Socio of Sci/Bio-Philoso English
2018-03-10 00:00:00
Vittorio Hernandez

One gaming expert after another human behavior expert is coming out to confirm the lack of connection between video games and violence in children. After the Parkland school shooting in Florida, US President Donald Trump blamed the incident on violent video games but not the ease of acquiring a weapon.

The evidence is just not there, Lisa Kort-Butler, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said.  She and other experts have been studying the subject for years. The weight of the evidence, regardless of the medium, suggested it is not about the medium.

Target of politicians

Kort-Butler noted that other than video games, music, movies, comic books, and even burlesque dancing have been the target of politicians who claimed these media caused delinquency in children and are corrupting influences.  She said that when other factors are considered, there is really no causal relationship between people engaging in video games or listening to music and engaging in violence, KLIN reported.

The professor pointed out that politically charged meetings, similar to the one that Trump held at the White House, muddies the conversation because it brings attention to the wrong aspects of a wide-ranging and complex issue. Kort-Butler added that even if Trump does not agree with the results of their studies, the US Supreme Court has a ruling that protects video game content as free speech under the First Amendment.

More on self-efficacy

Albert Bandura, a psychologist, debunked the claims by pundits that virtual reality or simulation games can make people better shooters. He cited previous studies on games and behavior change that said the most compelling link between the two is self-efficacy, CNN reported.

He cited a social cognitive theory that stated self-efficacy refers to the person’s belief in his ability to succeed. Games, he explained, just offer the chance to change what people think is possible, and how to succeed at it, on screen.

Bandura pointed out that thousands of hours playing shooting games will not teach users the essentials of a real gun. The players do not learn about the mechanics of safeties or a gun’s weight, how to load a gun, how to unbox bullets, or how to buy a weapon. They also do not learn how to adjust for a weapon’s recoil, demonstrate the heat of a gun, or how to maintain a weapon.

What gamers learn is its simulation. He said that a well-executed shooting game might boost the player’s confidence in his ability to shoot; however, the reality is much different. He added that people commonly claim that the realism in games is the core training benefit. But Bandura noted that realistic experiences have not made people better drivers even if there are a lot of driving simulation games.

CNN stressed that play is a valuable element of human psychological development and an essential activity for the human animal. If children are deprived of play, they are more likely to produce the kind of person who commits a school shooting than one who will not engage in it. The website added that play gives people a respite from stress and is beneficial to social development.

Flawed premise

At the White House meeting, Douglas Gentile, a psychology professor at the Iowa State University, pointed out that aggression is very complicated, and it is multi-causal. Not a single thing causes aggression. He noted that studies on media violence and aggression are clear that the more kids consume media violence, they become more willing to behave aggressively when provoked.

He said that the premise of the White House meeting is flawed in the first place. Gentile said that authorities are seeking a simple solution to a complex problem. He noted the lack of aggression experts at the meeting, National Public Radio reported.

At the same meeting, Patrick Markey, a psychologist, cited a study that found 80 percent of mass shooters did not show an interest in violent video games, further debunking Trump’s theory, CBS reported.

However, other critics of video games cited the appearance of specific video weapons, such as the Remington assault rifle in “Call of Duty.” Parents of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting pointed to images of the rifle in a lawsuit they filed against Remington. The parents insisted that the gun manufacturing company must shoulder responsibility for the death of the 26 school children at the hands of shooter Adam Lanza in 2012.

Josh Koskoff, the lawyer of the parents, said that Lanza was within the younger male demographic that Remington was trying to sell guns to. He described the Sandy Hook situation as the “chickens coming home to roost” scenario.”

In turn, the Entertainment Association, which represents the video game industry, told Trump that several scientific studies show the lack of connection between video games and violence. Markey said that the release of a new violent game even results in a drop in crime rate.

[researchpaper 리서치페이퍼= Vittorio Hernandez 기자]

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