New Study Disputes Link Between Video Games And Gun Violence


Do violent video games make the people that play them more violent in real life? It’s a question that won’t go away, and one that may never receive a definitive answer.

The suspicion of a link between violent video games and shootings has a tendency to pop back up any time there is a gun-related tragedy in the United States. But as The Escapist’s Andy Chalk reports, a new study by the Media Coalition called “Only A Game: Why Censoring New Media Won’t Stop Gun Violence” finds that there is a lack of compelling evidence that such a link exists.

The study reaches its conclusion by approaching the topic from several angles. First it examines crime statistics, noting that video game consumption has increased in the U.S. over the same period in which violent crime has decreased. It also looks at the profiles used by the FBI and Secret Service to help understand mass shooters and notes that violent video games are not listed as important influences on their mindsets.

Methodology is put under the microscope too, as the study finds that other attempts to prove a correlation between video game and real life violence haven’t gone far enough to ensure that their claims were produced by proper scientific techniques. On top of that, there’s a suggestion that there has been a reluctance to publish studies that have similar qualms about the means used to show that games cause violent behavior.

The Media Coalition is a First Amendment advocacy group, which is good to keep in mind when considering its possible agenda. Still, it’s refreshing to see a voice from outside the video game industry weigh in on this particular side of the argument. You can evaluate the study for yourself by checking it out here.