An Australian TV report on violent games and their impact on the country’s youth uses a quote from a psychologist to claim that the link between violent videogames and youth crime is greater than the connection between smoking and lung cancer.
The Ten News report details recent violent crimes—the slashing of a “young customers” throat at a Kings Cross, Sydney chicken shack and a bouncer who had his face slashed in Melbourne in one “of a string of weapon attacks,” and then attempts to link a perceived rise in violence to games, stating that, “Psychologist say the explosion in youth crime is inextricably linked to violent videogames and other media.
Next to appear, Dr. Wayne Warburton from the Council on Children and the Media, who apparently came up with the lung cancer comparison, as he stated, “It’s much greater that the effect of smoking and lung cancer. There’s a study showing that the average child sees in a childhood, 16,000 murders and 200,000 act of violence."
The Council is calling for an information packet to be mailed to every household in Australia.
Reporter Matt Doran then cites unknown “experts” as saying that the game industry has much to account for, then attempts to lay some of the blame on “Modern Warfare: Call of Duty 2,” a title in which “gamers plot terror attacks against civilians.”
Wrapping up, Doran quotes “psychologists” as saying that “regular exposure to games like these actually rewires a child’s brain, making them more amenable to violence.” He then alludes to a conference on youth violence taking place in Sydney “later this month,” which will feature “the world’s leading researchers.” He added, “Tougher classifications for violent media will be top of the agenda.”
The Council on Children and Media has a section on its website dealing with the R18 Discussion Paper, which it claims came about as “a relentless push by gamers and the industry.” They are against the addition of an R18+ rating category for games and run down their opposition here.
Among their points:
The gaming industry and gamers make much of the supposedly maturing and gender-balanced population who play video games. So what? One can say the same thing about many populations, such as car drivers and alcohol users, without this being an argument for, in effect, making drinking or car driving more easily available to minors.
Thanks Graham and Jamie!