Video game violence: understanding its attractions for young New Zealanders

Video Game Violence: Understanding its Attractions for Young New Zealanders

“In a socially sustainable society…the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the population is enhanced or at least not impaired...”

Social sustainability in Govt3, Ministry for the Environment, NZ,


The traditional psychological approach to researching video game violence has been to ask “What do games do to young people?” rather than “How do young people use video games?”

The traditional approach seeks to substantiate the harmful effects of games on individuals who are considered to lack the knowledge and strategies to make sense of them. It not only considers young people's own opinions and experiences to be irrelevant or unreliable, but it also fails to take account of the interactive properties of the games and the medium itself, the social dimension of play, and the inherently productive cultural practices of gaming. Above all it fails to ask why young people choose to play video games and what their opinion is about the content.

To understand and analyse the attraction of video game violence, University of Waikato senior lecturer in Screen and Media Studies, Dr Gareth Schott, turns to a new genre in academic research, Game Studies, to examine video game violence in context with the culture of gaming, and the experiences and ideas of the players.

Dr Schott draws together the two separate research approaches to the subject by assessing the nature of violent content within video games via the experiences and articulations of young people themselves. He uses a combination of methods to give young people a voice that is all too often absent in what, to date, has been a one-way debate.

External funding gratefully acknowledged: Marsden Fund Fast-Start.


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