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Government Study: No Conclusive Evidence That Violent Games Affect Children

A statement released today by the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’ Connor states that a review of existing research has found that “there is no conclusive evidence that violent computer games have a greater impact on players than other violent media, such as movies or music videos.”

The statement released was short, and focused on three main points:

- there is no conclusive evidence that violent computer games have a greater impact on players than other violent media, such as movies or music videos
- there is stronger evidence of short-term effects from violent computer games, than long-term effects
- some research finds that violent computer games are a small risk factor in aggressive behaviour over the short term, but these studies do not thoroughly explore other factors such as aggressive personality, family and peer influence and socio-economic status.

This is a grand step forward for the R18+ debate. It was the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’ Connor who initially called for more input from the silent majority after an overwhelming percentage of submissions during the recent consultation period. As far as we are aware a review of the academic literature, with regards to the effects of violent video games, was one of the major points of discussion planned for the upcoming SCAG meeting.

Brendan O’ Connor will most likely chair of the upcoming SCAG meeting, and it’s possible that this press release is a pre-emptive strike against lobby groups who would no doubt complain if an R18+ rating was to be pushed through.

But above all, this release informs us that the R18+ has become an important one for government, and has been discussed pre-emptively. The Departmental Offices for the Attorneys-General typically meet up to six weeks before a SCAG meeting, so it’s possible that some sort of decision making process is already underway to an extent.

In any case, we have to keep up the pressure. We’re remaining optimistic.

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