Video Game Rebuke Follows the Shootings


Following the deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio this week, Republican lawmakers including President Trump, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick continue to indicate violent video games are a leading factor in the real-life violence. Studies, meanwhile, continue to show there is no link.

AAMA released a statement this morning on the topic, saying, in part: “For over 20 years, the AAMA together with our industry partner, AMOA, have endorsed and promoted the Parental Advisory System. The PAS was developed to educate consumers about the content of the amusement games and devices using an easy to understand color-coded system.” (Green being suitable for all ages; yellow for mild content with suggestive themes or crude humor; and red for content with strong language, sexual content or graphic violence.) “We are proud of the proactive steps we took more than two decades ago to voluntarily inform and educate our guests about the content of our games.”

Still, the association noted, “In the aftermath of this weekend’s tragedies, several prominent politicians have called out violent video games as a cause of these senseless acts. It’s to be noted they’ve done so in spite of well-established and widely disseminated evidence to the contrary.”

Shortly after Trump made his statements linking video game violence to mass shootings, #VideogamesAreNotToBlame began trending nationally on Twitter, prompting the persistence of the conversation in recent days.

Vox published a chart this week that shows video game revenue is higher in Japan and South Korea, and substantial in many other countries with far less gun violence than the United States.

A psychology professor at Stetson University, Dr. Chris Ferguson, told The New York Times that violent video games, movies and other media are not a risk factor for serious acts of aggression. “The data on bananas causing suicide is about as conclusive,” he said. “Literally. The numbers work out about the same.”

He led the committee that put out an American Psychological Association policy statement in 2017 that read, in part: “Scant evidence has emerged that makes any causal or correlation connection between playing violent video games and actually committing violent activities.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has also rejected the idea, striking down a California law that banned the sale of some violent video games to children in 2011. The court’s majority opinion was written by the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia: “These studies have been rejected by every court to consider them, and with good reason: They do not prove that violent video games causeminors to actaggressively. They show at best some correlation between exposure to violent entertainment and minuscule real-world effects, such as children’s feeling more aggressive or making louder noises in the few minutes after playing a violent game than after playing a nonviolent game.”