I'm a Human Inbox

Saturday, July 23, 2005

There is no epidemic of youth violence in America.

GameRevolution has written an excellent article on youth violence. The basic premise of the article is that by taking data published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, it can be proved that videogame violence is not an issue.

“Recently, the offending rates for 14-17 year-olds reached the lowest levels ever recorded.” The lowest levels ever recorded. In other words, the Playstation era has, in fact, produced the most non-violent kids ever. But I thought video games were training children to kill?

In an analysis of the risk factors of youth violence by the Surgeon General of the United States of America, violent media is categorized as “Small Effect Size.” In fact, there are 27 risk factors rated higher than exposure to violent media, like socioeconomic status, academic failure, poor parent-child relations, weak social ties, and being male. Quick! Ban all the males!

Let me be perfectly clear: Grand Theft Auto is a best-selling adult game that should not be played by 12 year-olds. That’s why it’s rated “M” and you have to be 17 to buy it. However, most games are not like GTA. In 2004, 54% of games were rated “E” for Everyone, 33% were rated “T” for Teen, and only 12% were rated “M” for Mature. The vast majority of the best-selling titles every year are not rated “M.” Compare that to the 55% of movies rated “R” and only 8% rated “G.” The ESRB might not get it right all the time, but who does?

It's a refreshing and well researched article, make sure to read the whole thing. It would be nice to see a more balanced, well thought out view on videogames like this in the media, but there really isn't one. Non-Fear based articles and reports are few and far between, but I think that kind of view will change over time as videogame playing reporters start replacing the ones who still believe that Rock and Roll is a corrupting force.

Man, I never wanted to be making so many posts about the media's views on videogames.

Link (via Grumpy Gamer)