It was only a matter of time before a politician tried to dig up the old debate around video games and real-world violence in relation to the Christchurch terror attack, and this time, that person is Peter Dutton, or, as the Chinese media have dubbed him, "Potato Brother".
Potato Brother spoke on ABC Radio National this morning in the wake of the New Zealand mosque shooting which left 51 people dead, stating that “we need to be realistic about the threat that we face”. While this mostly dealt with matters of ASIO intelligence and relevant government briefings, he mentioned that perhaps video games need to be discussed in relation to the attack.
“I think there is a further debate, I might say, in relation to the use of computer games and graphic videos, and the way in which that is accessed online,” Dutton said.
Skimming over the fact that old mate bizarrely lumped “computer games” and “graphic videos” into the same box, blaming video games is surely something that we can stop doing now given the number of studies which have overwhelming proven that there is no link between violent games and real-world violence.
As an avid gamer, having to continuously defend my passion from out of touch politicians is becoming exhausting, and I know I’m not alone. But before this becomes bigger than it needs to be, let’s have a very brief look at the latest study to disprove the “video games are bad, mkay” argument which is bound to spring up.
Published on February 13, the study was conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford and the Oxford Internet Institute and is being praised as one of the most comprehensive studies on the topic to date. The aim was to measure teen aggression and violence in video games using both subjective and objective data.
Unlike previous studies on the subject, this one collected data on aggressive behaviours from both the teens and their parents and carers, rather than just the former. There were 2,008 participants in total, with the gamers comprised of 14 to 15-year-old British teens.
“The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time,” Professor Andrew Przybylski said in the research. “Despite interest in the topic by parents and policy-makers, the research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern.”
In other words, there’s still no link between the two.
I’m well aware that Potato Brother has merely brought up the idea of further debate on the topic, but I think it’s worth nipping the whole thing in the bud before it even takes off.