Harris Poll: Older Americans More Likely to Assume Link Between Game Violence and Youth Violence

February 27, 2013 -

Earlier this week, we reported on a new Harris Poll that said, among other things, that 58% of 2,278 U.S adults (ages 18+) think that there's a correlation between playing violent games and violent behavior in teenagers.  Many of us were wondering exactly how the question that prompted that response was phrased.

Now we know.  The question was "How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement?: There is a link between playing violent video games and teenagers showing violent behavior."

The 58% who agreed with that statement are composed of two groups: 27% who "Strongly agree" and 31% who "Somewhat agree."  Interestingly, the older the respondent was, the more likely they were to "strongly" or "somewhat" agree.  Here's how those numbers shook out:

Ages 67+ Ages 48-66 Ages 36-47 Ages 18-35
71% 64% 53% 46%

 

Also, perhaps unsurprisingly, respondents who didn't play video games, didn't have children, or had children that didn't play video games were more likely to agree that there's some sort of link between playing violent games and acting violently in real life.

The Harris Poll also reports that 32% of respondents understand "Everything" or "A lot" about video game ratings compared to 77% and 50% for movies and TV ratings respectively.  Again, the older the respondent, the less likely they were to understand any of the ratings.

  Ages 67+ Ages 48-66 Ages 36-47 Ages 18-35
Game Ratings 5% 18% 41% 58%
TV Ratings 31% 48% 60% 57%
Movie Ratings 63% 77% 80% 81%

 

And once again, respondents who didn't play games, had no children, or had kids that didn't play games were less likely to understand any of the rating systems.

Finally, let's look at confidence in the rating system.  What was asked was "how confident are you in the ability of these rating systems to prevent children from being exposed to inappropriate content?"

47% of respondents were "Not at all confident" in the video game ratings while the rest were "A little confident" (22%), "Somewhat confident" (22%) or "Very confident" (10%).  Total lack of confidence in movie and TV ratings were 28% and 37% respectively.

As expected, confidence in the ratings decreased with age and with those who didn't play games, had no children, or had children who didn't play games.

Interestingly, 90% "strongly" or "somewhat" agreed that "Parents should be the chief regulators when it comes to what video games children are allowed to play."  Age wasn't much of a factor when it came to this opinion.

Ages 67+ Ages 48-66 Ages 36-47 Ages 18-35
89% 93% 88% 87%

 

You can check out all of the numbery goodness of Harris Interactive's poll results right here.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

 

How much do you agree or disagree with the following: "There is a link between playing violent video games and teenagers showing violent behavior." - See more at: http://www.gamepolitics.com/#sthash.XvWBbBWO.dpuf
How much do you agree or disagree with the following: "There is a link between playing violent video games and teenagers showing violent behavior." - See more at: http://www.gamepolitics.com/#sthash.XvWBbBWO.dpuf
How much do you agree or disagree with the following: "There is a link between playing violent video games and teenagers showing violent behavior." - See more at: http://www.gamepolitics.com/#sthash.XvWBbBWO.dpuf
How much do you agree or disagree with the following: "There is a link between playing violent video games and teenagers showing violent behavior." - See more at: http://www.gamepolitics.com/#sthash.XvWBbBWO.dpuf
How much do you agree or disagree with the following: "There is a link between playing violent video games and teenagers showing violent behavior." - See more at: http://www.gamepolitics.com/#sthash.XvWBbBWO.dpuf

Comments

Re: Harris Poll: Older Americans More Likely to Assume Link ...

Speaking as a 50 year-old, back in the 1970s, I was likely one of the only kids in my entire school to play computer/console games. So it's not surprising to me that my age group and above are fearful of video games' influence: people irrationally fear what they don't know. And even the 36-47 age group hardly grew up with videogames everywhere. What surprises me is the relatively high percentages of older people who did NOT agree that "There is a link between playing violent video games and teenagers showing violent behavior."

I am glad to see that people who have grown up with videogames (the 18-35 year-olds) have not been taken in by this latest moral panic.

Re: Harris Poll: Older Americans More Likely to Assume Link ...

I love the fact that I can associate myself with damn near every "moral panic", even those before I was born: I play D&D and violent video games, read comic books (the one that pre-dates me), and still listen to all that 'devil music'.

And I turned out alright. *twitch* :D

Re: Harris Poll: Older Americans More Likely to Assume Link ...

Well spoken. 44 myself and a parent to boot. This is just another episode of Elvis gyrating pelvis that our parents grew up with that caught a lot of flack from our grandparents. You hit the nail on the head though, people fear/blame what they don't know and video games are the blame de jour lately which is ridiculous because a good book is far more impression-able than a movie or video game could ever be.

 
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