Video Games In The Crosshairs

Responding to Joe Nocera’s NYT op-ed on violent video games, Scott Shackford rejects the argument for government intervention:

According to Pew Research study from 2008, 97 percent of American teens play video games. That’s somewhere around 40 million (depending on how you define a teen). Even if the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings could be tied back to violent video games, or Nehemiah Griego in New Mexico allegedly murdering his family in January, these guys are statistically insignificant when compared to the entire population of those who play video games.

Game designer Daniel Greenberg believes the industry hasn’t done a great job defending itself:

Even before the recent mass shootings, Congressmen Joe Baca and Frank Wolf wanted to place advisory labels on all games, even games with no violent content: “WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.” It’s as if no one told them that the Supreme Court already threw out every one of those “links,” finding that “These studies have been rejected by every court to consider them, and with good reason.”

That “good reason” includes the fact that the tests that some researchers use to measure aggression have never actually been validated for aggression, just for competiveness. At best, all the anti-game researchers can show is that imaginary violence leads only to imaginary violence. At no time can they show that imaginary violence ever crosses over to cause actual violence. Or even real aggression. Just competiveness.