Studies on video game violence lack nuance

Does virtual violence provoke real rage? Yes and no. The Christian Science Monitor, August 18, 2015.

A review of a recent study on the link between violent video games and real life violence among youths.

Per usual, the study shows a link and per usual, the debate is how central violent video games are in fomenting violent acts versus other factors, like family violence or poverty.

From my perspective as a clinician, the matter has always entailed complex interactions of many factors, including family constellations and the existence of positive or toxic peer relations, as well as variables like school performance or learning disabilities.

One of the problems with large demographically driven studies is that they lack nuance and do not dive below the surface of the individual’s real life dilemmas or family problems.

So when the debate among research scholars devolves into disagreement about how important the playing of Call of Duty might be in real life assaults or murders by teens, the scholars are operating on a somewhat superficial level. The real issue, as this article suggests, is that certain kids, especially ones in vulnerable situations, with a spate of underlying problems, etc, are the ones most likely to latch onto the violence of these video games and act on them.

The book that I have written, which can be purchased through Amazon, gives excellent examples of how this interplay of real life dilemmas and media creations converge and lead to significant problems.