As the nation reels from two tragic mass shootings, President Trump and top Republicans are citing video games as one explanation for the bloodshed.
But experts say there is little evidence to link violent games to real-world violence.
“Games have only become more realistic. The players of games and violent games have only become more diverse. And they’re played all around the world now,” said Andrew Przybylski, an associate professor at the University of Oxford who studies digital media.
“But the only place where you see this kind of narrative still hold any water, that games and violence are related to each other, is in the United States.”
The supposed connection has its roots in early research that seemed to link violent games to aggression in players. A 2015 e from the American Psychological Association, for example, found a “consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect.”
“The general trend here is that society has a concern about new technology, parents or policymakers get involved, and maybe the researchers don’t have much experience with the technology themselves, and so the first few attempts to study the thing are pretty poorly done,” Przybylski said.
As for politicians railing against video games in the wake of this weekend’s mass shootings, Przybylski said, “what a shame.” That talk “cheapens a hobby pursued by half of American adults,” he said.
But above all, by blaming video games instead of digging deeper into the root causes of violence, “we reduce the value of the political discourse on the
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