Saturday, December 11, 2004

Bloody Ridiculous

I was just watching CNN, and they have yet another jackass on screen talking about how violent videogames lead to agression in children.

Now, as it happens, this was another topic I wrote about this term. I'm not going to pretend to be qualified to voice an expert opinion on this matter, but there are some simple, basic facts available to any one who wants to find them.
1) Videogames become more and more popular every year, yet youth violence is actually trending down in the US.
2) All videogames have an ESRB rating, and upwards of 80% are bought by or with parents in attendance.
3) Lab tests showing increased agression in young kids after playing videogames are useless for determing the long-term effects of prolonged exposure to violent media.

Now, obviously I'm not impartial on this score, but I've been playing violent videogames for more than a decade now. More than that, the games I favor (strategy) usually allow me to engage in genocide on a massive scale. Yet somehow, I still know that the holocaust was wrong. Hmmm. Further, the idea that the Columbine shooters were influenced by playing Doom in 1999 means very little. If anything, it means they should have been playing the more recent video games. I mean, really. Playing a five year old videogame? They must have been driven mad by the lack of 3d rendering.

Finally, as I've mentioned to my father, it was the journalism industry, not the videogame industry, that coined the phrase "If it bleeds, it leads." Not that I imagine I'll ever hear a reporter admit that might be relevant...

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