Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence? Pros and Cons and Current Research at New ProCon.org Website
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — ProCon.org, a nonpartisan 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity dedicated to promoting critical thinking, created the new website http://videogames.procon.org to explore the core question “Do violent video games contribute to youth violence?”
97% of 12-17 year olds in the US played video games in 2008, thus fueling an $11.7 billion video game industry. In 2008, 10 of the top 20 best-selling video games in the US contained violence.
Violent video games have been blamed for school shootings, increases in bullying, violence towards women, and other violent criminal behavior. Critics of violent video games argue that these games desensitize players to violence, reward players for simulating violence, and teach children that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts. Some of those critics are quoted on the website, including Hillary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dr. Phil, and Mitt Romney.
Video game advocates contend that a majority of the research on the topic is deeply flawed and that no causal relationship has been found between video games and social violence. They argue that violent video games may reduce violence by serving as a substitute for rough and tumble play and by providing a safe outlet for aggressive and angry feelings. These advocates include the video game industry, numerous researchers, and the gamers themselves.
Concerns over the link between violent video games and youth violence have prompted politicians and several states to attempt to regulate the sales of violent video games to minors. While the courts have prevented these regulation attempts by citing free speech concerns, the debate continues as technology improves, games become more graphic and realistic, and video games remain popular.
The latest ProCon.org website explores many pro and con arguments and includes sources, images, videos, reader comments, and a section of little known facts called “Did You Know?” The findings should help readers think critically, educate themselves, and make informed decisions about video games.
Did You Know?
* Sales of video games have more than quadrupled from 1995-2008, while the arrest rate for juvenile murders fell 71.9% and the arrest rate for all juvenile violent crimes declined 49.3% in this same period.
* The 2008 study Grand Theft Childhood reported that 60% of middle school boys that played at least one Mature-rated game hit or beat up someone, compared to 39% of boys that did not play Mature-rated games.
* In 2008, 298.2 million video games were sold in the US, totaling $11.7 billion in revenue. Six of the top ten best-selling video games included violence, with four of the games carrying a “Mature” rating recommended for persons aged 17 and older.
Learn more at http://videogames.procon.org
ProCon.org (online at www.procon.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity whose mission is promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship.
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