from the wait,-what? dept
It just keeps coming. More and more news items are hitting my eyeballs and ears about violence and video games. We recently discussed the problem with polling adults over this issue, where a giant age-rift still exists amongst gaming habits and that rift appeared to be tossed out for the purposes of the poll in question. Polls like that might be laughable at first, but when you begin to see misplaced legislation introduced by politicians kowtowing to the results, we've got a problem. But let's take it one possibly controversial step further and ask an important question regarding these polls: do Americans generally have any credibility on the question at all?
Polls like this recent Harris poll, where over half of American adults link violence and video games, make me question whether that is the case. The problem I have isn't that specific result. If half of Americans think there's a link, that's their right. I can disagree with it, but I won't quibble with their right to believe. No, my problem is the results of the follow up questions regarding the ESRB rating system.
Two thirds of US adults said they used the ESRB system to help them decide which games were suitable for their children, although only 14 percent claimed to fully understand what the guidelines meant. 18 percent of adult said they mostly, but not completely understood the ESRB ratings system.To highlight the absurdity of the respondents, one needs only place all this in a single sentence. Over half of adults believe violence and video games are linked, two thirds of them use an ESRB system, which less than 80% even claim to mostly understand, to decide which games to buy for their children. This isn't to say that the ESRB rating convention isn't without its problems, but come on. If half of adults think there's a link between children and violence, but can't be bothered to mostly understand the rating system (which isn't that complicated), then there's a disconnect somewhere. Either adults don't actually think the link exists, or else they don't really consider the link to be all that important.
Either way, it doesn't speak to the credibility of the American public on the issue, which is sad.