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Ban Killer Video Games
And Internet Violence!

by Helga Zepp-LaRouche

December 10, 2007

Helga Zepp-LaRouche is the Founder and Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, and Chairwoman of the Civil Rights Solidarity Movement (BüSo) in Germany. She issued the statement below on December 8, 2007, which has been translated from German. For more information on this "New Violence", see Stop the New Violence!

Following the recent horrific news reports about young people running amok, killing their fellow students and teachers; young sharpshooters who knock off unknown victims; and young psychopathic murderers who kill other people after perverse film showings, all these incidents demonstrate in a dramatic way, how urgent it is to pass adequate laws to ban and place stiff penalties on the production and marketing of violence-glorifying computer games, as well as the use of the Internet to circulate violence-glorifying materials.

Finally, the Society for Scientific Discussion Psychotherapy (Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Gesprächspsychotherapie e.V., GwG), Society for Scientific Discussion Psychotherapyhas come out with a demand for a total ban on these computer games. A representative of the society explained that "killer games are like land mines for the soul." And the GwG demands that politicians act, "before an entire generation of children and teenagers is sucked into a maelstrom of violence." Unfortunately, this is already happening.

Already in 1972, that is 35 years ago (!), the American Surgeon General, as well as the American Psychiatric Association, explained that there was an indisputable connection between violence in the media and violence committed by children and youth. And in virtually every case in which young people kill their fellow students and teachers with great precision in shooting, it turns out that there is an addiction to violent videos and to Internet sites that glorify violence. It is unfortunately the case, that the better part of two generations of children and teenagers have been exposed to the circulation of this mind- and soul-killing "entertainment."

The commercial killer videos had their origins in the military training programs, by means of which the U.S. Army used killing simulators, to overcome the natural reluctance of soldiers to kill. The same thing happens with a video game, which makes killing a conditioned reflex. The use of murder simulators for military training corresponds to the bestial concept of the Legionary Army, which was put forward by Samuel Huntington in his book The Soldier and the State, whereby soldiers are to be trained to carry out orders like zombies, who never challenge what they are told to do. If such a conception is barbaric in the army, then for children and youth, who are emotionally much more impressionable, it is an absolute catastrophe. The result is children and youth who are emotionally completely crippled, who can easily resort to aggression, and for whom the uniquely human capacity for feeling, and the ability to experience empathy, are completely absent. In the worst cases, they become autistic, or even murderers.

The EU Committee for ``Human Rights in the Internet Society'' is responsible for dealing with these issues, but has up until now failed to provide any effective guidelines for video games and Internet sites. If those who are in responsible positions fail to protect children and youth, they render themselves guilty of the violation of human rights. We demand an immediate ban on killer videos and an effective blockage of the aforementioned Internet sites!

German Psychotherapists
On Violent Video Games:
Full Translation

November 30, 2007 (LPAC)--The following translated press release on the truthful psychological effects of violent video games, dated 11-28-2007, is from the Society for Scientific Discussion Psychotherapy (GwG), the largest organization of its kind in Europe:

With tips for parents as to how they can recognize brutal computer games and can protect their children from them.

Brutal Computer Games Destroy Compassion -No Killer Games for Christmas

Psychotherapists demand the prohibition of computer games in which young people are rewarded for the killing and torture of human beings. Such games are increasingly marketed in a toned down manner as "shooter games." The idea of media literacy frequently functions as a smokescreen,-- today, children and teenagers need "media education."

Cologne: Surveys show that computer games are a huge business for the manufacturer in the Christmas economic boom. For most of the teenage users, violence-promoting games are a catastrophe from the standpoint of their psychological development-- that is the experience of many specialized staff members of the Society for Scientific Discussion Psychotherapy (GwG), from psychotherapeutic counseling centers and school psychological services. The GwG is the largest European professional association for psychotherapy and counseling. It now demands that games which glorify violence be legally prohibited, so that the basic consensus of a humane society is preserved. "Killer games are like landmines for the soul," says Elke Ostbomk-Fischer, university lecturer and a member of the GwG. "The media disregard of young people has reached such a terrifying scale in recent years, that politically responsible persons have to immediately take action, before an entire generation of children and teenagers are sucked into a maelstrom of violence."

Elke Ostbomk-Fischer is thus in agreement with leading criminologists and scientists, who are critical of the media. "Many of these games are inhuman and violate the Basic Law (the German constitution). Therefore, their production and distribution are liable to prosecution."

More and more, younger children are losing their natural compassion, when they are immersed for hours and days in the most brutal action-world, in which destruction and killing are experienced as amusement and fascination. Particularly, young people are frequently affected by this. They behave more aggressively, and can hardly be won over to social rules of human cooperation. An increasing number of teenagers spend more time with addictive PC-games than in school. "Many parents feel increasingly helpless and desperate in the face of the overwhelming power of the media. Often their children chide them for being backward, if they react skeptically to the child's desire for a gift," says Karl-Otto Hentze, psychotherapist and General Secretary of the GwG. Children who are versed in the Internet, frequently persuade their parents with arguments circulated on the Internet by scientists associated with the computer industry.

What are Killer Games?

According to the "Bundesrat (upper house) Printed Page 2007-0001-0100/ 76-07" they are "game programs, which represent cruel or otherwise inhuman violent actions against human beings or human-like creatures, and enable the player to participate in displayed violent actions of such a type." Games like these were originally developed for the U.S. military as simulations of war. They have the objective of breaking down the inhibitions which soldiers have against killing, and of increasing their "killer-efficiency." The U.S. military psychologist David Grossman urgently warns that these methods of conditioning to violence work in the same way with children and teenagers, when they intensively play such violence-oriented programs.

"Media Education" instead of Media Literacy"

Game manufacturers have misappropriated the concept of "media literacy" for a long time. The companies finance research and continuing education projects for "more media literacy." They have an interest, of course, in preventing the legal prohibition of killer games. Some experts support them in this with arguments such as, for example, "prohibitions only increase the appeal." (That would also apply to red stop lights, to theft, and even to murder.) They have an additional strategy of evaluating computer games as "objects of cultural value." "Media literacy" in this sense, promotes the precise knowledge of game types, equipment and technical details. Killing and violence can thus be accepted as an "artistic convention."

Media Education includes Education of the Heart

In contrast, media education includes education of the heart. The basic principle is the explicit orientation to the ethical conventions of human rights. The overall concept and standard is the Basic Law (German constitution). "Media education" promotes a cooperative culture of association with one's fellow man. Without critical training, it is difficult to distinguish reasonably educated advice from sales-promotional advice.

Form your own judgment

The following questions will help you to evaluate a computer game for yourself:

1. In the game, do persons and creatures appear:

2. In the game, are persons or creatures:

3. Are there other examples of inhuman and cruel treatments? Are such treatments:

4. In the game, are clear and realistic references lacking:

5. In the game, are nonviolent opportunities for a solution lacking?

6. With this computer game, would your child himself be the person who does something malicious and cruel to others, and is thus successful?

If you have to answer "yes" to several of these questions, then consider precisely what your child will learn with this game.

How can parents and educational specialists protect your children from brutal computer games?