I saw two very good articles recently about violence in video games.  The first was from Warren Spector.

The Ultra-violence Has to Stop

Miyamoto said something similar:

Miyamoto Talks the Competition at E3

Games have the power to teach us things on an emotional level.  When you are playing a game, your exposure to new information is wrapped within the context of your own actions.  That is, you take an action, and that action has consequences.  With each consequence, you learn new things.

We have to be honest with ourselves.  We can’t say that games have the power to influence the minds of learners in the classroom and on the job if we aren’t willing to admit that they influence the minds of players when they portray ultraviolent situations.  Players will often – too often – try to diminish the effect that exposure to violence in games can have on the minds of children.  In doing so, they inadvertently minimize the potential that games have to do good in the world.

Here is a short video on how video games affect behavior.

If we are a combination of nature and nurture, and are influenced by our surroundings, and if we are going to say that games can help learners, then we have to recognize that they can also be harmful.