In the wake of the SCAG meeting, and disappointing delays, it's probably worth mentioning that, in addition to the official Literature Review, another new study by Christopher J Ferguson has shown that both violent video games and violent television shows have no effect on youth aggression.
In a study conducted by Christopher J. Ferguson, who we interviewed earlier this month, over 300 Hispanic youth aged 10-14 took part, looking at their exposure to violent media, negative family events, family interaction, peer groups, and relationships with adults - among other factors.
The study showed that 75% of young people were exposed to gaming, and 40% played games with violent content. Ferguson found, however, that depressive symptoms were the strongest predictor of youth aggression, and that was compounded if the teenager had any antisocial personality traits.
There was no link between violent video games and youth aggression.
“Depressive symptoms stand out as particularly strong predictors of youth violence and aggression," stated Ferguson, "and therefore current levels of depression may be a key variable of interest in the prevention of serious aggression in youth. The current study finds no evidence to support a long-term relationship between video game violence use and subsequent aggression. Even though the debate over violent video games and youth violence will continue, it must do so with restraint.”
'Restraint' is the key word here. The fact that opponents continually make a case against R18+ games on the basis of video game interactivity being a predictor of violent behaviour, in the face of continual evidence against that fact, is staggering - and representative of the level of ignorance surrounding the debate.
Christopher J Ferguson's previous work has referred to the moral panic, and the cycle of media hype and political point scoring surrounding new media like gaming. The continual discourse surrounding violent video games is a perfect example of that cycle in action. Hopefully this study, and other like it, can continue to debunk the myths and misinformation surrounding the R18+ debate.
The study has been published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, which can be found here.