Short Film.

My idea behind this was some peoples obsession with the popular simulation game, The Sims. What do people find so intriguing about controlling a virtual person, in a virtual environment? Perhaps that’s what they feel is happening to them. Is ‘God’ just like playing a game with our lives? Will we someday be able to play out our lives the way we want just like we can in The Sims? Will we someday upload our consciousness into a giant computer and live in a cyber world? Instead of calling someone or even using the internet to talk, will we just plug ourselves into a machine and meet up virtually? Who knows. Food for thought. ūüôā

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Essay

Video Games

Computer and video games are extremely popular at the moment. There are multiple consoles that can be used, for example X-Box 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, any computer that is fast enough to process games, Nintendo DS, iPads and IPod Touch’s and even smart phones. Playing a game can help the user relax and have some important down time. At the same time, extensive use can have an adverse impact on the health, especially with young people. Young people are still developing and spending lots of time playing video games can blur reality and fiction together.

Before the impact on the health of young people due to video games can be found, one must first understand video games. Video games are classified as a recreational activity. They are also regulated to insure that young people don’t play games they shouldn’t. Video games often get blamed for violence and aggression in youth. It is important to remember that they are a consumer driven product. The game is only what the user makes it. There are many different gaming platforms like those listed in the paragraph above. There are also lots of different genres of games. These range from role-playing, to war games, to fantasy games, to games like The Sims that simulate real life, to action games and even exercise and educational games. Tom Baranowski et al explains a psychological point about games in general, ‘Children and adults have played games since prior to written history, suggesting that playing games meets enduring psychological needs.’ (Baranowski et al, 2008, p74) ¬†This basically means that the act of playing a game should be good for you psychologically.

James Paul Gee writes that ‘nothing is good or bad for you in and of itself and all by itself.’ (Gee, 2005, p1) He expands on this by asking if television is bad for children. He answers with ‚Äėneither and both‚Äô. He then explains that it is good (children watching television) if the people around them are getting them to talk and think about what they are seeing. Gee then writes that it is bad if it is just used as a babysitting tool. He adds that it is the same with video games. (Gee, 2005, p1)¬† James Newman agrees with this notion that video games aren’t immediately bad for you. He says that there is a ‘considerable effort to position video games as harmful’ when they¬†are not.¬†¬†(Newman, 2004, p62)¬†Newman also considers the attempts to ‘link video game play with horrific events such as shootings and putative decay‚Äô when other things need to be taken into consideration. (Newman, 2004, p62)

On the other end of the scale a study done by Klein (cited in Newman, 2004, p62) found that in order for child gamers to get their ‘video game fix’ and fuel their addiction they would often cut classes, spend their lunch money or steal or beg money. (Klein, 1984, p396) Braun and Giroux (cited in Newman, 2004, p62) see computer games as ‘the perfect paradigm for induction of ‚Äúaddictive‚ÄĚ behavior.’ (Braun and Giroux, 1989, p101) Klein says that these points are a ‘small by significant step to move from the discussion of addictive or compulsive behavior to the treatment of computer games as a drug’. (Newman, 2004, p62) Zimibardo (cited by Klein 1984, p397, cited by Newman 2005, p62-63) said that ‘video game fanatics essentially are like cocaine addicts who get an instant rush from an electronic fix.’¬† In Zimibardo’s opinion video games do have an adverse impact on young people. Klein and Braun and Giroux share that view.

You can‚Äôt talk about video games without the topic of violence in games coming up and how it affects people. J. Beck and M. Wade found a study done by the Harvard Centre for Risk Analysis found that out of fifty-five games, that were rated E for everyone, thirty-five had intentional violent acts. (Beck &Wade, 2006, pp53) They say that it is easy to think that there is a strong connection between video games and extreme behaviour. However the results for studies done on the link between extreme behaviour and violence are inconclusive. Beck and Wade state that at the time of mass circulation of violent video games juvenile crime actually dropped. ‚ÄėIn reality, juvenile crime statistics dropped sharply (along with crime in general)‚Äô (Beck & Wade, 2006, p53) Beck and Wade contradict the views of Klein, Zimibardo and Braun and Giroux, who have also done extensive research.

Marcus Schulzke writes that ‘video game violence has received a great deal of attention, yet for all the discussion of it, we know surprisingly little.’ (Schulzke, 2010, p127) He suggests there are two reasons for this. ‘First, the empirical studies do not consistently one side. Most suggest that simulated violence is harmful, but there is a significant body of work reaching the opposite conclusion, as well as studies showing bias among researchers critical of gaming. More importantly, games seem to have no effect on crime as an increased propensity to aggression suggests that they would. Second, the ongoing debate about video game violence suffers from some problems of framing. Violent gaming is often made out to be a single issue, when in fact there are multiple interrelated questions that must be addressed.’ (Schulzke, 2010 p 127) Schulzke adds that there are ‘three main empirical charges made against violent games: that they train players in the skills needed to harm others, that they degrade players‚Äô capacity for empathy, and that they directly encourage antisocial behavior.’ (Schulzke, 2010, p127) Schulzke is basically saying that studies do not show the full situation and are often biased by researchers that are critical of gaming. He believes that there are multiple interrelated questions and issues that need to be addressed before a conclusion can be drawn affectively.

Klein, Zimibardo and Braun and Giroux show the adverse effects that video games have on young people. However, there is also a lot of evidence given by Schulzke, Gee and Newman to argue that video games are also good for young people. Beck and Wade however expand and question how effective studies are because most of them prove inconclusive and even untrue. This argument really comes down to the term ‘extensive use’. According to Klein, Zimibardo and Braun and Giroux, extensive use is harmful but again at the same time the opposition of Schulzke, Gee and Newman argues that extensive use is not harmful. Those other elements such as social and moral values must be taken into consideration. Even a fair amount of research is laid out, both arguments have merit. It is for this reason that the extent of damage to the health of the young person is different for each one. No generic template will do. Perhaps more research needs to be done, but perhaps it is best to just sit back and watch, guide and help when needed rather than run head first screaming and point the blame at a consumer based medium.

Reference List

Baranowski, T. et al. (2008) Playing for Real Video Games and Stories for Health-Related Behavior Change. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34 (1), p.74 – 82.

Beck, J. C., & Wade, M. (2006). The kids are alright: How the gamer generation is changing the workplace. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School.

Gee, J. P. (2005). Why video games are good for your soul: Pleasure and learning. Melbourne, Vic.: Common Ground Publishing.

Newman, J. (2004).Videogames. London: Routledge.

Schulzke, M. (2010) Defending the morality of violent video games. Springer Science Business Media: Ethics Information Technology, 12 (1), p.127 – 138.

Pictures

Killerspiele / First Person Shooter

Game Time 3

Week Eight:

Tried to use Bubbl and Diigo, but I just go really frustrated with it. Went back to using post it notes and highlighters and pen and paper.

Found a good many useful books in the library but also really bad ones. Also found a lot of articles on video games and violence, not so much health.

Resources:

The Kids are Alright РHow the gamer generation is changing the workplace by John C Beck and Mitchell Wade. 2006. Havard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Video Games – James Newman 2004, Routledge, New York, USA

Why Video Games are Good for your Soul РJames Paul Gee, 2005, Common Ground,  Australia

Defending the morality of violent video games –¬†Marcus Schulzke, 2010,¬†Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Playing for Real –¬†Video Games and Stories for Health-Related Behavior Change –¬†Tom Baranowski, Richard Buday, ¬†Debbe I. Thompson, ¬†Janice Baranowski.¬†2008, American Journal of Preventive Medicine

 

I found a lot more than that but so far these are the only useful ones.

Week Seven:

Currently the topic I’ve picked is this:

Does the extensive use of computer/video games have an adverse impact on the health of young people. What are the most recent papers? Clarify what all sides of the argument claim and only then offer your reasoned opinion based on facts.

Topics to cover:

What video games are? The Good verus The Bad.

The Good, 

Games can be a social thing now days. with X-box live etc.

The Bad

possible links to laziness and aggression, even violence in youth.

Go to the library and do a broad search on video games. 

The Last Post.

Where are we going?

Where are we going in the communication world? Free internet. Freedom of speech. To the future, dragging those who want to stop freedom of speech, (governments and people of power) kicking and screaming.

 

 

Week Six: The Singularity

Hungry Beast, is amazing. Everyone should watch it. This video is about the Singularity. It is eye opening. Is there hope for humanity yet? Or are we heading towards a Blade Runner Apocalypse.

Week Six: Hungry Beast, Things to think about.

Do we need them? Maybe we do.

Week Six: Task Two

  • Has anybody responded to your questionnaire from last week?

Only eight people took my survey. One of then skipped a question (about their age). I posted my survey on Facebook. I am a bit disappointed with my results. I had hoped that more people would have taken it.

  • What are the early indicators from your survey?

Everyone on my survey used Facebook. The age groups were, even at 42.9%( 3 in each group), 18-20 and 30+. Only one person was between the ages of 13-17. ¬†Five people said they knew all of their friends on¬†Facebook, three said they didn’t. ¬†Seven people said that used Facebook most. Next was popular was Tumblr (3) and only one use twitter. Four people have used Facebook to create and event, and four people have NOT created an event on Facebook. Seven people use the internet more than 6 hours a week, interesting one person uses it only 1-3 hours a week. I thought everyone would have used it more than 6hrs pw. Lastly, six people have Facebook on their phone, two do not.

This all indicates that, out of the people who did the survey, Facebook is the most popular of the social media websites. Age probably had a lot to do with whether the participants knew all their friends on Facebook, and the same with creating an event.

  • What are the characteristics of a “white hat” hacker?

I found this website had the best explanation. In my own words though, a white hat hacker is a hacker that finds security breach in a computer or network system and attacks it, to find the weakness and allow the owner to fix the problem. Some even get paid, others do it as a hobby. Some leave a calling card in the system other telephone or email the systems admin.

I was especially delighted to read the western heroes and villains link.

“White hat describes a¬†hacker¬†(or, if you prefer,¬†cracker) who identifies a security weakness in a computer system or network but, instead of taking malicious advantage of it, exposes the weakness in a way that will allow the system’s owners to fix the breach before it can be taken advantage by others (such as¬†black hat¬†hackers.) Methods of telling the owners about it range from a simple phone call through sending an e-mail note to a Webmaster or administrator all the way to leaving an electronic “calling card” in the system that makes it obvious that security has been breached.

While white hat hacking is a hobby for some, others provide their services for a fee. Thus, a white hat hacker may work as a consultant or be a permanent employee on a company’s payroll. A good many white hat hackers are former black hat hackers.

The term comes from old Western movies, where heros often wore white hats and the “bad guys” wore black hats.”

Source:<http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/white-hat>

  • Is Wikileaks a force for good in the world?

I’m not really sure if it is or not. Some people, like journalists, do think that¬†Wiki leaks¬†is a good thing. I think that a lot of information is kept¬†secret¬†for a reason. Journalists are around to challenge¬†governments and other figures of power and authority, to enlighten and expose the wrong-doings of these people to the public. That is what Wiki leaks really is, but I think sometimes there needs to be a line. If all depends on the information and the effect it will have on the people who the information is about and who it will effect. ¬†I think the idea was good but the¬†implementation¬†(like so many other things) failed and now Julian Assange is paying for it.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, AND KNOWLEDGE IS FOUND ON THE INTERNET. 

Week Six: Task One

What opportunities can you find for political participation via the internet. How many of the following can you achieve while sticking to your political beliefs?

  • Sign an e-petition.

I signed 5 petitions on the Queensland parliament website. <http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petitions>

Public housing РCaravan Parks    I just thought this was a good idea.

Car parking issues РNundah  The car parking at Nundah is just terrible. Something needs to be done about it.

Save “Fanfare” and “MOST” Queensland school music programs¬† I was never in any of these as a kid but I know people who were. They are important for children, they need something fun to do.

The need for a Royal Commission into Queensland Health  Not really sure what this petition is about but hopefully it will fix out pretty terrible health care system.

Defending civil unions in Queensland  Everyone has the right to be in a civil union!

  • ¬†What are the Australian Government’s plans to censor the internet (the so-called “Clean Feed”)?

<http://nocleanfeed.com/> I had no idea the Government was/is going to do this. The website explains that it (the ‘clean feed’) wouldn’t stop the trafficking of child¬†pornography, which is¬†essentially¬†what it’s goal is. It is a censorship, just like the¬†Chinese¬†have. I¬†definitely¬†will be protesting against this. I doubt it would even work properly, people could just proxy search for things. I would. Australian people shouldn’t be punished for the wrong-doings of a few. I think the idea was in the right place to save children being exploited, but I know it wouldn’t have worked properly. It would be like trying to put a band-aid on a cut to an artery.

  • ¬†What place does censorship have in a democracy?

Censorship, I believe, does not have a place in a democracy. The thought is in the right place, trying to protect people from seeing things they shouldn’t, but people need to think for themselves. It may start as censorship but end up as a blocking of information that should be freely accessed.

  • ¬†When will the NBN get to your place? What are the benefits?

My area (Bray Park), does not have the NBN and it doesn’t say when we will be getting it. There are plans to¬†commence¬†the NBN in the surrounding areas in one to three years. On the website it says that eventually the NBN will push for prices to go down on the internet providers. I’m not sure if it will work or not and honestly its another 3 years away. Hopefully it will work and Australia will have an internet connection that is of the same speed as those in other countries, America for example.

Week Four: Blade Runner

What are the key themes of Blade Runner? 

There are many themes in Blade Runner, the keys ones would be slavery, man vs machine, perfection, the soul and playing god. In this movie the Nexus 6 robots are the slaves and the humans are their masters. This is¬†similar¬†to the slavery of the¬†African¬†Americans¬†and the white¬†Americans. ¬†In the movie the Replicants are used as sex objects and manual laborers much like the African Americans were too. Ever since the theory of robots came about there has been this fear of robots and machines some how taking over the world and enslaving human beings as revenge, Blade Runner is no different. Ridley Scott has intertwined many references to religion in this movie. An English teacher¬†Michael¬†Martin¬†elaborates¬†“When Roy goes to Tyrell seeking longer life, Tyrell is dressed in a white robe, his room illuminated by white candles. His bed (modeled, incidentally, after the bed of Pope John Paul II) is likewise resplendent in white (Kerman 1991: 166). Tyrell is, quite literally, the replicant’s “creator.” (Martin, 2005). ¬† Roy even calls Tyrell God. This scene could be¬†associated¬†with being judged as worth or not to enter heaven. ¬†The soul is another interesting theme. Blade Runner does raise the questions, Do machines have a soul? and What defines a soul? The replicants have memories and feelings and even show affection to one another, just like humans do. Why shouldn’t they be¬†classified¬†as having a soul? Even though they are man made. If you are religious then you would believe that God created you and your soul. The¬†replicants¬†have a creator therefore they must have a soul. Shouldn’t they?

Source: Martin, M. (2005). Meditations on blade runner. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 17(1), 105-122. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/docview/195891550?accountid=14543

Is Deckard human or a replicant

A London newspaper said that Director Ridley Scott confirmed that Deckard (the main character played by Harrions Ford) is a replicant. Whether he knows it or not is another question.

 

Sources:

Deckard is a replicant. (2000, Jul 12). Standard РFreeholder, pp. 14-14. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/docview/353643565?accountid=14543