Jack Thompson Thumb
Protesting Video Games: Ineffective & Irrelevant

In the past, politicians, the media, and a certain lawyer in particular have given video games a bad rep. They decree omnipotently that violent games induce violence in young adults. For a while now, gamers have stated the opposite, rationalizing that violent people are simply attracted to violent games. It’s really hard to tell what social trigger inspires a man to beat his child to death, but just placing blame on the closest suspect is pretty lazy reasoning.

In a recent article, a study was conducted to determine what effect, if any, video games had on adolescents. Its findings confirmed what many in the gaming community had known for quite some time now.

“If you look at the violent crime in the US over the past 20 years among teenagers it’s gone down, and gone down significantly, and if you look at videogame play, it’s gone up,” said Dr Lawrence Kutner and Dr Cheryl Olsen of Harvard Medical School in a recent interview.

“The big concern that you hear the politicians and the pundits argue, that playing violent videogames will somehow turn your child into a criminal or a violent person, there’s absolutely no evidence for that.”

The Dr.’s did have a sample group, and of the results of those children they did find some news that could very well support the argument of would be parental authorities.

Half of the boys who played adult-rated games had been in a fight in the past 12 months, compared to 28 per cent of boys who played games with a less mature rating.

Among girls, 40 per cent who played adult-rated games had been in a fight recently compared to only 12 per cent of those who didn’t.

Interesting. But a paragraph later it does note…

However Dr Kutner and Dr Olsen said it was unclear if adult-rated games triggered aggressive behaviour, or if aggressive children were drawn to playing them.

I did my own study, and this is what I discovered. Parents can either protest and lobby for an unconstitutional ban of all entertainment that could possibly provoke violent reactions among young adults, causing an outrage among industry leaders as well as rational adults, or they can simply be parents. The ESRB has done a great job at moderating the game channel, and game reviews are a good to tell what you can expect from a video game. There are more tools at a parent’s disposal for picking a good game for their kid than they realize.

If my history serves me well, there was violence long before the 1970s, maybe even before the 1900s! But as the evidence shows, violence has actually dropped since video games hit the scene. You can’t necessarily expect violence to just disappear, or very well expect to find one magic catalyst and get rid of that. Wait, scratch that. Free will. You put an end to that and the whole thing is golden.

If it wasn’t video games, it’d be drugs, dirty magazines, television, music, or the abominable snowman. Point is, instead of trying to find an outside culprit for whats wrong with something, they should just figure out whats wrong. I hope someone will realize that passing a law on sales won’t simply rid society of its flaws.


Coincidentally, I made this little video as an intro to my friend English project with dealt with video games and controversies... nothing special but it's on topic. I hope this works!


great post, Phaethon. I've always felt the same way about this topic. Nothing pisses me off more than lazy parents that want to blame everyone but themselves for not being a good parent.