A new 13-page report by Media Coalition called "Only a Game: Why Censoring New Media Won’t Stop Gun Violence," concludes that the idea that media (video games, movies, etc.) causes people to kill is based on flawed research, and those who support it ignore the growing body of evidence to the contrary.
The goal of the report is to educate the public and in response to politicians and interest groups that continue to lay the blame at the feet of popular media related to recent tragic shooting incidents.
“The claim that video games cause violence has become a convenient narrative that is just not supported by the facts and is used as a crutch to avoid the more complex – if politically unpopular – issues,” said David Horowitz, Executive Director of Media Coalition, a trade association that defends the First Amendment rights of mainstream media. “Our report explains that when independent bodies review the research they find no studies that show that video games cause actual violence, and the studies that claim a connection between new media and aggression are flawed, in dispute, and ignore obvious explanations for their results,” Horowitz added.
According to the report, the governments of Australia, Great Britain and Sweden each recently reviewed research claiming a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior and came to the conclusion that it is flawed and inconclusive. As a result, none of these countries – despite having less stringent speech protections than the United States – have imposed restrictions on video games with violent content.
Other key findings of the report:
- Crime statistics do not support the theory that media causes violence.
- Research into the effects of video games on aggression is contested and inconclusive. Much of it suffers from methodological deficiencies and provides insufficient data to prove a causal relationship.
- Censorship of violent content is barred by the First Amendment for all types of media, but industry self-regulation works. Earlier this year, President Obama called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to renew scientific research into the relationship between video games, media images and violence. He also asked Congress to authorize $10 million for the research.
The Media Coalition report is available online at mediacoalition.org/only-a-game.