There’s nothing new about a few blaming video games for shootings, the outrage has existed since at least 1976, when people were driving cars over stick figures in Death Race.
Now someone is telling President Trump that video games are among the factors driving people to commit mass shootings, like the ones in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, this weekend.
Whoever it is, stop it, stop it right now.
In a public address Monday morning, President Trump said, “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”
However, research shows that connections between the two are practically non-existent.
Since the 90s, sales of video games have increased while incidents of youth homicide have dropped.
A report by the Secret Service and Department of Education found that, out of dozens of mass shootings, only 12% of perpetrators showed interest in violent video games.
Just this year Oxford University concluded in a study that no correlation exists between the amount of time someone spends playing video games and their predilection towards committing violent acts.
Even the Trump administration released a report in 2018 showing little support for linking video games with mass shootings. But despite this and a growing body of evidence, lawmakers—including House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick—cited violent video games as a driver behind the Dayton and El Paso shootings.
After the 1999 Columbine shooting, investigators discovered the two gunmen enjoyed playing Doom, a multiplayer shooting game. Since then, some have perpetuated the connection between the two.
The American Psychological Association released a statement discouraging politicians and journalists from connecting video games to mass shootings.
“Study after study has established that there is no causal link between video games and real-world violence,” the Entertainment Software Association said.
According to a New York Times report: ‘In a 2005 essay for PBS, Henry Jenkins, a professor at the University of Southern California, said that juvenile crime in the United States was at a 30-year low even though large numbers of young people play video games.’
“Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population,” he wrote. When it comes to video games, he said, “the overwhelming majority of kids who play do not commit antisocial acts.”
According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 49 percent of American adults — including roughly equal numbers of men and women — play video games, whether on a computer, a TV, a gaming console, or a portable device like a cellphone or an iPad.
In 2013, The New York Times looked at research on whether games negatively affect long-term behavior, and more recent science does not contradict these findings.
A burst of new research has begun to clarify what can and cannot be said about the effects of violent gaming. Playing the games can and does stir hostile urges and mildly aggressive behavior in the short term. Moreover, youngsters who develop a gaming habit can become slightly more aggressive — as measured by clashes with peers, for instance — at least over a period of a year or two.
Yet it is not at all clear whether, over longer periods, such a habit increases the likelihood that a person will commit a violent crime, like murder, rape or assault, much less a Newtown-like massacre. (Such calculated rampages are too rare to study in any rigorous way, researchers agree.)
The argument that violent video games are to blame for real-world violence has been rejected by conservative titans including Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2011, the Supreme Court rejected the claim that violent video games promote real-life violence when it ruled 7 to 2 in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association that California could not ban the sale of violent video games to children.
“Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively,” said Justice Scalia, writing for the five justices in the majority. “Any demonstrated effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media.”
There we have it, research proves violent video games don’t cause mass shootings.
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