Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

November 15, 2010 -

In a response to a recent Tampa Tribune Editorial Board editorial backing California's efforts to ban the sale of violent video games to minors (called "Videos kids shouldn't play"), psychologist (and associate professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Texas A&M International University) Christopher Ferguson pens a strong series of counter-points.

Among the litany of valid points made by Ferguson, is the emphasis on the fact that science just does not support what the state of California is trying to prove; a conclusive correlation between playing violent video games and violent behavior.

Instead of running down all of Ferguson's points, here are a few samples from the article:

As video games have soared in popularity, youth violence has plummeted to 40-year lows. Of course, video games are probably not the cause of this decline, but we now know video games have not sparked a youth violence crisis. The best studies that are coming out – those that carefully consider youth violence or youth mental health, find little to no evidence of harmful effects.

It's probably time to discard this hypothesis.

Another strong point is about Postal. Here's what Ferguson thinks about it:

The state of California (and the Tribune) makes references to a single game, Postal. Indeed, this is a vicious game morally unsuitable for minors. However, I've reviewed research databases of my own and colleague Cheryl Olson and the Pew Research Foundation in which children report on games they play. Of approximately 2,500 children, not one reported playing Postal or its sequel. So California is paying millions of dollars (which could have gone to children in need and families at risk or used to not lay off thousands of teachers) to prevent children from playing a game they already don't play.

Read the whole thing here.


Comments

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

From the article:

"A law that distracts us from real causes of youth violence and diverts precious money from education and mental health into a law that will help no one is what is truly harmful."

Thank you. God, thank you.

Everyone, please circulate this article to as many of your friends as you can. Not only is it a breath of reason and sanity in a drowning sea of ignorance over the California law, but is, in its own way, a commentary on public understanding of scientific findings and fear-mongering news reporting in general.

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

 The fact youth violence decreased so much should be the end of the entire debate.  Obviously, the anti-games people don't care about the facts, but the industry has been very lax in promoting this critical piece of information.

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

The problem is that those are just the reported youth crime statistics.  People like Jacko have claimed that the youth violence problem is so big that most of it goes unreported. There's no real way to prove him wrong about that (even though he almost certainly is).

 

 

http://www.popularculturegaming.com

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

Well I could buy that lots of violent crimes go unreported.  But even if that's true, the youth violence statistics are still valid in tracking trends over time.  Unless you had some rationale for why crime would be reported less often than 20 years ago (given massive efforts to destigmatize victimization, if anything, the opposite should be more likely). 

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

Yes, there is.

"Who are you?"

"jack Thompson"

"then you are wrong sir"

 

Problem solved

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

LOL, good ol´ Jack Thompson mockering. His ideas still make us laugh.

------------------------------------------------------------ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

"The fact youth violence decreased so much should be the end of the entire debate."

Not necessarily.  Who's to say that without violent video games, youth violence would not have decreased even more?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

Who's to say that without macaroni and cheese we wouldn't have achieved world peace in the seventies? I declare that sports drinks are why we haven't sent a man to Mars yet. Prove me wrong. 

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

Uh, we didn't achieve world peace in the 70s.

Anyway, here's a fact: as violent games have become more numerous and detailed in their depictions of violence, youth crime has gone down.

However, that's simply a correlation.  It's an interesting fact to point out but it's not a debate-ender.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

I think its intended more a counter to claims that video games have a massive impact on youth violence (10-30% according to Strasburger, 2007). 

 

So it's meant to "kill" the absurd arguments, not necessarily "reasonable" arguments.  However it's the absurd arguments that too often are being made by scholars and filtering down to the general public. 

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

Sure, but again, it's not a debate-ender.  Unless the debate is "youth crime has been on the rise since violent games were introduced."

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

No I'm not saying it's a debate-ender.  Neither is it an unimportant piece of evidence (although in fairness I don't think that was your point...not trying to straw man you).  I do think the violent crime data gets shoved into a black/white mentality.  Either it ends the debate or its unimportant (again I'm not saying that's what you said, but certainly the Anderson/Gentile crowd try to make that argument...and in a way that's hypocritical).  When folks make claims that 10-30% of crime can be attributed to media violence (as folks like Huesmann, Strasburger and others have done), they "open the door" for consideration of youth violence (and general violence) statistics.  Similarly many media violence scholars (Anderson, Bushman, Centerwall) happily pointed to violent crime rates while they were rising, only to hypocritically arguing they're unimportant once they are on the decline.

We're probably arguing over details despite being 80% in agreement, but...debate ender...no.  Worthwhile and important piece of that debate...absolutely yes.

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

Agreed.  Not unimportant, not un-notable, not uninteresting, just not a debate-ender.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

Probably because they know they've done nothing wrong and feel no need to prove it.

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

I think the California Lawyer actually said that Madworld would "probably" be covered.  So the law is even more useless because with the exception of Postal 2, they couldn't reliably name another game that would trigger the law, and even the games that would "probably" be covered, no kids played them anyway.

 

-------

Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

Considering that Postal 2 was supposedly satire, that would mean that not even that would be covered by the California law due to it having merit. This thing really is useless.

Re: Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

To be fair, CA did namedrop Madworld too but looking at that game's sales numbers, I don't think any kids played that one either.

 

Andrew Eisen

 
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Mattsworknameohh, gods that game is pretty, just not my style these days07/29/2015 - 11:49pm
Andrew EisenUbisoft's Child of Light.07/29/2015 - 11:45pm
MattsworknameEnjoy man, Im gonna be playing split second myself07/29/2015 - 11:45pm
Andrew EisenSorry. That just slipped out. Off to play.07/29/2015 - 11:43pm
Andrew EisenWords have meanings, people! Use the damn dictionary! They're online! They're free! Arrggghhhh!07/29/2015 - 11:42pm
Andrew EisenThis is just depressing. I'm gonna go play video games.07/29/2015 - 11:42pm
Mattsworknameproliferation of the whole "internet movment" thing, people dont debate, they try to attack and go after peole to shut them down, casue it's easier then trying to debate the issues07/29/2015 - 11:39pm
MattsworknameWhen you break it down, what it is is the shifting of the media lanscape and how it effects news sites and other groups. once upon a time, you could have run that same article and it would have created debate, not online campagns, now, cause of the07/29/2015 - 11:38pm
MattsworknameCall it waht you wil, but thats how its viewed, not just by me, but by just about EVERYONE right now. Media, new networks, they dont' want to call it what it is, soe they call it "accountability"07/29/2015 - 11:34pm
Andrew Eisen"Gamasutra... had to pay" Yes. That's EXACTLY what it was. "Accountability" is and always was horse poop.07/29/2015 - 11:29pm
MattsworknameSo to speak07/29/2015 - 11:28pm
MattsworknameThats why this happened, you get people who felt hurt, marginalize, bettrayd, or otherwise offended, and they don't actually look at teh facts, they just attack and try to get there Blood for Blood07/29/2015 - 11:28pm
Mattsworknamefalse. Weather you think the article was right or not, there was a large group who felt taht gamastura and the other media sites had to pay for there actions, weather they deserved it or not07/29/2015 - 11:27pm
Andrew EisenTrying to yank advertising over a single opinion piece on a site that I would bet money most of the offended (if you will) didn't read, is no more an attempt at accountability than the Brown shooting's subsequent riots.07/29/2015 - 11:27pm
MattsworknameMy point andrew is that it's not about them, its about the people responding to the situation. THe brown shooting was eventually shown to be completely justified, but the "Black lives matter" meme kept on rolling despite all it's intiall claims being07/29/2015 - 11:26pm
Andrew EisenDude, you're comparing an opinion piece with someone who was shot to death. Gamasutra and Alexander already were accountable for the opinion piece in question.07/29/2015 - 11:25pm
Mattsworknamekinds of events. nor has it stopped them from being asshats in my opinion, but in there view, they have to hold someone accountible for recent events, so they are doing what they think they must, even if it's based on falsehoods07/29/2015 - 11:22pm
MattsworknameAndrew: It's really a matter of context for the people involved. For example. The "Black lives matter" thing is based on an entirely false account of events in the brown shooting, but that hasnt' stopped it from triyng to hold Polititcians accountable for07/29/2015 - 11:22pm
Andrew EisenWouldn't surprise me. A lot of words' actual meanings escape many people on the internet.07/29/2015 - 11:17pm
Andrew EisenSo, "they must be held accountable" means "we must hurt them for publishing an opinion piece we don't like."07/29/2015 - 11:17pm
 

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