Published on January 10th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
New Study Confirms:Video Games Don’t Cause Violence
In this day and age, it shouldn’t take a scientific study to determine that video games are not a root cause of violence. But let’s face it, unless 12 scientists and a Supreme Court ruling finally get the point across that plopping Goombas on the head isn’t the root cause of angst-filled teens throughout the world, naysayers gonna nay. The observation spanned not only teens, but youth ages 10 to 14. The study does however echo a familiar tone that painted DOOM players as angry misunderstood youth and that, if you played DOOM, you wanted to kill people in real life. In the last decade we have seen quite the change in gaming, but we’ve also seen a new wave of gaming-aware parents break onto the scene.
At this point in my life, I can say that I’m not a parent, but I can also say that I have been an avid gamer for 98 percent of it. So, it is very true that I have been gaming before I even knew how to read. In fact, I can remember down to the point where I was playing Super Mario Bros. on my NES at the ripe age of two. Other than fighting over who will be “Player-1” or punching my brother a few times, I can’t say that the games ever made me do it. They never drove me to expend built up aggression because of fatalities, or bash in someone’s skull with the butt of a gun. To put it blatantly, they never angered me to the point where I wanted to reenact the things that I saw on screen.
Bruce Lee on the other hand left me to practice roundhouse kicks on my friends, and showcase my mastery of nun-chucks on my friends. All of this while demonstrating his infamous battles howls and cries. Rather than blaming video games as a root cause of aggression, it was more like learning to share, wanting my way, or simply just being a growing kid.
I do understand however, that kids these days have a very different contrast of technology. At the age where I was just learning how to change my profile on AIM and grow my buddy list, the current generation of techies are uploading YouTube videos and putting their whole life on a wall. The mere obsession of a social network is enough to drive some kids crazy.
Thanks to a study at Texas A&M and the Journal of Psychiatric Research, we now, more like they, now have the evidence on paper that only confirms what many have been defending for years.
A note from U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association/ESA: “Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively.”
Surprise, Surprise. For most that have been defending this position for years, it’s great to finally have the Supreme Court give a nod in our favor. The prior ruling only confirms a bigger “I told you so” picture from gamers everywhere. Not to delve into the politics of blame, but particularly in our society today, it is always easy to place the blame on “something” or “someone” else. Similar to culprits of crimes, the person rarely feel sorry for their wrongdoings, and most find themselves simply feeling bad that they got caught.
Finding a scapegoat for little Janie or Billy becomes more valuable than realizing you were a sucky parent. It seems to me that sitting down with, instead of using games as a pacifier, might be a great way to relate. You know, instead of wasting funding to study something that was right under our noses. Who knows, these interactions might lead to conversations, which may even lead you to discover something about your child’s life. Heck, you might even discuss with them the wondrous world of common sense.
The ESA article also notes:
Last month, Professor Christopher Ferguson and several of his Texas A&M International University colleagues published a study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research finding no long-term link between violent video games and youth aggression or dating violence. The study involved a sample of 165 youth between the ages of 10 and 14 who were tested three separate times over a three-year period. Ferguson’s team used a series of measurement tools to assess participants’ violent video game exposure as well as antisocial personality traits, family attachment and delinquent peers; exposure to domestic violence; depression and mental health; and instances of dating violence. When controlling for these behavioral and environmental factors, the researchers affirmed that exposure to video game violence was not related to youth aggression, and that depression, antisocial personality traits, family violence and peer influences were in fact the best predictors of aggression.
Now more than ever we see video games becoming iconic in pop-culture and even utilized as tools. Being that they have become more popularized, it is possible that the former negativity that surrounded gaming has been subdued due to their break into homes, and even schools, across America. But, if I hear one more person say they love playing Angry Birds, I could hurt them, angrily.
The source for this information was from an ESA article titled “NEW STUDIES CONFIRM GAMES DO NOT CAUSE YOUTH VIOLENCE”