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Carlos Miranda Levy

NEVER HELP: engage, enable, empower and connect, Relief 2.0 / Markets of Hope

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What can we do and what do we do about bullying?

Recently, while playing Red Dead Redemption I noticed another player, LatinLupe752, running in a straight line towards Chuparosa, a dusty settlement in the middle of nowhere.

Obviously a noobie. If you run in a straight line in an open field, you will be shot, in real life and in video games too.

I took my gun and killed him. Bam! 10 seconds later he, or she, respawned and started to run in a straight line again. I shot him again. Bam! He respawned once more; I switched weapons to a shotgun and shot him again, and again, and again. Soon I was "most wanted player" and there was a bounty on my head. I was killed by other players who came for the bounty.

I respawned and looked around for LatinLupe752, and saw him in the distance leaving the area, probably just wanted to play in peace and decided to go somewhere else in the game. I got on my horse, climbed up a hill, took aim with my carcano rifle and shot him in the head from afar. He respawned again and I shot his horse and then I shot him. They never came back.

Why would I, an active collaborating member of Stanford University Peace Innovation Lab, become a bully so vicious to this individual? Why couldn't I just let him play?

I did it because:

- There was a reward for me in doing it: Everytime I killed LatinLupe752 I would receive experience points and increase my reputation. A clean head shot earned me additional points.

- Yes, I was killed twice by other players who came to collect the bounty on my head, but that did not reduce my experience points or my reputation, so I didn´t mind the inconvenience of respawning a few seconds later and continue my behavior going after more points with LatinLupe752's face in them.

More important, it had nothing to do with LatinLupe752, I did not think he or she was weak, weird or different. It wasn't about intolerance and it wasn't personal.

I did it because there was something for me to gain and because the penalties involved were not enough to deter me from it.

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    Sarah M

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    Jul 13 2012: I have to wonder whether there is such a strong link between Bullying and Violent Video games.
    There is no doubt that violent video games can bring on real violence in a very small number of people. In Australia on April 28, 1996 thirty-five men, women and children that Martin Bryant senselessly murdered and another 18 injured by Martin Bryant. A man of 28 years old with a low intellect, a known bully. He was known for horrible acts against Animals and classed as an unusual child. (Http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/mass/bryant/profile_2.html) Martin Bryant was also said to have a morbid fascination with Violent Video games.

    Does a Video Violent Video game make people go and shoot 53 people? It’s unlikely unless you are a severely troubled individual. Can you link all mass acts of violence to Video games? Unlikely. Have crimes increased at the onset of violent games being introduced? No. Crime rates have remained stable for many years. Do Violent Video games make Bullies? Unlikely.

    Research now shows that Bullies have usually been exposed to violence within the home or elsewhere.
    Do Video games help play out fantasies of hurting people without doing harm to a living soul? In some cases probably. If Violent Video games produce Violence we would have anarchy on the streets. An massive increase in Violent crimes but there hasn’t been.

    The US has it 311,591,917 July 201. When you add up the school shootings often linked to Violent Video games statistically very small amount of school type shootings per capita.

    So what point am I trying to make. Do violent video Games desensitize its players? Do they cause Violent Acts? Does it breed Bullies? My opinion is No. Can they seriously affect someone who is seriously affected in their mind? Maybe but so can so many other things.

    I am not Pro Violent gaming but I think we have to be real. Most people know the difference between Reality and Fantasy.

    Should we look at the parents of these Bullies? YES
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      Jul 13 2012: I don't think video games desensitize gamers. If you are really involved in the game - the only level at which it would actually affect you and get to you - you feel it and are aware of your actions. At least from my experience. Just as playing video baseball will not get you into major league, playing flight simulator will not make a pilot of you and jumping from planes will not make you a paratrooper.

      Video games allow you to experience alternate realities and experiences, like reading a good book, listening to a moving story or watching an engaging movie. You are in control, but you always now it's fantasy and make believe. You care for the story, for the characters, for the outcome, but it's just as you care for your tennis match at the club or basketball game at school. Once it's done, it's done.

      The fact that I find harder to explain to people and for non-gamers to grasp is how engaging the gaming experience can be for the player yet how clear is its distinction from real life in our minds and sensory experience. Sure, sometimes you wish you could fly or move those boxes with a gesture of your hand, but is just as when you wish for Asteryx potion or Super Goof's Super Goobers in real life... :p
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        Jul 15 2012: Hi Carlos
        You do know that I also said that Violent video games don't desensetise players. I get the gaming experience and have also been caught up in the game. My point is violent gaming doesn't cause violence or bullying except in very rare cases where someone is a very unwell individual and it may be a catalyst . This does not account for main stream society :-)

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