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New Study Says Video Games are to Aggression what Cigarettes are to Cancer

by JW

A new study from the University of Michigan has found that people who watch violence in video games and television are more susceptible to increased amounts of aggression, affecting both adults and children.

According to Professor L. Rowell Huseman, the effect of “mass violence on aggression” from video games television and video games is on par with that of cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

The study itself claims that children in the US spend between three and four hours a day watching television. 60% of the programs watched in that four hour span (2.4 hours) contain some form of violence.

“Children are also spending an increasingly large amount of time playing video games, most of which contain violence. Video game units are now present in 83 percent of homes with children” Hussman pointed out to Science Daily.

Define “most” for me, please. I can see how you could make that assumption based on what games you hear about in the mainstream media: Halo 3, , Call of Duty 4, etc. But I look at my game shelf, and I see games like LEGO Star Wars, Super Mario Bros., Pokemon (lots of Pokemon for my Game Boy), and Dynasty Warriors Gundam. In fact, the top five games sold last year were all rated E for Everyone, and the ESRB has given E ratings to 9,047 games. This number jumps to 9,595 when you include E10+ titles.

T, M, and AO rated games combined come to 4,578. 2,642 games feature what the ESRB considers “Violence”, “Intense Violence” or “Sexual Violence”. Throw in “Blood and Gore” and “Violent References”, and the number goes to 2,663. So I ask Mr. Huesman again, considering the ESRB alone has rated some 14,420 games to this point, how exactly is 2,663 (or 18%) considered “most”?

I’ve always found these studies to be inconclusive. They never take into account past histories of the test subjects so for all they know they’ve grabbed children with “rebellious” natures, or kids who are bipolar or manic or whatnot. I’m still a strong proponent of parents stepping in and actually being parents. As I said in the Halo 3 article some time back, parents need to step up and read the big letter on the front of the damn box. If it says “Mature 17+”, or shows a picture of a man holding another person’s bloody spine, then maybe you shouldn’t buy it for your ten year-old.

I know it sounds like a radical idea, but maybe y’all should try it sometime.



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