Wednesday, 5 August 2015

"Video Games cause violence!" cries America

How many times have Video games been blamed for the actions of a violent person? In America it’s quite a lot. In fact, looking at where most of the debates, arguments, finger pointing and blame is made, is in America. Most studies that “prove” a link between real life violence and video game violence are conducted by American institutes and media coverage on events of real life violence ‘linked’ with video games is extremely high in America. So, what’s going on?

Well first off, what I’m getting at here is that the big debate of Violence in video games is a big cultural problem in America. I base this off the fact that as someone who lives outside of America, I rarely hear of instances of violence being blamed on video games, but looking for instances where it is, more than the majority of information I find is linked to America.  So why is that? Why does America has such a fixation on this topic? Well unfortunately I was unable to find any reliable material on why the debate of links between real life violence and video game violence is so relevant in America, just blogs and opinions. However I did find an Interesting study done by Christopher J. Ferguson of the Texas A&M International University (  The overall point of this study was to see if there was a bias when publishing articles related to video games and real life violence. Ferguson found that an article ‘proving’ a link between video games and violence was more likely to be published than one that disproved this linked. So one possible reason for America’s fixation on this topic is that there is more information on links proving the connection thus seeming to make it a more valid point.  On another point of most studies proving a link between violence and video games is that most only go so far as to prove a link between violent thoughts and violent video games, almost none (including longitudinal studies) report on actual acts of violence  but instead focus on immediate or intermediate feeling and thoughts of aggression, frustration and sadness. While this may prove that there is a link between violence in video games and violent thoughts or feelings, it doesn’t prove a link to actual acts of violence, and that action is what the debate is all about. This makes any research that concludes a link between the two invalid unless it does show a relation between violent games and violent acts not just thoughts and feelings.      

So perhaps bias and misinformation is what makes it such a relevant topic in America. Even America’s media is more likely to report on stories that ‘prove links’ between violence and video games. Look at the Sandy Hook Shooting, one of the first things the media reported being the cause of it was video games despite there being no real evidence to prove this ( In fact when you look at America’s crime rates and the popularity of video games you can see that as video games gained popularity, real life violence dropped ( a surprising contradiction to how American media portrays acts of violence. 

While there are a lot more factors that could be taken in account when talking about links between violent games and real life violence in America (Gun control being one of the biggest problems) you can’t really deny that America has a weird obsession with this topic and there has to some reason for that.

Have a look at Healthcare Triage’s view
CNN reported on this stuff too

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