Do video games cause real world violence? Our readers have had their say on our Facebook Page. Erin Burnett of CNN made multiple attempts to coerce a psychologist into blame video games for the recent surge in gun violence, following the National Rifle Association's damning of this media form.
"There's a saying that guns don't kill people, videogames do," Burnett said. But the question must be asked more about this disconnect between media representation and public opinion. Why is Erin Burnett saying video games are the cause of violence, when researchers and the public have found no meaningful connection between the two? Why is Alan Titchmarsh condemning the over confusion of monitoring what your child plays, when the certification system is identical to what is used for film?
The opinions amongst you have been strong, and all have been unanimously to the defence of video games.
I threw the question to the fellow writers:
Harvey McDaniel: Video games don't make people violent, they are already before they get to play the games. If anything the games let them keep a lid on it by allowing them to act on the feelings in a controlled way that doesn't hurt anyone else.
Helen Gould: In a word, no. In several words, no, I don't think that the link has ever been conclusively proven, and I think it's fairly demonstrable that if there is strict control over guns there are a lot fewer gun deaths.
For example, compare the rate of gun crime in the UK to that in the US.
Siobhan Walker: No. It's a cop out. Same as it was to blame metal for murder in the 80's and horror films in the 90's. everyone is looking for something to blame. But maybe they should look closer to home?
Nick Jackson: I feel I should contribute something a bit more rigourous and well reasoned than "an absolute load of fucking shite".
Joe Armstrong: The fact that we have had gun crime longer than videogames, TV shows, or even mainstream media? Each generation is always concerned that the next one is going to be full of degenerates with no morales.
Mark Hepburn: There is no meaningful connection between the two. I play plenty of video games but it doesn't mean I wish to go around callously killing, and the same goes for everyone I know who plays them. Games are just another medium of entertainment - the anti-gamers (who need to lighten up) need to see this. The term moral panic comes to mind. It's like saying that watching Harry Potter will make you want to be a wizard: unrealistic.
Side points: Army recruitment off the back of video games, like that advert for the Marines all in first person mode, a la call of duty, is genuinely worrying. Drawing a line between reality and fantasy is the issue - and the basic summary for the first paragraph.
An additional point - the 'link' between video games, mall shootings, and mental health. Those who carry out said shootings tend to have mental problems, meaning that it could've been anything to trigger them. There was one where marilyn manson was blamed, another sick of it all, another Judas Priest.
Gun crime + video game violence = square pegs in round holes.
Have anything to say on the issue? Post in the comments, and be ready for another community segment next week!