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. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2013 @ 1:31pm

    The facts speak for themselves. Call of Duty has sold over 100 million copies, but we have yet to see anywhere near that number of mass murderers.

    I'd say the more likely cause of violence is poor economic conditions. I would then go on to argue that politicians are responsible for poor economic conditions.

    Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that poor economic policies passed by the politicians themselves, are one of the main contributing factors to widespread violence and mass killings.

    Remember, guns don't kill people. Desperate people kill people.

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