Dr. Oz Claims Violent Video Games 'Hurt' Teens; Backs Up Claims With Absolutely Nothing At All

from the Wii-Sports-awarded-custody-of-teens-after-years-of-abuse-by-CoD dept

You know what people just absolutely love? When someone makes bold proclamations and then dances off into the ether without providing a single supporting source for their statements. You'd think someone highly touted in the medical community would at least be able to provide a link or a searchable source for something as brash as this, but from the looks of it, you'd be the only one thinking.

Via Gamepolitics comes this delightfully horrible column, written by Dr. Mehmet Oz (TV's "Dr. Oz") and his colleague, Dr. Mike Roizen (chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute). Its title makes an unequivocal statement before moving on at a breakneck pace to its conclusion, utilizing a combination of unsourced stats and unproven conjecture.

Here's the title:

It's official (again)- violent video games hurt teens
A quick read through the column (and it is a quick read) shows that Oz and Roizen aren't too keen on providing any sort of backup for this claim (much less the fact that it's "again"). Nowhere in the 300 words or so will you find links, quotes or citations of any sort. Here's the opening paragraph, which gives readers some insight into the doctors' mindset, but not much else.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (dismembered limbs, obscene language, torture) and Hitman: Absolution (can you really absolve a hit man?) -- $13.6 billion is spent annually in North America so that more than 210 million folks can play video games like these. Many of those players are younger than 18, and that's, you know, way bad for kids and teens.
No. I don't know. Perhaps if you could point me to some research (preferably nothing by Craig Anderson) that shows how video games are "way bad" for kids and teens. Also, a majority of the 210 million gamers are over the age of 18, which is who these games are targeted at (and rated for).

But let's not dwell on the lack of evidence indicating games hurt teens (again) by "fueling aggressive behavior, dulling empathy and causing sleep problems." (Parents: are your teens aggressive, self-centered and up all hours of the night? Welcome to Life with a Teenager, a.k.a. Why the Hell Did I Decide to Have Kids? Take away video games and I would imagine the hormonal developments, myopic worldview common to that age group and erratic sleep patterns wouldn't be altered in any significant fashion.)

Let's move on to the doctors' next point, which is also dropped unceremoniously (and without sources) into the mix.
And if you think you know what's going on with your kids, think again. Most parents say they're pretty sure of what their kids are doing online, but 50 percent of kids report having inappropriate-age-rated games ("M" for "mature" and "AO" for "adults only") among their often-played favorites.
And this "50 percent" was determined how? Rounding up the interns and asking them what percentage of a whole would they find both "scary" and "believable?" Who would dispute this "finding?" Who could dispute this "finding?" There's nothing to work with.

It would be one thing if a psychologist made a few unsourced claims based on first-hand experience with the subject matter (kids, video games), but when a surgeon and a chief medical officer make bold statements about the effect of violent games on kids, they need to bring a little bit more to the discussion than a willingness to fill a column with words.

On the plus side, the doctors don't take the government or retailers to task for kids' access to M-rated games. (Though I wonder where these kids are getting "AO" games... Certainly not from any major retailer.) Instead, they ask parents to get involved and aim children towards other activities, rather than allowing the Xbox/PS3/Wii to fill in as full-time caregivers. This is the only part of the column that actually contains good advice and no ridiculous, unsourced statements.

Maybe this substance-free column is an offshoot of Dr. Oz's love of homeopathy -- the weaker the sources, the stronger the argument. No sources at all possibly means his proclamations are completely unassailable. Well played, sir.

Filed Under: mehmet oz, mike roizen, video games, violence, violent video games

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  1. icon
    special-interesting (profile), 11 Jun 2013 @ 10:29pm

    Dr Oz is credited with several medical firsts. Probably the most civilly valuable is the medical collaboration examination open to the public. (MCEOP) This is the collection of many specialist doctors that examine and diagnose the fears/symptoms of everyday/distressed/homeless people.

    Such an incredibly difficult and far reaching effort is hard to criticize.

    Also considering how expensive and special such a gathering of medical specialists is there is so much to be appreciative of. Such an effort paid for by an individual would cost many thousands of dollars. (Many! As in +6000)

    This is the same basic concept that is used when a patient is brought unconscious to the hospital. (and has insurance)

    He did/arranged this for free. This type of effort needs to be duplicated in every town and metropolis!

    Keeping in ming that this does not apply to other disciplines... -claps and cheers- (wildly)

    Message to any who play violent/destructive games. Build and not destroy. Create and not dismantle. Prolong life and not kill.

    Do you think thats hard? (good/great.) Great! Welcome to life. Its so very (verrrrry) much harder to create/build things than to destroy them.

    Dr. Oz promotes natural and organic alternatives to big pharma. Wow that has to be professionally difficult considering the pharma based lunch time sales incentive that big pharma can afford.

    Do not expect Dr. Oz to be correct in every instance. Such is common knowledge progress. As a society we grow in spite of the snake oil claims of big pharma.

    Is there controversy about some diet/exercise program? So what! Old hat. Eat what your intelligence says is good, Exercise more than you think is necessary (everyday). [kick]

    Personal motive; live longer than the rest of the idiots. Please.

    -More claps and cheers.-


    Did Dr Oz make a mistake when talking about violent based role playing games? Maybe.

    In such an analysis we are entering the realm of psychology. An area that even psychologists do not know. Except when talking about power and pride psychology will always be a mystery.

    Humanity (in general) is undecipherable. Especially when talking about “tendencies”.

    Its bad when we enjoy killing. Yes. Even in a game. EA, Doom and others have a lot to learn. (and so do we)

    What we really need is a game where we create/discover/spawn individual greatness. (incredible metaphorical explosion)

    Go for it! In the name of greatness. Please develop a game that explores the greatness of civilization and does not DRM it to death. (Foot in EA/other ass.) (pay me)

    Is Dr, Oz wrong about video game violence? Maybe. Is he right? Maybe. Its a gray area. A good controversy.

    Morality? What a concept. How do we grow up without enslaving the rest who do not? Compassion and love? Embrace me.

    What are game slayings? In reality we need to 'slay' our thoughts. Thoughts are desires. A desire is a want for (example food like Wendy's) a material thing. We typically WANT desires in the animal way that we are humans.


    Bad parenting is no excuse for bad government.

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