I find the whole 'violence in media affecting youth' argument fascinating.
Advertisers spend billions on getting short snippets of messages to change our thinking and habits. They do it because it works. So to say that spending hours being lost in a story of bloodshed and violence, let alone being immersed as a character in a simulation of it, has no effect on our thinking and habits whatsoever seems ludicrous. But on the other hand, most people who watch/play violent media do not seem to lash out at all. So to what degree does it affect us?
Personally, I think violent movies/games has the potential to "plant seeds" in a person's mind. Most people have moral judgment, and need to meet society's expectations (out of personal responsibility, and/or fear of repurcussions). These act as barriers to prevent the "seeds" from taking root and causing the person to recreate versions of them in reality. However, if for some reason those barriers are broken down - because of mental disease, drugs, severe stress, societal collapse, etc...perhaps even a combination of these circumstances - these experiences may cause the person to lash out in strange, and truly horrible ways.
I remember a report of two young men (I believe 18 and 21) in Florida, who decapitated two young children (8 and 10) of the woman one of them was seeing with a kitchen knife. Drugs may have been involved, possibly stress and anger over a situation between the man and the mother, and violence against children is sadly nothing new. But Police in the area said they had never seen anything remotely like this. It was a whole new level of brutality even the most seasoned of them had never encountered. What caused these cretins to carry out such a sick and sadistic act? Only a month or so earlier, the video of the beheading of Daniel Pearl - also by knife - went viral on the internet.
Another more recent phenomenon is the "zombie attacks", which have been attributed to mind-altering drugs (usually bath salts). It seems that once the drug took over, the individuals carried out some strange fantasy buried in their mind. The most likely root of this idea (IMO) was some form of the legion of "flesh-eating zombie" movies/games that have been readily available for decades.
Edited by D-Money, 25 October 2012 - 11:56 AM.