Just last year in June 2018 the Today Show did a segment with the ‘Today Psychologist’ which discussed the latest video game sensation at the time – Fortnite. Fortnite is a game which became incredibly popular due to its simplicity, how fun it was to play and its $0 pricepoint. The main conclusion that the Today Psychologist came to was that “violent” video games like fortnite cause aggressive behaviour in our kids. The segment copped a lot of backlash with academics taking to twitter to question the standpoint Today took.
Over in the States we see similar ideas presented, however over there the media aims to link video games directly to mass shootings.The statements which often are made post mass mass shootings in America which suggest a link between video games and real-world violence are often echoed by politicians including the U.S. President himself. After shootings in El Paso and Texas Donald Trump made the following statement – “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” he said in an August 5 press conference. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace”
Why is it not uncommon for people to hold the view that violence is caused by video games. The reason for this is the push of that exact ideology being pushed by the media as seen above which mainly contains troubled, inconsistent research mentioned in the prior blog.
So why do policy makers and the media blame violence on video games? Politicians have been blaming violence on video games for decades. The beginning of this craze began in the 90s with the rise in first person shooter games. What this essentially did for policy makers and the media was give them something to blame violence on. For the media video games are a direct competitor of their product. By creating a negative stigma around video games, news media are directly influencing that market. Essentially pulling potential consumers from one industry to their own.
The broader effects of this misinformation can be incredibly dangerous. The statements made by the press completely misrepresent the research conducted by Dr Feruson and his peers. However, that is not the worst of it, because by doing so the media allow groupslike the NAtional Rifle Assosiation (NRA) to blame real gun violence on fake guns.
Further, by blaming video games for these issues, the media and the government are ignoring far more important topics like real gun control in the States.