In a response to a recent Tampa Tribune Editorial Board editorial backing California’s efforts to ban the sale of violent video games to minors (called "Videos kids shouldn’t play"), psychologist (and associate professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Texas A&M International University) Christopher Ferguson pens a strong series of counter-points.
Among the litany of valid points made by Ferguson, is the emphasis on the fact that science just does not support what the state of California is trying to prove; a conclusive correlation between playing violent video games and violent behavior.
Instead of running down all of Ferguson’s points, here are a few samples from the article:
As video games have soared in popularity, youth violence has plummeted to 40-year lows. Of course, video games are probably not the cause of this decline, but we now know video games have not sparked a youth violence crisis. The best studies that are coming out – those that carefully consider youth violence or youth mental health, find little to no evidence of harmful effects.
It’s probably time to discard this hypothesis.
Another strong point is about Postal. Here’s what Ferguson thinks about it:
The state of California (and the Tribune) makes references to a single game, Postal. Indeed, this is a vicious game morally unsuitable for minors. However, I’ve reviewed research databases of my own and colleague Cheryl Olson and the Pew Research Foundation in which children report on games they play. Of approximately 2,500 children, not one reported playing Postal or its sequel. So California is paying millions of dollars (which could have gone to children in need and families at risk or used to not lay off thousands of teachers) to prevent children from playing a game they already don’t play.
Read the whole thing here.