How many times have you heard the age-old argument that violence in the media, being TV, music, video games, or the like, is what causes violence in kids and young adults? I, for one, have heard it enough times for it to not be funny anymore. Whether it be from the ever-aging, yet ever-annoying Glenn Beck, or this new article from our dearly beloved friends at the California Aggie.
According to the Aggie, gun violence is currently 25 times higher in the United States than other high-income countries. Now let’s just ignore the fact that guns are in fact, quite rare in other countries considering the extraordinarily high restrictions on weapons in these countries, for example, Britain or France. We can’t actually compare the data in the link the Aggie used because they don’t name the countries in question. They could literally be using just Britain or France as an example as they don’t name which high-income countries they are using in their study. For that matter, we don’t know how many of these countries are included, as saying “high-income countries” could be anywhere between 2 and higher. Which makes it difficult, if not impossible to debunk, considering there is no hard evidence from the source.
However, what I can say for sure is that gun violence in the United States is at an all-time low. According to the Washington Post, statistics from the PEW Research Center show us that gun violence is at an all-time low. Considering how in 1993, there were seven homicides by firearm per 100,000 people, with that number falling to 3.6 per 100,000, which is a total of 11,208 homicides by firearm. This estimates, considering the population of the United States being roughly 319 million people, mean that a total of 0.000035% of people within the United States will die by firearm. Granted, that’s 0.000035% more than what it should be, but considering the number is at a down-spiral, I think we’re on the way.
So, now that we have some real hard numbers on the board, let’s see how the Aggie tries to make this about video games. The California Aggie claims that video games have a role in gun violence, and that the American Psychological Association “confirmed” a link between the two (which, first off, in psychology, you do not “confirm” a connection. You show positive or negative correlation, which can be the result of any number of untested variables). Looking through the research, it tells us that they narrowed down 150 research reports down to 31 based on whether or not it met the criteria they were looking for. Other than that, they don’t tell the reader anything about the individual research of which they used for their report.
So the purpose of the APA article is to try and prove a connection between violent crimes and video games. Let’s look for a minute at the violent crime statistics provided to us by the FBI. According to the FBI, violent crime isn’t just low. It’s at a twenty-year low, between the years of 1993 and 2012. Violent crime has gone from 1,926,017 in 1993 down to 1,214,462 in 2012. That’s a 711,555 difference. I mean, surely, if video games cause violence as the APA’s research would have us believe, the number would not have sunk so drastically.
Now, a number of sources believe there is any number of reasons why the number would fall. The Washington Post lists Stronger Police Force, Technology in the police departments, less alcohol and less lead as possible reasons, and in fairness, those are some pretty decent reasons. According to the ESA, or the Entertainment Software Association, there are 1.7 gamers in each game-playing household, with 48% of US houses owning a dedicated video-game console. Now, if video games cause such aggression, as it believes is so, wouldn’t there be, not dropping violent crime stats, but a pandemic of crime every which way you turn?
Now, am I saying there is absolutely no connection between violence in video games and violence in the real world? No, of course not. What I will say, however, is that the numbers do not add up. I believe there are a number of other factors that are not being accounted for. However, without other factors being shown to us within the article provided by the Aggie from the APA, the conclusion cannot be reached. Lord knows I don’t have the time to go through every single one of their 31 sources to find the truth.
In truth, I am more upset at the APA for claiming they have found “proof” that there is a positive correlation between the playing of violent video games and an increase in violent behavior. Not only is it impossible to “prove” something based on correlation alone. However, there are a number of other statistics that show no correlation between violent video games and violent behavior. Such as one such study, which Independent talked about back in 2014.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I’m not talking about the Aggie anymore. Frankly, they don’t add anything new to the conversation. They restate the same propaganda that we’ve all heard a million times before. All ending with somehow making it about misogyny and how there needs to be societal change over something that is not an issue by the sheer numbers alone.
And with that said, what´s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Sources and resources:
The California Aggie
American psychiatric association
APA technical violent games
The american journal medicine
The huffington post
New American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on “Virtual Violence”
Robin Ek – Editor
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
I am a hard believer in the disconnection between violence and video games. As such I may be biased in some regard. I am not a fan of the Aggie, and have only heard of it around the time I started writing this article.
The Gaming Ground
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