Video games aren’t to blame for gun violence, according to new research from Media Coalition.
Whenever a gun-related tragedy occurs in the United States involving guns, some member of the media or special interest group is bound to blame video games at some point. The popular notion that media causes people to kill is based on flawed research, and those who support it ignore ample evidence to the contrary, according to a new report by Media Coalition, Inc. The group issued the 13-page report, Only a Game: Why Censoring New Media Won’t Stop Gun Violence, in an effort to educate the public and in response to politicians and interest groups that continue to play the blame game in the wake of 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 the report, the governments of Australia, Great Britain and Sweden each recently reviewed the research claiming a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior and came to the same 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.
Similarly, in 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a California law aimed at restricting the sale of violent video games, declaring that they deserve the same First Amendment protection as books, plays, movies and other media. The Court reviewed the science on both sides of the debate and ruled that the research offered to justify the law had “significant, admitted flaws in methodology.”