Have video games ever hurt you? Have they ever hurt someone you love? If you answered no, then the article “Do Video Games Inspire Violent Behavior” By Gregg Toppo got its point across. This article mainly how horrible behavior from kids comes from video games. But the writer thinks otherwise as the tests don’t link to actual violence. I think the writer was able to support his verdict with what counter evidence was given.
The rhetorical situation the writer in sews is the context for shootings caused by kids playing video games (Toppo). Which is a tough subject the audience being concerned parents would be reading the article about. The writer expects the parents to be angry as they should be about violence that could come from video games. But the writer gets his point across by not appealing so much to authority by rejecting their claims for his own conclusion.
The writer mainly uses ethos to his own advantage by using the article to support his side. An example from the article, “a 2012 study, Andr Melzer of the University of Luxemburg, along with Mario Gollwitzer of Philipps University Marburg in Germany, found that inexperienced players felt a need to “cleanse” themselves after playing a violent video game” (Toppo). Based on that test in the article half the gamers picked hygienic gifts, the other nonhygienic. This his study didn’t make any link to video games and actual real-world violence. It just showed which gamers had their priorities straight at the time of the event.
The logos strategy is used by the opposing side of the article. But to not much effect as it falls on its face showing no real connection. An example from the article, Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the police found a GPS unit in his home. The record showed Lanza went to a shopping center to where there was a movie theater. The workers at the theater said he didn’t come to watch movies but to play in the arcade for hours. Once the police got a hold of his hard drive on his computer it showed the Columbine killers, violent movies, and TNT ingredients. It was also noted Lanza owned first-person shooter and fighting games like Call of Duty, Grand theft Auto, and Dead or Alive (Toppo).
Revealing this, it showed no real link to video games driving him to this point. The game Dance Dance Revolution was a game he was obsessed with, but did it drive him to kill? The writer doesn’t deny it had any effect as it probably did but not the one that was intended (Toppo). The media used ethos to try to link violent media to violent behavior. By using popular publications and magazines to push a narrative that violent entertainment causes violent behavior.
The pathos strategy is only used by the writer in the article. Now of course there can be emotion and sympathy felt throughout the article. But the opposing side only uses ethos and logos to support thier side. The writer uses pathos as his counter as he feels that the parents are not thinking about what’s real and what’s not. He stated that the kids seem to know the difference but why can’t we (Toppo). It really does make you think about how we let our emotions get in the way of how we react and think. I think that throughout the article their basic test trying to link fake violence to real world violence. The writer takes every single one into consideration but finding nothing that sticks as a real link to violent video games and violent behavior. At best these isolated test show what creativity can bring when reaching for something that isn’t there. One of the first studies can attest to that for using young kids as prime examples.
For example, a test from the article A big study from a Stanford University psychologist named Albert Bandura. In 1961 had 72 preschoolers put in a playroom. They were given instructions on how to make pictures, once toys were involved one being a Bobo clown doll which was then beaten in front of the kids. The study had shown some of the kids showing aggression towards the doll themselves. But the findings to the writer were very misleading when appealing to children’s media and play. The writer states in the article that the critic Gerard Jones who wrote “Killing Monters” a 2003 book, that makes a point of giving kids “make-believe violence” wrote “There is no evidence to suggest that punching an inflatable clown has any connection to real-life violence” (Toppo).
The pathos strategy does play a role in thinking about the 1999 Columbine school shootings. Many Americans who felt and reacted to those shooting thought about violent games. The emotional reaction was so big that families of victims sued game makers thinking it was there fault for what happen. Most specifically the first- person shooter Doom a game the two played, that led to many more researchers observing games and trying to decipher where the aggression is coming from (Toppo). I do support the idea of finding out what’s making kids so aggressive to the point of hurting others.
The logos strategy is used throughout the rest of the article as it is using stats and experiments to find an answer. A 2010 experiment from the article, two students from their perspective universities asked people to play of the three types of games. It was either an “aggressive”, “prosocial”, or “neural” game like Tetris. They wanted to see how the players would react to pencils accidently falling on the ground. The prosocial gamers were more likely to pick them up. The writer along with another test thought that these showed little to any correlation to real-world violence (Toppo).
I feel as if the writer Greg Toppo and his audience being the parents or concerned citizens. Are sort of having a back and forth battle in a way. The test and studies that were conducted all could lead to fake violence connecting to real-world violence. But Greg pretty much summed up what I was thinking thought out the article. He stated “In a way, we are pointing fingers at the wrong people. When we worry that a violent game is going to turn our kids into killers, aren’t we the ones who can’t tell fantasy from reality? Kids already know the difference” (Toppo). This statement alone helped me see what the article was trying to tell the entire time. It’s a perfect ending to the article because of all the test that were used to push a narrative. If you came across this article and read that, it would say a lot about the writer.
In Conclusion to everything from the rhetorical strategies and the way Toppo the writer went about the situation. I still believe the article “Do Video Games Inspire Violent Behavior” got the point across about violent media. All the strategies including logos, ethos and pathos were used throughout the article. Gregg Toppo used ethos and pathos to his own advantage as to why he thinks the studies showed no real link. He provided all the emotional aspects to the situation as well as asking the audience if this really is the answer. The way the article is put together is nice as it still leaves the problem open to whoever reads it.
- Toppo, Greg. “Do Video Games Inspire Violent Behavior?” Scientific American, 1 July 2015, www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-video-games-inspire-violent-behavior/.