Despite his frequent misstatements and apparent ignorance on the subject, despite including gay porn in a legal filing, despite his legal harassment of numerous publications, lawyers, judges and anyone else who seems to disagree with him, Jack Thompson manages to get himself on television again this morning as an "expert".
During his appearance on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, Thompson discussed the evils of churches using Halo 3 to minister to a youth audience. And of course he couldn't help but get some facts wrong.
Hit the jump to watch the video and read the relevant Jack quotes, which I've dissected. It does do my heart good to see that he wasn't nearly as over the top this time around as the last time we watched him. Maybe he decided to be a little more careful now that he knows we're checking out what he's saying instead of just accepting his statements as 100 percent truth. Too bad TV talk shows haven't learned to do the same thing.
The Science on this is very settled. APA in 2005 found that as a class of people, adolescence and teens that play these violent games become more aggressive, some of them to the point of violence like we saw in Cleveland yesterday.
Let's break this down into two parts:
The science: While members of the American Psychological Association did release a report in 2005 stating that video games can increase aggressive behaviour in children and adolescents, it was actually based on a review of the past 20 years of research.
The Swedish Institute of Public Health did a similar study in 2005, reviewing 30 studies. Their findings? That video games are in fact good for you and that there is "limited evidence for video and computer game playing causing children to choose more aggressive toys - but no evidence for links between video and computer game playing and aggressive feelings, thoughts or behavior, despite these outcomes being well studied."
The Swedish study also points out that there have been six other similar reviews with half showing no connection and half showing a connection. But in those that found a connection "the authors do not distinguish between studies with different designs or between different outcomes, but deal with all the material together. This means that low quality studies influence the conclusions more than can be justified."
So there you have it despite Jack's claims the "science" of this has in no way been settled.
Cleavland shooting's connection to video games: As shocking as it is that Jack would try to blame a school shooting on video games, there seems to be no evidence that this is true.
Accused shooter 14-year-old Asa H. Coon was described by a friend as someone who "worshiped the devil" and Fox News has reported that he had a criminal and domestic-violence history. No mention of gameplay though.
You Have a Legal Problem "Clearly any church that has kids 11, 12, 13-years of age that come in and play a Mature rated game, that shouldn't be sold or played by anyone under 17, has created a liability problem."
Not so fast Jack. While the ESRB rating system does serve as a guide to help consumers make informed decisions about the appropriateness of video games for children and the family, like with the movie rating system there is no law to back it up.
Dissecting Jack's Lies [Kotaku]