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Why Blaming Video Games for Violence is Wrong | NYT Opinion


Video games are
everywhere nowadays. Invading your living rooms,
storming your phones, even taking the blame
for society’s ills. “These video games
dehumanize individuals.” Like after the recent
wave of shootings when American politicians
shared thoughts, prayers and concerns about video games. “This was a maybe a video
game to this evil demon. He wanted to be
a super soldier for his Call of Duty game.” Even the president urged us
to stop the glorification of violence in our
society, including “the gruesome and
grisly video games that are now commonplace.” Let’s debunk this whole
“video games causes violence” red herring once and for all. I’m Charle Goldberg. I’ve been reporting on
video games for eight years. I’ve been a lifelong
video game player. I have amassed nearly
two million subscribers on my gaming YouTube channel. And, well, I play a
lot of video games. The violent ones, the shooter
ones more specifically. I also love LEGOs. I’m a father. I know I’m just one gamer, but
I’m not a threat to society and neither are the
millions of other people who play video games. Let’s take a look at
the world of evidence. American video game sales per
person are on similar levels to countries like South
Korea, Japan, or Germany. But our rate of violent gun
deaths is 10 to 100 times higher than any of
those countries’. Even within America, there
is zero empirical evidence that video games are
linked to mass shootings. Decades of research from
the American Psychological Association have shown there’s
no link between playing violent video games
and participating in violent crime. This all looks nominal. No link, no evidence. Now, it’s true that some
research shows a relationship between video games
and aggression, but aggression is also linked
to lots of things, including organized sports. Now, maybe you’re thinking,
what about Columbine. Didn’t the two shooters
in that also play the violent video game Doom? And yes, they did, but violent
criminals also watch movies, they read books and
digest the news, real or fake. As one A.P.A. expert put it, “The data
on bananas causing suicide is about as conclusive.” In fact, in 2017
an A.P.A. committee issued a statement
discouraging politicians and journalists from trying
to connect video games and shootings precisely
because they feared the rhetoric would distract
us from addressing issues that we know contribute
to real-world violence. So why, against the objections
of science and ethics, do politicians still insist
on deflecting our attention? Because it’s easy. It works. And it’s time tested. In 1915, the Supreme
Court supported censorship of movies because
they could “cause evil.” Film didn’t become a
form of protected speech until the ’50s, just when politicians
turned their energies to a new scapegoat — comic books. Now fast-forward to the paranoias about heavy metal
in the 1960s, Dungeons and Dragons in the ’80s, hip-hop in the ’90s. “Here we go again.” Solutions are hard and
we like simple answers to complicated questions. And it doesn’t take much
to get disgruntled parents frustrated by their
kids’ screen time and Fortnite addiction to
believe that video games are evil. The fact that politicians are
so removed from video game culture is another reason we should
ignore their deflections. Would you listen
to a book critic who’s never read a book? “Shut your pie hole.” And just like books, video games are actually
an art form protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court made
that clear in 2011 when Justice Scalia reminded
us that violence is not novel to gaming. It’s as old as the plots of
Cinderella and Snow White. Gamers don’t really have
an issue deciphering fantasy from the real world. But politicians seem
to have lost themselves in a politically
convenient fiction. Just when we need
them to focus on the crisis of our reality.

Yvette Parker

76 Comments

  1. It has always irked me when people actually believed video games are the cause for gun violence in the US. Video games are present in pretty much every other country. The rampant gun violence seen in the US on the other hand is uncommon in other Western countries, that have the same games.

  2. WORST video made by the NYT , with poor logic , data are inconclusive and can't rule out the role of video games in familial disharmony, interpersonal conflict and isolation.
    in fact , many clinicians have seen patients becoming psychotic , depressed , isolated, derealization after abusing video games .
    we are losing our family bonding , parental relations are decreasing , students spend more time playing games than spending the time with family.

  3. There have been incidents of copycat violence as a result of both the viewing of violent movies as well as games, I’m not saying that they are the cause of all violent crime, but they are certainly part and parcel of of the increased violence we see among young people today including the violence that’s taking place in schools today in a form of bullying that’s never been known before!!!

  4. If there was only some way to figure out what was causing death by bullets. If only we could know where these bullets were coming from.

  5. Wait you play Nintendogs? Well It's just a matter of time before you shoot up a school?

  6. Maybe video games don't contribute. To use a banana as a comparison, though? Who knows what Japan might be like if they had our gun "laws"? I* feel better when I don't inundate myself with violent tv shows; and that, ironically , includes the media. Watching too much news has been proven detrimental to the mind. If I find that I experience less anxiety when I Don't tune into the daily 45 report, why are we POSITIVE that "virtually" killing ppl is perfectly safe, normal, & healthy?

  7. Indoctrinate millions of kids with leftist self-loathing & despair & you idiots wonder why so many kids want to commit mass murder when they've been taught that their lives & everyone else's are meaningless?…
    “So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilizations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over–a weary, battered old brontosaurus–and became extinct.”

    ― Malcolm Muggeridge

  8. Why is no one talking about how REPUBLICONS are pushing this narrative and not democrats?

  9. Most of those saying theres absolutely no link between anger and video games are the same millennials who are addicted to them.

  10. Blaming Trump for Russian interference was a crime. And your old rag tied that one.

  11. How come the same effect isn't happening in Japan or Norway? Several decades ago it was Heavy Metal rock music that was blamed for all the antisocial behaviour. It was nonsense then and now video gaming is being painted as today's scapegoat.

    The true circumstantial evidence is glaringly obvious in all the data. Profits and political games are standing as roadblocks to change.

  12. The USA problem is attitude…
    Lack of respect for others.
    Always, from the Govt on down, reaching for violence as the first tool.
    It is not just video games, it is being surrounded by violence, in:
    Books, comics, magazines, newspapers, radio, TV, movies, video games, social media, the news, history, and everyday life.
    Soak enough in water, and you get wrinkles.

    I have no idea what the ultimate solution is.
    I do know this, the problem is not cars, knives, bows and arrows, guns, explosives, fists, or whatever. It is the use of them. The how, why, when they are used.

  13. Don't care if you like it or not but my opions oppion is the game's today promote killing and has alot of symbolism! I have 6 grand kids that are very disconnected from reality! Its evil, time consuming and dark!

  14. This video is partially correct. Although i agree with it, you could also argue that americans play much more violent videogames than the british ( mostly FIFA and sports titles), and the japanese (everything is RPG).

  15. Politicians: get your facts before you make baseless statements. Stop losing credentials by acting lazy.

  16. The majority of US shows are super violent… super violence + access to guns == crazy foooks

  17. TRUMP: “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” President Trump said in a White House address on the shootings. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”

  18. Well from a third world perspective I can state that video games here are not something the majority participates in, but it is very violent, we aren't allowed to have guns under any circumstance. So yeah I don't think that video games cause shootings. By the way excellent soundtrack, anyone know the name?

  19. Video games has had the complete opposite effect than what the GOP/media are claiming. They’ve helped introverts connect with all kinds of communities and probably saved millions from depression.

  20. So cute.In video game playing around the world,but for sOmE ReAsOn mass shooting's most often happen in USA
    (sorry for my zero seconds of english)

  21. Over generalization and arguments based on careless assumptions, this topic is not worth discussing.

  22. Finally!

    I am glad that my parents only think that video would make me dumb when I was a kid.

  23. Donald Trump is absolutely right, video games should not be glorifying violence. That's what his rallies are for.

  24. Even the U.S. Army has an official game since before the Call of Duty franchise existed. The current version is called America’s Army: Proving Grounds. I started playing it around 2006 when it was America’s Army 2: Special Forces.

  25. The government is corrupt and they are deflecting attention from themselves, all there is to it

  26. if shooting games cause gun violence, why am i not a master architect after playing minecraft?

  27. Aggressive – and psychopathic – behaviours are also linked to success in business, finance, and politics. The difference is that the NRA and Wall Street lobby politicians extensively, while the gaming industry hasn't gotten involved in politics yet. And those political donations also feed directly into churches and sermons: 25% of US evangelical said they'd support a morally flawed president in 2014, 65% in 2018 – because of Trump and his Republican donors.

  28. If it's so wrong, how do you explain that countries with no school shooting, like Japan, have also no video game whatsoever? Seriously, have you ever heard of a Japanese video game?

  29. Its not surprising that the New York Times couldnt just voice over the video themselves they dont play video games so they get some super popular person in the community to do it for them as a way to relate to other gamers. Yea-no that doesnt make them "in the know" just because they had commission work done. This is a accurate news topic but when you think about it they are a lot more out of touch than meets the eye. I like levelCaps work and know it by heart; he doesnt speak like that at any degree unless hes reading someone elses script even if hes allowed very little freedom to adapt the script. Hes very honest in his judgement and has spoken about these specific topics before with ease. Its very robotic and unnerving; something only seen and heard by work that isnt his if you compare his youtube videos to this

  30. Even though I am very much pro 2nd amendment blaming on video games for violence is completely wrong.

  31. This video is completely irresponsible and hypocritical! The title says "blaming video games for violence is wrong", but then even this pro-gamer biased narrator admits VIDEO GAMES INCITE AGGRESSION! Huh? If you are specifically talking about "blaming video games for mass shootings is wrong" then be specific!

  32. Republicans: video games make you stupid!!!
    Also republicans: video games turn you into a genius serial killer!!!

  33. ‘Duck Hunt’ was pretty violent and also came with a fake Nintendo gun. But that game didn’t inspire me to go duck hunting and mass shootings were extremely low in the late 80s.

  34. Scientist: "I have a few hypothesis on what causes violence.
    – Societal bad influence
    – Childhood abuse and neglect
    – Lack of gun control
    – Low Self-esteem
    …"

    Politician: "I see. And what solution do you propose?"

    Scientist: "Maybe we could create gun control law?"

    Politician: "IT'S ALL BCS OF VIDEO GAMES!!! BURN THEM ALL!!!"

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