Opinions

A Space for Opinion on Current Events, Class, Links to other editorials etc.

Violent Video Games


I was recently reading an online report about violent video games and their negative impact, and I wanted to express my opinion about this issue that crosses our thoughts rather frequently, especially as CCIT students. Personally, I don’t really agree that video games are completely harmful, and that they do nothing but waste the player’s time and lead him/her to a virtual space where nothing is true, and no rewards can be collected. I think that video games are some how beneficial for the player and after all not all the video games are violent, some of the games people play on line have education and social purposes. An example of the education purpose (Red Alert 2 ) can be seen in video games that require the players to work in teams to build and protect each other in order to be able to achieve their objectives. An example of the social purpose game can be seen in games that players play to get to know people and actually involve in “real life” game on line (Ragnarok). In this game, players get to change their clothes, make friends and get married to the characters they love. Keeping these two examples in mind, video games violence have proved their danger in society and how some individuals get really affected by such games, and actually commit crimes. Thus it is up to the consumer to weather the influence of these games, and limit actions that will cause harm to the people in the society around us. Young people bring their entertainment choices and experiences to bear on their intense concerns with questions of identity, belonging and independence.


What I have also learned from the CCT100/101 course is that playing video games is actually a very healthy and smart method to express your real life feelings in virtual reality. Video games allow players to express feelings of any kind in virtual reality, in which some of these feelings, in some cases, might be considered as abnormal behaviour in reality. Therefore, video games are being used as a tool to help people to fulfill their fantasy in virtual reality, while it causes no harm in the reality. However, there are some cases in which teenagers are being influenced by the violent content of the video game, which triggers them to behave in violent way, and eventually ends up in real life tragedy. However, it is very important to educate them that virtual reality is completely different from reality, and the behaviours expressed in virtual reality can only be manipulated within video game, not in reality. As for me, I think video game is a great outlet to release pressure built up from school and work.

I have conducted several studies on the optimistic possibility of narrowing the gender digital divide by introducing MMORPGs into the society. Anything extreme leads to horrible outcomes. Hence, the moderation of MMORPG may not only attract more females online and the built-in IT knowledge acquired due to the playing of MMORPG will definitely help this society become more IT-literate. For example, many players form guilds/clans in MMORPG games and as they work as a team, they develop a team spirit which usually spurs them to create a team webpage/blog. The enthusiasm will subconsciously allow players to learn and acquire web skills such as HTML, CSS, Web page making...etc.

Check the reasearch paper on
http://www.psychologymatters.org/videogames.html



As a response to the above opinion on Video games and how it affects players, a lecture from my Social Psychology comes to mind. It was a lecture on aggression on how aggression is triggered. I specifically remember that watching violent video games and playing them was a direct trigger to towards increased aggression. It is not as if everyone who plays these games will become more aggressive but studies and research indicated that overall playing violent video games did have a implicit affect on the minds of the players, and thus increased aggressive behaviour among some players. Also, the above opinion states how video games are healthy tool and fantasies are played out instead of acted out. However, during my studies in Soc. Psy, I also learned that a lot of times playing video games is actually the initial souce of aggression as opposed to a tool that allows one to vent. Meaning, it actually teaches one to be more aggressive rather than allows one to use it as a venue in which to channel the aggression. Therefore, I must say for the most part that I disagree with the above statments, and from what I have learned, playing violent video games do trigger aggression and do have negative impacts on the players, even if they are implicitly encoded.



Actually to be honest after reading your opinion I have to say, you're on the right track. But not completely, to the point where I would say as a satisfied gamer that I completely agree. I have been been playing videogames since I was 4 and I am perfectly normal. I started with my rusty Atari 2400 to the newest Playstation 2. I am currently saving up for Playstation 3, as that should be revolutionizing the world with something new to our door steps. I agree with the fact that videogames help people release pent up pressure and help further socialize, but the parts where it pertains to negativity, such as violence is very miniscule. And that is usually when people have nothing else to blame. Shouldn't movies be having the same effect?

Everyone can blame videogames, such as the incident on MetalGearSolid.org, where a teen on the forums committed suicide by telling people over there first who actually sought out for him, talked to him to snap out of it, yet he still went ahead with it. It wasn't because of videogames but because of pressures of life, that he told to people who were trying to console him. The hard part was, a lawyer went to the particlar forum and condemned everyone there by saying that videogames and these people are the main reason for his death. Ignorance is quite a popular thing for most people these days. On the other hand the issue of ESRB ratings on Grand Theft Auto with a hidden sex scene that can be played is labeled "Hot Coffee" in San Andreas is getting lots of news these days, that is a more viable thing to go after since, the publisher never announced anything about that part of the game being accessible by hacks.

I would like to see the on going research being done on videogames where it says "Yes, videogames pose a threat for society". Does that mean drama shows like Stargate should be put out of programming too? Smallville should completely be retracted? Comic books be taken off the shelves? Violence is everywhere. The videogame industry is bigger than the movie industry at the moment generating billions of dollars. From my experience of videogames, I have experienced the joy of playing with friends, RPG's, fighters and whatever was fun or violent. It never made me pick up a baseball bat and want to go beat up someone. Parents cannot raise children these days or spoil them, guess whats getting blamed?

Here is a good site to check out all the stuff being showcased with videogames and politics:
http://www.gamepolitics.com



It is unreasonable to simply qualify a game, or any activity for that matter, as the cause of a direct behaviour. However, it does make sense to see that what we put our thoughts, time, and energy into plays some role in our behaviour. Just as we can take the positive qualities of gaming or other activities, we should also accept the negative, or socially unacceptable, attributes of the game as well.

This is true for all aspects of our lives; whether it is in real time, or virtual space. What is most important for us all is to have balance in our life. Setting goals based around creating a healthy balance is what will put the positives and negatives of all experiences in focus and perspective.

In the case of online and video gamers, we must find symmetry between real world activity and our fictional, fantasy escape into our game of the month. And by symmetry or balance I mean that we should engage in a wide variety of activities and subjects that stimulate our mind, thoughts, behaviour, and actions. This way we also bring an enriched, abundant perspective and knowledge to what it is that we do everyday. Today it is more and more important to dabble in a lot of different topics and with the resources available to us at our finger tips, there is no excuse as to why we should not explore.



Worker Surveillance


With the recent discussions around surveillance in the Wikispace and with our most recent guest lecturer, I have been considering the dividing lines in which I think surveillance is acceptable and when it is not. When discussing the issue with other people I find opinon on this matter is wide ranging. For instance, our last lecturer, Michelle, seemed to be genuinely perturbed by the fact that Disney made use of biometrics in its general admission. She seemed to feel that this was an invasion of her space and unnecessary. I personally do not sympathize with that sense of self-righteousness. Disney is not public space, we don't have any right to be there. Besides the right we have from discrimination based on race, gender etc; Disney can set up whatever rules they like for admission. So why not be safe rather than sorry when you are running one of the largest family attractions in a country that is a global target for terrorrism, and when there are known associations between terrorist groups and people living within your country.

Of course, there are certain examples which do seem to be a bit of stretch, such as the example of a London neighbourhood opening up their closed circuit surveillance channel to the neighbourhood. We might try a little harder here to maintain some form of discretion. But when it comes to worker surveillance, especially for outdoor work that is difficult to monitor, and when the workers have the extravagant protection of their solipsistic unions, surveillance becomes even more important. Recently it was discovered, by the use of surveillance video, that hourly paid workers in Montreal, were spending the large part of their shifts sitting around coffee shops rather than filling pot holes. Within three shifts, ten workers managed to fill a total of .... 9 potholes. About 15 minutes of work. (Montreal Gazette) Considering that Quebec has some of the worst roads in the country and that it is also one of the poorest provinces, I find this especially atrocious. As taxpayers (and drivers), I think most of us would be more sympathetic to the cause for surveillance in such instances. Making people accountable for their actions is something we all need to encourage for the greater good and integrity of our country. So let us not overlook the uses and potential of surveillance for minor neurotic obsessions.
Link to Montreal Gazette



Surveillance to some people is of utmost importance, and at the same time, as the demographic of a place increases so does the need for most voids and happenings out of the ordinary to be filled in. It can be annoying to some, while at the same time beneficial to most. I will focus on the point about Disney using biometrics for fee admission. One can possibly say that it is almost giving away too much information when all that can be needed is something like a cheap alternative such as numbered tattoos that don't hav to be permanent but can remain there for at least a week, just as an example. But at the end of the day, that number can be washed off somehow from the body. Biometrics will at least ensure that once the individual is in, they are also recognized while going out. But another analogy one can think about is, that once you pay for a service, you might as well use it to the best of your payed money, what else is a service for? A person does not need to disclose too much of their information. The problem resides on the individuality of people. I for one don't mind if there less surveillance as long as there is some intact. But then again if something wrong happens then I will not be helped efficiently, that is if there is help available in some cases. Overall however, I would like to say it is a very ambiguous issue.

Spam

Anyone who has ever accessed e-mail knows the pain of having to deal with spam. From the end users perspective, it is annoying, time consuming, and could possibly lead to malicious content being downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge. There are many working definitions for spam, all of which seem too similar in nature, but no complete one. “Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.” [[#_edn1|[i]]] The content of spam messages is often misleading, to which it promotes everything from hot stock tips, finding your perfect mate, to finally curing erectile difficulties. In its most basic definition, “spam (Also known as unsolicited commercial email) is unwanted, unsolicited junk email sent to a large number of recipients.” [[#_edn2|[ii]]]

Unwanted commercial e-mail is becoming increasingly expensive for businesses and more and more inexpensive for spammers to distribute. To send spam, the costs is as little as a fraction of a cent per message, while implementing, maintaining and constantly trying to catch spammers has evolved into a costly business, with costs escalating to somewhere in the billions in the U.S alone. From an economic perspective, it is quite expensive to block the outbreak of spam from within a company. Businesses end up having to acquire more bandwidth for their networks so that legitimate messages and information can be received in a timely manner. They also have to increase their information storage to accommodate these messages until they are dealt with. Another common scenario in larger companies is that a network administrator has to be hired (sometimes more than one) to help control the flux of unwanted e-mail, for which the costs of extra man power in a company is passed down to the consumer.

Spam also presents a social and moral problem. Spam presents the problem of taking time out of people’s days, it is time consuming to any computer user, and furthermore offers fraudulent services that novice computer users may mistake for valuable services. Spammers drive computer users to purchase costly spam blocking programs that come complete with e-mail filters, however, there is the odd valid message that gets swept up by the filters and may potentially have been quite important.

Spam has become a plague upon both business and personal computer users alike. The content they distribute appears to be completely useless, often fraudulent, possibly containing viruses or spy ware. Recently, new laws have been introduced to protect computer users from invasions of privacy, and allowing them to protect themselves from being bombarded with irrelevant e-mails. Spam is a costly issue, it is morally and socially offensive and the internet would be a far better place if spam ceased to exist.

Do you spammers have any right to send out their e-mails? Does it fall under the same type of petty like telemarketers? door to door salesman?

[[#_ednref1|[i]]] http://spam.abuse.net/overview/whatisspam.shtml
[[#_ednref2|[ii]]] http://www.lsoft.com/resources/glossary.asp#U


Spam is usually focused on by groups who are able to put tracking adware into your computer. These are usually introduced to your computer through applets that are hidden on a website or a webpage such as warez sites or a site containing a particular theme such as bittorent. These can also target your computer by clicking on advertisement on sites which are usually spam free. The spyware is loaded onto the system .exe files usually by invisible applets, so the sites you have visited are narrowcasted automatically and therefore keeps track of the information of your browsing. These trackers can be gotten rid of pretty easily by ad-aware and spybot type of programs which can be found at http://www.downloads.com and are really helpful to your workspace. Spam is not only e-mail based but it can be done on purpose as well, and people can be aware of it, such as spamming up a forum or so, by just adding nothing into conversations between people.


Phishing

Phishing attacks use both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal consumers' personal identity data and financial account credentials. Social-engineering schemes use 'spoofed' e-mails to lead consumers to counterfeit websites designed to trick recipients into divulging financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords and social security numbers. The above definition was taken from this website

Phishing gets it's name from the leisure actvitity "fishing", because the culprits bait their victims and lure them into a false sense of security, allowing them to collect personal information.
Click here for a recent report on phishing incidents.


Kazaa


As I was researching about Kazaa and the topic about free music downloading. I had came to the realization that I do support the fact if one cannot purchase a CD they should be able to access their favorite song or artistic and have the option to listen to their music. I do believe in the fact that if you support the young people who download music, they will one day get jobs and when they can afford music they will soon by it. Because when you grow up you wont have as much free time as you do when you are younger so sitting in front of your computer and then searching and then having to wait to download and then having to burn your song on a CD will seem like a waste of time. When it comes to the point of artists and industries loosing money, well I say that there are other ways for these people to make up the money. For example touring, merchandising and countless other ways. Supporting what an individual likes and enjoys should have no expenses especially when it comes to music, music allows people to apply a note to their lives, allows them to enjoy the day just that much better. Music is a great way to live life, and if society is not given this freedom, then why make music. I completely as well support music downloading, which you pay for, however I think this system should be fairly cheep. I am a huge fan of music, and I believe everyone has a right to listen to it.