Aug 5, 2019

Violent video games don't cause mass shootings

Ina Fried, author of Login

Violent video games — as well as television and movies — have been a frequent scapegoat for acts of real-world violence.

Reality check: It's hard to ignore the fact that video games are popular all over the world, yet mass shootings aren't common in most of those places. Naturally, that was the case put forth by the Entertainment Software Association, the video game industry's trade group.

  • "Violent crime has been decreasing in our country at the very time that video games have been increasing in popularity," the group said in a statement. "And other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S."

The same case is also backed up by academic research.

  • "Study after study has established that there is no causal link between video games and real world violence," the ESA said.

The other side: That's not to say there aren't voices making such a connection, including House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who argued as much on Fox News on Sunday. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also laid the blame on video games, pointing to the shooter's references to Call of Duty in his manifesto. (Patrick has also blamed video games in the past.)

My thought bubble: At most, one could argue that games contribute to a world in which we are desensitized to such violence. And that may be true. But you know what else makes people numb to mass shootings? Reading about a new one practically every day.

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