Video violence beyond a game: top cop

NZ Herald November 28, 2007
Violent Xbox video games are being fingered by a top police officer as a possible cause of rising violence among young people. Superintendent Bill Harrison, national manager of police youth services, says youth violence rates have jumped in the past two or three years throughout the Western world, coinciding with the rise of new products such as the Xbox. Ministry of Justice figures given to a youth offending conference in Wellington yesterday showed sharp increases in the number of young people aged 14 to 20 caught by police for violent behaviour in 2005 and 2006. The rate of all young people caught by police for all offences fell 17 per cent in the decade to last year, but the rate of young people caught for violence rose 25 per cent. Mr Harrison told the conference the increased violence statistics partly reflected a shift in police resources to family violence, which was picking up more young people for violence against partners and other family members such as brothers and sisters. …He said the Government’s interdepartmental youth justice leadership group was commissioning research on the increase in youth violence and he wanted it to look at the effect of electronic games. Research had shown young people could generally distinguish “cartoon” violence from “real” violence, but the interactivity involved in today’s games seemed to pose a much bigger risk than previous generations of young people had faced.

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