For section 1 of our district book study “Don’t Bother Me Mom – I’m Learning”, this is the question we are answering.
I would like to know how Dr. Valenti controlled for other factors in her study. I suspect there was also a positive correlation between aggressive personalities, and indulgent or neglectful parents that allow their children to become obsessive about video games, collect illegal guns/explosives, make violent videos and otherwise ignore the warning signs.
This reminds me of the study that “proved” cell phones caused a series of gas pump fires. Further study revealed that while there was a positive correlation between people talking on cell phones while pumping gas and the fires, there was also a positive correlation with people reentering their cars to retrieve the cell phones while pumping, leaving the door open when they exited the second time, and wearing natural fibers. Scientists in the second study determined that the sequence of events getting back into the car, sliding across the seat, wearing natural fibers, leaving the door open and not touching any other metal caused a buildup of static electricity. The static electricity discharged when the driver touched the pump handle to remove it. This spark so close to the gas tank opening and fumes sparked the fires.
I don’t believe that video games alone can turn a normal person into a mass murder. I grew up with some overindulged, self-entitled children of uninvolved parents, who showed signs of being sociopaths – they killed animals, beat classmates, and blew up a classroom. They didn’t have the internet – or first person shooters. They did have parents that condoned them beating me black and blue on a daily basis – because I must have liked it or I wouldn’t keep annoying their son.
The two boys that blew up a classroom, community was up in arms. How dare the school district press charges, and go after the parents for damages. After all it was just a prank, and boys will be boys. This might ruin their chances of getting a football scholarship to UT. This after the boys confessed that they meant to blow up the bomb during school – when a teacher and students would have been in the room. Oh – the opinion was that the teacher “deserved” this also – after all if she just made sure the boy was passing there wouldn’t have been a problem.
Video games like many other things in live can be fun, and healthy in moderation. There are titles that I find inappropriate for anyone in my family – Grand Theft Auto for example. My teenage niece tried to get me to buy it for my house, and got an earful from me about the morality portrayed in the game. I vote with my dollars and don’t support those forms of entertainment. There are plenty of TV shows, movies, and books that I don’t like either. If a child becomes obsessed with violence including violent video games, it is the parents’ responsibility to seek help for their child. If the parents refuse to parent, then it falls to society including schools and police to intervene.