Sorry for the ALL CAPS there but I just had to place extra emphasis on that word. You see, what with all the shootings and violent incidents that we have been witnessing in the past few years, it seems that a lot of people are pointing their fingers at video games. I suppose that with games such as GTA IV being quite popular, it is quite understandable that the uninformed may draw conclusions in that direction. Yet do these claims stand up to closer perusal?

Recently, a researcher from the Texas A&M International University published an article in the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling. This was the main resource used by the guys at IGN to point out ““ rather emphatically ““ that video games are not necessarily the cause of violent and aggressive behavior. To quote:

The Entertainment Consumers Association blog pulled some interesting information from the article, including the notion of “moral panic,” which the author of the journal article, Prof. Christopher Ferguson says often colors mainstream views of videogames and their perceived link to violent behavior.

Moral panics may emerge from ‘culture wars’ occurring in a society… politicians, news media and social scientists, arguably [have] motives for promoting hysterical beliefs about media violence, and video games specifically. Actual causes of violent crime, such as family environment, genetics, poverty, and inequality, are oftentimes difficult, controversial, and intractable problems. By contrast, video games present something of a ‘straw man’ by which politicians can create an appearance of taking action against crime…

How many studies do we need to convince people that there are so many factors involved in anti-social behavior and that video games cannot be held solely responsible?

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