA can have "corrosive" effect on behavior

Nick Clegg says games like Grand Theft Auto can have "incredibly powerful" and in some cases "corrosive" effect on player behavior.

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Deputy United Kingdom prime minister Nick Clegg believes games like Grand Theft Auto can have a "corrosive effect" on player behavior, the politician said on his LBC Radio show today (via The Guardian).

"Clearly these games can have an incredibly powerful, and I suspect in some cases corrosive effect, on someone's behavior, someone's outlook; they get shut off, they don't talk to other people, they just stay in their living room, their bedroom hunkered down in front of their computer." Clegg said. "They occupy a hermetically sealed world of their own and that can have a very detrimental effect."

His comments came just days after the Washington Navy Yard shooting in which 13 people were killed by a gunman who reportedly played violent games for hours on end.

Clegg did not say which research his comments were based on, though the link between violent games and violent behavior has been debated extensively.

"In a free country, what do you do? Do you start saying to people you can't use it for more than X number of hours? No you can't do that," Clegg said. "There are, of course, restrictions around content. But we cannot limit people's use of [video games], certainly not the amount of time they devote to this by law or by edict."

Clegg added that parents bear a "heavy responsibility" to make sure the games their children spend time with are age- and content-appropriate. He said this responsibility is especially challenging for some parents because games have evolved so rapidly of late.

Clegg also said that parents should try to ration their children's time spent playing games because "overuse" can be problematic.

Grand Theft Auto V was released Tuesday and generated a record-setting $800 million in 24 hours.

Discussion

714 comments
kalpesh_78
kalpesh_78

better in a video game than actual life i say. all politicians are morons.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

And we could say that politicians can have a "corrosive" effect in their countries too. The difference is that we have proof about it.

UKFX
UKFX

Idiot. Why not say the same about movies then?

There have been studies that show (recently too) that violent games have no effect on peoples behaviour, so he evidently just came out with some random bullshit to get more attention. Of course being the Deputy, he's the little guy haha.

People with mental health issues or those who are easily influenced for whatever reason are susceptible, depending on what mental issue they may suffer of course, but anybody who knows the different between right and wrong, and a game at that, knows that we shouldn't be shooting people, stealing cars and blowing shit up.

Ridiculous comment from a ridiculous man.


sirchick
sirchick

I await a credited scientific paper on this not a middled aged politician who knows nothing about psychology and neuro science.

Only then will i even remotely listen this subject.

Payton Liu
Payton Liu

Lacking voters' support? Especially from aging parents...

gosushi
gosushi

I don't think a violent video game can create a violent person, but I'm sure they do influence an individual who is already violent or suffers from some sort of mental disability. I strongly agree that parents hold a lot of the responsibility on what games their child plays and for how long they play them, Unfortunately I think a lot of parents are just a little 'out-the-loop' with regards to the sort of hardware their children use.

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

So can removing tax benefits for hard working families that struggle on low income. But I'm sure we can blame Grand Theft Auto V for that to.

Scott Anderson
Scott Anderson

after playing grandtheft auto i wanted to go outside maybe even buy stocks wt the hell is rong with this country

maddogmark25
maddogmark25

For a change, I actually agree with a politician. People, read the article (which I know never happens anyway) before you automatically bash the guy.

He isn't really criticizing the violence in the game, or really the game itself; he is criticizing the people who are playing it for, basically, playing it too long and becoming shut-ins. Notice that he also said that parents bear the responsibility for making sure that their kids play the proper games at the proper times.

Along with not suggesting a ban of any sort, I think he is spot on, to be honest.

Kind of a poor choice of headline from GS, if you ask me.

s1monh
s1monh

Having no job, not being able to afford an education because the Lib Dems failed to delivery on tuition fees, having to decide between turning the heat on or buying food. What has a more corrosive effect on an individual Nick? What changes their outlook/behaviour and causes them to become shut-off? A video game? Get a brain.

epicalex95
epicalex95

I have had enough of this game bashing business now. I will just ignore it because of how stupid it is. Fox News can keep doing what it's doing, because it is one of the best comedy shows I've watched.

jonajacket
jonajacket

"Do you start saying to people you can't use it for more than X number of hours? No you can't do that."

"parents should try to ration their children's time spent playing games because "overuse" can be problematic."

The man is a muppet,  but credit where credit is due. At least he's not that old nonce from Australia (thankfully retired) or that Korean American fellow (sadly still in office) who are trying to ban things left, right and centre.

rebelformetal
rebelformetal

I think this argument falls under the long time hot debate of "nature vs nurture." Honestly humans have big brains & people know that all they are looking at is FANTASY! I am very skeptical about the damaging effect of violent video games. I'm sure back in the ancient times tight wods where complaining that violent literature was "corrosive." Same debate different technology.....(::sigh::) Some things will never change.

zebatov
zebatov

Violent video games won't cause behavioural problems. But having behavioural problems might cause someone to play violent video games.

/discussion.

hystavito
hystavito

People keep talking about the violence aspect, but his comments sounded a lot more about spending too much time playing and being a shut in, not so much specific to GTA even.  

Read the article again, that's the vibe I got, he even specifically addresses the fact that they already have laws regarding content but they cannot legally limit the time people will spend playing a game.

emrem85
emrem85

maybe because politician people aren't gamer.. they just stick with their golf club, tennis club, ping pong club.. and more the worst... stick with whores... compare our non-politician people who just want an enjoy played games... by the way, politician people can suck my ass...

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

GTA 5 = Overrated Ugly Game for Dumb People.

coolnewboy
coolnewboy

Sure punish the good people man... the dont kill everyone because the play of voilence games the do because the are already sick man and also a good idea !!! stop selling guns to every dam SICK person on the planet..... 

i will probley rob a bank my self if i only can play games like sims or viva pinata beacaus i would get dammm booorrreeddd....

sorry for my bad englisch

auntbessie
auntbessie

Middle of the road nobhead, not interested in anything he has to say in general but especially about gaming

simon1812
simon1812

"They occupy a hermetically sealed world of their own and that can have a very detrimental effect." 

-doesnt internet already do that?

Blind4156
Blind4156

I honestly don't understand why this question of 'games' is still even relevant. Listen, I have been playing games since Snes and Sega Genesis. Those two consoles were what helped me become the nerd that I am today. I have a passion for games, I love talking about them in pretty much every forum. I've played every kind of game under the ESRB. Violence and carnage happens to be a staple of the gaming world(or just the entertainment industry in general), simply because, well, killing things in games is fun. Whether people, aliens, monsters, it doesn't really matter. As gamers we have become comfortable enough to discern the difference between reality and our games. I never personally had a columbine moment or V-tech, it has never crossed my mind in the slightest. Know why? because I don't have a mental illness. Games, just like any other form of media are very suggestive. Books, movies, games, they all convey ideas and thoughts, reading and seeing actions we wouldn't normally take ourselves. At the end of the day though, most of us know that it is just a game, movie, or book, we don't even for one second take the violence with us. 

 All I'm saying is, games can have a negative effect on a person who is mentally ill and more susceptible to suggestion of media. We can't blame games though, that is a person who may have already been fueled by a book or movie and keeping either of those out of the hands and minds of people would be impossible. I get that people are looking for the causes for erratic and violent behavior and games look like a justifiable catalyst for breeding those emotions. It doesn't play out that way for everyone though, the majority of people who play violent games or M rated games are just normal people who enjoy the fun and challenge. When a gamer takes a digital humans life in a video game it is purely for enjoyment and fantasy, in fact, most games would have you play the good guy taking on a horde of baddies, you feel good ridding the game world of one bad guy after another. They aren't real people though! The majority of players can make that distinction. Though I will say this, with the future upon us and technology for games being upgraded rapidly, the gleeful feeling you get when you kill a nameless digital thug will start to change. 

 I loved the The Last of Us, I thought it was brilliantly written and it may have had a few technical foibles but the game is seriously unlike anything else out there. While the stealth combat system and shooting feel slightly haggard and slow, it manages to make you feel like you are this man who is surrounded by people that want to kill you. Your hand sways as you lift the barrel of your gun making it very difficult to aim at the start of the game. When you lift your revolver up and take the life of one of the AI bandits it doesn't feel like anything else. At least for me, it looks and feels so realistic that I can feel something in my brain telling me that what I am doing is wrong but necessary for survival. The blood and brain splatter on the wall behind them and they drop ferociously to the ground. All you are left with is a dead body and a blood spatter and this sense of safety, not satisfaction or happiness that you got the head shot, just another moment you didn't get killed. Taking a life in that game is so much different than killing some guy in skyrim or shooting the hordes of soldiers in call of duty. You get no enjoyment from smashing a broken bottle over a guys head and watching him writhe and beg for his life, only to pull out his gun and force you to finish the job. If a game ever deserved a mature rating than it would be that one.

GTAV is spectacular and a cavalcade of carnage and violence. Driving through the city, going on killing sprees and cop chases is undeniably fun as hell. However, when you kill a nameless civilian or cop in that game, all you feel is excitement and maybe a bit of taboo but you immediately realize that the world is fabricated. The dialogue of passerby is satirical, you can unrealistically take dozens of bullets before you fall, and you can drive like a professional racer within a few minutes of playing. It is easy to distinguish the difference between that and reality. 

 The point is an afflicted or unhealthy mind might get urges or stimuli from videogames but they also get them from movies, books, comics, tv, whatever is around them. It is the person not the media. I don't think we should have to do background checks on people to purchase games but if it ever came down to that, I suppose I would understand.

johnritter4141
johnritter4141

This is a very appropriate comment from a politician..truth is we all like to believe life is all wonders and happiness but as adults we must accept the truth about our ability to be influenced. I will no longer play violent games simply because ii do wish to be encouraigng a violent,non moral side of my personality.

Troyston74
Troyston74

Here we go again! Didn't they say that Rock n Roll was a subversive influence in the 1950's?  I think that there are many more social and political factors that influence people who have underlying mental issues, that may be triggered by outside influences other than games?  Again politicians wading in on games when they need to look at what they've created over the last few years.

bbq_R0ADK1LL
bbq_R0ADK1LL

There was a great parody article in the Civilian about how games are causing young people to run errands for people for little to no reward. Too many fetch quests are causing kids to charitably help out strangers. What is the world coming to?!

southsea13
southsea13

Clegg said. "They occupy a hermetically sealed world of their own and that can have a very detrimental effect." Is he talking about the House of Commons?

southsea13
southsea13

Nick Clegg is an idiot, an oxygen thief and an all-round muppet. The sales will generate a pretty good taxable revenue, and I cannot for the life of me see how GTAV will influence anyone`s behaviour in *the real world* (Nick should try living there from time to time).  Clegg can`t even get a political alliance sorted and as a result has now been pwned by David "Infanticide" Cameron as his personal bitch. Vaseline anyone?

alex_1889
alex_1889

Nick Clegg's thoughts are informed by the research that dinosaur right-wing voters don't like video games. So, thanks for not championing an inspiring medium that provides entertainment and jobs to so many, Clegg.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

And before anyone starts talking about the naval yard shootings and GTA, remember  when gun movies like Predator, Commando, Cobra, Missing in Action, and the like played in theaters?  Remember the movie Kick Ass?  Aren't they promoting gun violence, too?  And cable TV?  And the news showing shootouts live from the scene?  And TruTV showing murder whodunits?  You want to go after video games when you have so many other displays of violence on the TV every day?  And in the newspapers and on the web, too?


Let's get something straight.  If games made gamers violent, you'd have 12 million inmates just because of Diablo 3 alone.  We're not.  So shut up about games causing violence.  Games are just interactive fantasy stories.  If a person decides to go do something violent, it's their responsibility, no one else's.  If you have to blame anyone or anything else, BLAME THE PARENTS.  Blame them for teaching the kid poorly, blame them for living in a crappy neighborhood, blame them for not paying enough attention to the kid, blame them for not loving the kid enough, blame them for leaving guns within easy reach, blame them for teaching them to hunt, blame them for bringing the kid into the world in the first place.

If you can't place the blame on the parents, don't blame video games, because video games don't do anything until a parent lets their kid play them.  Parents are required to teach their kids to act peacefully within society.  If the kid grows up and decides to say "screw the rules", the parents can't do anything to stop that person, and that person has made the decision on his/her own.  If a game provides a fantasy that a person turns into a reality, the game is not at fault if a person acts out that fantasy.  Nor is a movie, a book, or any other fantasy media.  Everybody's been yelling about personal responsibility lately - where is it now?

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Leave it to foreigners to try to tell us a bunch of BS.  Listen, Clegg, quit talking about violence in GTA and start talking about violence in Syria (who doesn't have GTA).  Get your nose and BS unevidenced opinions out of our games, and get back to helping run the UK, moron.  And go get our research before shooting your mouth off and looking like an ass.

PacoTaco
PacoTaco

Our society hates to hold individuals accountable for their actions.  Always have to blame something other than the asshat who commits the deed.

redboat555
redboat555

This is all a bunch of crap except that GTA 5 sold 800 million in 24 hours 

tightwad34
tightwad34

Took 3 days. I thought it would have been one or two.

StarKiller2127
StarKiller2127

the only bad effects the game has had on me is it is the only thing besides sleep i have done since Tuesday but now that i have beat it i have stepped away and am doing other things. 

ptown58
ptown58

Games are a mirror of society and society doesn't like what it sees, so put them Disney glasses on folks and do not ever take them off. 

I blame it all on Elvis's hips.(kids these days)

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

@maddogmark25 Its not just GTA, its all games!! MMO are the worst at that!!! He is not directly stating the violence will make the person go nuts yea your right. However, if you read between the lines, he is in-directly stating it! Many games have the same affect of drawing the player into the game, this has been around for decades. this Nick dude is trying to battle the industry, and like all other brainless politicians he will fail. =)

rebelformetal
rebelformetal

@Ladiesman17 

You silly troll. Go play your shitty COD game that took 9 months to make. GTA is a work of art that took 4-5 years!! 

zebatov
zebatov

@Ladiesman17 

Somebody forgot to pre-order! You'll get your copy in a few months when everyone else already has one :)

jimmyCCFC
jimmyCCFC

@VarietyMage Whilst i share your view. GTA is a British export, therefore you're kinda the foreigner.

maddogmark25
maddogmark25

@Cozm1kaos @maddogmark25 I'm not sure how he is battling the industry? Everything he said is pretty much accurate. He even said it is the parents responsibility to police what their kids play, and for how long.