Do Video Games Make You Violent?

Release Date
October 28, 2014

Topic

Free Markets and Capitalism
Description

While there’s a great deal of controversy around video games and their potential link to violent behavior in youth, statistics show something a little bit different. The studies done by Professor Michael Ward and other researchers argue that video games don’t make today’s youth violent. Still, law makers and congressmen are making decisions that could curb the creative liberty of video game designers.

http://videogames.procon.org/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/…
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/bod…
• Here’s a longitudinal study from Germany that finds no evidence for video game violence effects:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10…
• Here’s a correlational study finding no relationship between video game
violence and youth violence with other factors controlled:
http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2014-…
• A correlational study of inmates that finds that video games don’t
incite crime, althuogh criminals may pick up a few small elements from video games:
http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2014-…
• This one finds the release of violent video games are associated with declines in crime:
http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2014-…
• Experimental study finds that when you control for competitiveness, the effects of violent video games go away:
www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/vio-1­-4-259.pdf
• A longitudinal study finding no relationship between violent video games and youth aggression or
bullying: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1…
• Video game industry page on violence:
http://www.theesa.com/facts/violence.asp
Sources:
Decline in youth violence over the last 20 years:
http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/stats_at-a_glance/hr_trends.html
• Prof. Mike Ward’s three studies on the connection between video games and violence:
Michael R. Ward, “Video Games and Crime,” Contemporary Economic Policy, 29(2) (April 2011) 261-273.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1465-7287.2010.00216.x/abstract
Michael R. Ward, “Video Games and Adolescent Fighting,” Journal of Law and Economics, 53(3) (August 2010) 611-628.
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1086/605509?uid=40637&uid=3739920&uid=2&uid=3&uid=40636&uid=67&uid=5912216&uid=5910584&uid=62&uid=3739256&sid=21104755466893
Scott Cunningham, Benjamin Engelstätter, and Michael R. Ward, “Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime,” Working Paper, April, 2011.
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1804959

So let’s take a look at this link between these recent teen killers and video games. Violent video games increase aggressive behavior as much as lead exposure decreases children IQ scores. Where is the artistic value of shooting innocent victims? They put guns in the hands of little kids and teach them how to kill. He was trained to kill by Call of Duty and other video games.Is it true that violent video games make people more violent? I’m a professor of economics at the University of Texas at Arlington and a casual gamer. I’m also a parent of children who enjoy video games, and I was curious to find out if video games could cause them to harm others. So I did some research.I conducted three studies to investigate the link between real world video game usage and actual crime or fighting. These studies use different methodologies and different data sources and in all three cases, I found that more video game playing is actually associated with less real life violence. That’s right, less. A 100% increase in violence video game consumption led to a 1% statistical measurable decrease in violent crime. Okay, that’s not a big decrease, but it undermines the claim that video games increase violence. So how could virtual violence decrease actual violence? One theory is catharsis. Which is to say “letting off steam.” One might vent violent impulses through a video game rather than on an actual person. Another theory has to do with time management. Even without a cathartic effect, every hour that people are sitting at home playing video games is an hour that they’re not out on the streets getting into trouble.I’m not alone in my findings. Recently, other researchers have published findings that cast further doubt on the link between violent video games and actual violence. But all this means that however well-intended the calls for restrictions on video games are, as a society, it would be censoring games based on a mistaken belief that they cause violence, and could be exposing Americans to more real life harm.And calls for such censorship continue as in congresses recently proposed video games ratting enforcement act
In the 2011 Supreme Court case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association.And there’s even more at stake if we were to allow this censorship. Video games have changed a lot in the past 30 years. What were once simple black and white blocks and nearly indecipherable images flickering on a television screen are now life-like beings with actions we experience on a visceral level. Some games now tell stories and evoke emotional responses similar to the finest literature or theater. And video games are perhaps the fastest developing form of artistic expression ever devised. The artistry and techniques used by game creators continue to expand and evolve rapidly. Restrictive legislation would curb the freedom of artists and stop valuable stories and content from ever being shared. Contrary to popular belief, youth violence has steadily decreased over the past 20 years, exactly when video games have become popular. This is hardly consistent with the quality of games causing violence. When people are violent, it’s not because games made them that way.