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Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong

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Offline kat

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[image courtesy MobyGames]

A new book set to be published this month (March 2017), "Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong" (Amzn), by psychologists Patrick M. Markey (@patmarkey) and Christopher J. Ferguson (@CJFerguson1111) sets out to dispel a number of persistent myths about video games and their relationship with real world aggression and violence, as well as providing some lesser publicised data on the benefits of gaming.

One interesting aspect of the research seeing daylight/media coverage[1] highlights a possible correlation(?) between rates of gaming and levels of societal violence; depending on the amount of time spent engaging with video games it appears that societies become/are less violent as an overall consequence. Interestingly looking at the names on the list nearly all high gaming, low violence Regions are classically Western in outlook, i.e., the USA, UK, Japan, Germany etc., for example.

For this assertion to be true however, video games would generally have to be equally available to have a deeper, dispersed effect on respective populations, which doesn't appear to be the case (even when weighted per [n] of population). Or looked at from a different perspective, the hours put into games themselves are not direct indicators of the degree to which a society may or may not be violent per se, rather its video games and gaming's broader availability.

In other words the degree to which video games, being almost universally non-essential luxury items (even in the West), are available, let alone played, more accurately indicates the degree to which individuals have the disposable income and leisure time to pursue such trivial and non-essential activities, the lack of which (disposable income/leisure time) are more succinct signals of poverty and its gross correlation with societal violence (notwithstanding the degree to which political and/or religious authoritarianism dictate conditions of oppression preventing or limiting the individuals upward mobility - its not surprising that such Regions strike low for gaming but high for violence).

In this context the prevalence of video-games, and gaming in general, are simply reflective of the Nations general socioeconomic well being, factors that have much greater influence of broader societal violence. Without reading through the book and research fully then (and going on what's presented in the media), there is a danger of misattributing causes and effect no matter how good the message or intention of the messenger(s), which in turn risks greater harm to the 'cause' than might otherwise be had.

[1] press coverage is focusing on the assertion that increased video gaming equates to low societal violence. For example;
 - The Sun "CONSPIRACY OF VIOLENCE Nations where video games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Grand Theft Auto are hugely popular have FEWER murders and violent assaults"
 - Daily Mail "Countries that play more violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty have FEWER murders"