Study: Claiming That Games And Violence Are Linked Now Linked To Violence

from the we've-gone-meta dept

You know how this usually works when we talk about major media and their comments on violent video games. One of the mindless talking heads on one of the cable news programs that I've been trying to convince you to never watch jumps to the wrong conclusion about games after some tragedy and then I make fun of them. It's been a nice, tidy, symbiotic relationship thus far: they apparently need to say something stupid and I apparently need to tear their nonsense to shreds.

But now we've got a problem. It turns out that these baseless claims that video games lead to violence may themselves be leading to violence.

"Dude, bro, what does that even mean?"
Image Source
Okay, so it's just a parody article by The Guardian, but it so closely mimics the real nonsense spewed by the media about video games that, like me, you'll probably read it through the first time and think it's plausible someone actually said this stuff. The joke starts with a claim of a study.
Dr Mario Vance, a psychological researcher at the Rapture Institute for headline-inspired science, conducted a seven-year longitudinal study that monitored the anger levels of more than a thousand volunteers from gaming communities. The results showed statistically significant increases in overall aggression and violent tendencies that occurred very soon after tenuous mainstream media stories claiming video games cause violence.

"Mainstream media have never liked video games, but it's just getting silly lately," said Dr Vance. "Recently, several media sources focused on Aaron Alexis (the Washington naval yard gunman) and his enthusiasm for Call of Duty as a cause for his brutal crimes. Because when wondering what could have made a naval reservist, someone trained by the military to engage in actions with the express intention of killing people, turn to violence, the obvious conclusion is 'video games', apparently.
This is something we've actually seen in our comments about these kinds of tragedies: why are we so focused on the video games, or the guns for that matter, instead of banking that the source of violence might be the violence-training some of these perpetrators receive in our military? This, of course, isn't to say that our military turns people into mass murderers or anything of that nature, but it's a much better direct link than the fact that these guys played Grand Theft Auto.

The article about the "study" then goes on with some rather funny quotes that parody some other counter-examples we've heard in our comments section.
"I used to enjoy multiplayer gaming. Granted, it expanded my vocabulary for homophobic insults considerably, but I've never felt the urge to travel to war-torn regions and practise my sniper skills for real. But my mother read that I could turn violent so confiscated my Playstation. One dubious article in the Telegraph and she decides I'm too impressionable. She owns four Derek Acorah DVDs and keeps asking her fortune teller what to do about me, so yeah, I'm the main problem here."
So, if it's a parody article, what's there to learn here? Well, the problem is that all the made up quotes, claims, and bullshit in this parody article aren't far off from what's being spoon-fed to the public by a mass media that would rather go the lazy self-serving route of scaring the hell out of parents than actually tell the truth about the link between games and violence, which is to say there is none. Sure, this pro-gamer article was pulled out of someone's ass, but if mass media can do it we can too.

Filed Under: satire, studies, video games, violence

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  1. icon
    Arioch (profile), 26 Sep 2013 @ 9:06pm


    Being somewhat of the "older persuasion" I do actually remember queuing up in the pub to play the original "pong" game.
    I graduated from that to "Space Invaders" and then onward via Defender/Galaxians, etc etc to wolfenstein 3D on my Dos 6.2 computer (I fondly remember dosshell). Since then, as technology has advanced, like many other people I have played more and more realistic,violent video games.
    While I still enjoy playing "legacy" games such as various versions of Quake/Doom/Halo/Wolfenstein/Call of Duty, I also enjoy playing many of the more recent games like Far Cry/Crysis and such.
    Despite many years of being exposed to this virtual violence there has not been a single instance where this has spilled into my RL, I've never shot anybody, punched and kicked them unconscious, or indeed even thought about it.
    I've had many attempts at Microsoft's Flight Simulator and the only conclusion I have drawn from that is I cannot fly a plane.

    Seriously, computer games are exactly what they say on the tin - a game.
    If you cannot differentiate between real life and a computer game then you are either sadly missing some mental faculties, or you are a politician (possibly both)

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