The hysteria surrounding video game violence reached its apex this week when Vice President Joe Biden held a conference with major video game publishers on Friday, followed this Wednesday by President Obama’s statement to Congress to investigate the effect of violent video games on young minds:
And while year after year, those who oppose even modest gun safety measures have threatened to defund scientific or medical research into the causes of gun violence, I will direct the Centers for Disease Control to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it — and Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds. We don’t benefit from ignorance. We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence.
The Centers for Disease Control started down this path with a brief on aggression in 2009, titled “Electronic Media and Youth Violence”:
Although research on electronic aggression is just starting to emerge, a much larger and established literature on other forms of aggression experienced and committed by adolescents exists. Increasing the understanding of the co-occurrence and commonality between electronic aggression and other forms of aggression and the unique aspects of electronic aggression will inform potential effective prevention approaches for electronic aggression. Studies need to further explore the following: a) the relationship of electronic aggression to other types of violence, such as in-person bullying, relational aggression, physical aggression, and sexual harassment; and, b) the relationship between electronic aggression and exposure to violence through the media and in the home, school, and neighborhood environments. This research will aid in the conceptualization of electronic aggression, determining whether or not electronic aggression is a discrete phenomenon or another type of aggression along the continuum of violence.
Although several studies have already proven that video game violence is not responsible for school shootings, Biden’s message was clear: as a major entertainment channel in the U.S., video games producers should be held accountable for the content they produce focusing on minors. MyGaming.co.za explained:
In the US, gaming generated $17.02 billion (±R130 billion) in 2011, according to the NPD Group, while movie sales in the US generated $9.42 billion (±R72 billion) according to The-Numbers.com.
In other words, the video game industry is over two times more influential than the movie industry in the U.S. Politicians will treat them accordingly.
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