In a recent column, Bill O’Reilly wrote about how liberals looks to government to cure every ill but the solution is more often found under our own roof. “Some liberals want the government to replace bad parents by pouring billions of dollars into social programs that often wind up being baby-sitting services. This is a fool’s errand. The government cannot overcome bad parenting. What our leaders can do is publicly condemn irresponsible parental behavior in vivid terms.” O’Reilly admonition is spot on especially when it comes to the issue of video games.
As the popularity of video games grows, so do calls for regulation, in part by politicians and pundits looking for something to blame for incidents of violence. But the facts and the science are decidedly moving in the other direction.
In 2005, the American Psychological Association issued controversial statement demanding the “the reduction of all violence in video games and interactive media marketed to children and youth.” But today the research shows a reversal of course is needed. Led by Stetson University researcher Christopher Ferguson, 228 scholars, psychologists and criminologists asked that the group reevaluate its stance to make it more accountable to reality. “Research shows there is not consistent evidence to support this statement,” Ferguson said. In fact, the opposite may be true: “In my recent research we found that for some teens with a pre-existing mental health issue, playing violent video games seemed to be associated with less bullying.”
Ferguson called the “impression that a link exists is a classic illusory correlation in which society takes note of the cases that fit and ignores those that don’t. When a shooter is a young male, the news media make a fuss over violent video games, neglecting to inform the public that almost all young males play violent video games. Finding that a particular young shooter happened to play these games is neither surprising nor meaningful.”
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