Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Video Games: Murder Simulators, Racist Cop Outs or Just Plain Fun?

A recent article in the winter 2007 edition of Contexts magazine, brings up some fascinating points regarding video games. The article, written by Karen Sternheimer is subtitled, "When white, middle-class teens kill, the media and politicians are quick to blame video games. Are they right?".

Some points from the article:

* Do video games cause people to become more violent and even kill? The author notes that since the release of Doom, homicide rates are down 77% among juveniles.

* Since 1997, 199 newspaper articles have been written about video games role in school shootings. Yet, only seven articles used sociologists as experts.

*It's likely that aggressive people seek out violent entertainment.

*A study found that some adults use their disdain for video games as a way to separate themselves and make them feel superior to those who enjoy them.

*The video game excuse makes white children who kill seem influenced by video games, while African-American children are made to look dangerous.

The Contexts magazine article makes some compelling points and is a must read for everyone. The racial aspect is especially interesting and deserves to be looked into more deeply. It's a shame how people jump at a solution with little or no research just because they don't fully understand what is going on.

Click here for the Contexts article.