ECA Opposes Videogame Violence Research

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ECA Opposes Videogame Violence Research

Entertainment Consumers Association logo

The Entertainment Consumers Association says a National Academy of Sciences study of the influence of media violence is "a first step by Congress to legislate entertainment content and videogames."

Introduced in the wake of the horrific mass murder at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Bill S.134, the "Violent Content Research Act of 2013," will direct the National Academy of Sciences to conduct another study into the harmful effects of exposure to videogame violence on children. It might seem like a fairly innocuous bit of legislation - after all, numerous previous studies have failed to establish any such link, and more knowledge is never a bad thing - but the ECA has now officially come out against the legislation and is calling on its members and supporters to do the same.

The ECA pointed out that Senator Jay Rockefeller, one of the driving forces behind the bill, has made clear his belief, irrespective of any evidence, that videogames do in fact have a detrimental effect on children, and also noted that the evidence actually indicates the opposite: Violent crime in the U.S. and around the world has been declining since the 1980s while videogame sales have skyrocketed, and countries whose per capita spending on videogames actually exceeds that of the U.S. nonetheless enjoy significantly lower levels of violence, and particularly gun violence.

It then listed several other reasons why the proposed study will "achieve little," before concluding that the whole thing is a smokescreen. "This is a first step by Congress to legislate entertainment content and videogames," the ECA said. "They have stated that they disagree with the Supreme Court's decision that videogames are protected speech. For that alone, this issue is too politicized and cannot proceed as is."

Opposing research into a potential cause of harm to children is a risky move to say the least, and especially in support of a medium that remains so controversial to so many. But it also signals the industry's growing maturity; a willingness to stand up to the powers that be instead of acquiescing to their every demand in hopes of acceptance is a big step to take, but sooner or later one that also becomes unavoidably necessary if any measure of independence is to be maintained.

Source: Entertainment Consumers Association

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Good for them i support this, we have more than enough studies that utterly destroy the senators opinions on the matter, we do not need our tax dollars spent on 10s of millions more to study something that has been studied to death since moving pictures became a thing.

Personally I don't care about the government wanting to throw more money into a hole to research video games. What I do care about is politicians using this as a smokescreen to avoid talking about gun control and improved healthcare.

All we need now is for another school shooting to happen, and then the psychopath is found to have stood next to a gaming device at some point in his life, and this legislation will go through. At this point it's it's more about blame figures and scapegoats than a quest for genuine knowledge, and that's a terrible insult to what science/research is supposed to be used for.

United States is a funny place.

Phrozenflame500:
Personally I don't care about the government wanting to throw more money into a hole to research video games. What I do care about is politicians using this as a smokescreen to avoid talking about gun control and improved healthcare.

Politicians will always find an excuse to avoid the important issues, but anti-government politicians use government waste as a excuse to cut spending, then eliminate important programs. So, you should care.

Opposing research into a potential cause of harm to children is a risky move to say the least, and especially in support of a medium that remains so controversial to so many.

Except when you can point to countless other sources of research that says the proposed study is already chasing a red herring. :P

I mean seriously, how many times are they going to run this dog and pony show? The vast majority of independent studies have shown no link whatsoever between violent people and violent media, the ones that have either used an obviously flawed method or were obviously biased in their foundation (i.e. funding).

Least I live in Canada.

I do enjoy watching the cycle in politics.
DISASTER
BLAME
NEWS COVERAGE
USELESS LEGISLATION
FADING AWAY
Forgotten

Rinse and repeat boys rinse and repeat.

So, how do they find volunteers for these studies, anyways? Are they hanging up fliers and posting things online that say, "Looking for volunteers between the ages of six and eighteen for a clinical study. We ask that volunteers have no pre-existing psychological conditions. Volunteers will be paid 100 USD an hour to play video games?"

cerebus23:
Good for them i support this, we have more than enough studies that utterly destroy the senators opinions on the matter, we do not need our tax dollars spent on 10s of millions more to study something that has been studied to death since moving pictures became a thing.

I still think those moving pictures are witchcraft.

OT: FFS people, just because the gun lobbyists are trying to bully the senate dosen't mean you should listen. What are they going to do? Shoot you*? The minute they do, all gun owners rights get put on the spotlight. And all their "guns don't hurt people, video games do." argument get thrown out.

*I am not advocating people getting shot. I don't want anyone to get shot.

And what if games are detrimental? Should we bury the possible issue under the rug?

Obviously biased "research" isn't what we want, but the industry isn't going to conduct the research needed to learn more about possible detriments from gaming.

Yuuki:
All we need now is for another school shooting to happen, and then the psychopath is found to have stood next to a gaming device at some point in his life, and this legislation will go through.

One successful shadowrun later...

Yuuki:
All we need now is for another school shooting to happen, and then the psychopath is found to have stood next to a gaming device at some point in his life, and this legislation will go through. At this point it's it's more about blame figures and scapegoats than a quest for genuine knowledge, and that's a terrible insult to what science/research is supposed to be used for.

United States is a funny place.

No kiddin. I think I discovered another reason other countries don't like us that much. I'm happy that I was born here,but Iwon't blindly defend it. Because, just look at how usually view different things. We're a good bunch of people,but we can be so cruel sometimes,and that makes mes me kind of sad.

CardinalPiggles:
And what if games are detrimental? Should we bury the possible issue under the rug?

Obviously biased "research" isn't what we want, but the industry isn't going to conduct the research needed to learn more about possible detriments from gaming.

Pretty much this. The world's more nuanced than people on either extreme seem to be willing to acknowledge. Games are able to be good and they can probably be bad, and it's worth understanding how/when/why they could be either, rather than plugging our ears, closing our eyes, and shouting, "GAMES ARE [GOOD/EVIL]!"

While it's more than clear that violent video games do not directly cause violence, it's well worth trying to understand if/how they may affect us, our minds, and how we think/behave. It's not an easy thing to examine or even begin to examine, but could tell us a whole lot about how our brains work and develop. On top of that, developers could potentially learn some things from such research.

Quantum Glass:
So, how do they find volunteers for these studies, anyways? Are they hanging up fliers and posting things online that say, "Looking for volunteers between the ages of six and eighteen for a clinical study. We ask that volunteers have no pre-existing psychological conditions. Volunteers will be paid 100 USD an hour to play video games?"

"..must be able to produce evidence of sociopathic, psychopathic and/or such related tendencies otherwise harmful to self and/or others, after minimal exposure to a narrow scope of the subject matter to be tested, as and when the cameras are recording or important officials are visiting."

CardinalPiggles:
And what if games are detrimental?

And what if eating chicken causes you to grow feathers in your throat and die? At what point can we say the evidence is in, and clearly does not support what certain twisted groups and individuals would LIKE for it to support?

bravetoaster:
While it's more than clear that violent video games do not directly cause violence, it's well worth trying to understand if/how they may affect us, our minds, and how we think/behave. It's not an easy thing to examine or even begin to examine, but could tell us a whole lot about how our brains work and develop. On top of that, developers could potentially learn some things from such research.

I'm pretty sure this bill has nothing to do with any of that.

I'm unconvinced that there is any research that could be conducted that would prevent us from having to jump back on this particular ride again a few years down the line.

That being the case, could we maybe spend the money somewhere where it could actually do some good? Rebuild some bridges? Research some vaccines? Hell, invest in better mental health support, if combating violence is actually the goal?

Guys, doing research isn't the problem. The problem is how often this "research" completely disregards the scientific process. If we could have research that is done without an ulterior motive or ultimate end-goal (aka GRAWR BAN ALL THE GAMES), then we might have a study both sides could consider valid.

bravetoaster:
Pretty much this. The world's more nuanced than people on either extreme seem to be willing to acknowledge. Games are able to be good and they can probably be bad, and it's worth understanding how/when/why they could be either, rather than plugging our ears, closing our eyes, and shouting, "GAMES ARE [GOOD/EVIL]!"

While it's more than clear that violent video games do not directly cause violence, it's well worth trying to understand if/how they may affect us, our minds, and how we think/behave. It's not an easy thing to examine or even begin to examine, but could tell us a whole lot about how our brains work and develop. On top of that, developers could potentially learn some things from such research.

Not from this research.

It's long been documented that research that's even only funded by a party with stakes on the outcome is likely to get subtly twisted to suit the contractor's needs. Some notable example include medicines that are 'proven' to 'cure' or 'prevent' Altzheimers, if you're looking for something to search for.

Even if data is objectively gathered it's not difficult at all to creatively use statistics to interpret that in a variety of ways. At the end of the day scientists are just people, people with jobs. And when you've been hired to prove that there's a link between two things, you'll find yourself subtly choosing slightly different methods and treating all the data just slightly differently in order to 'do your job'.

Each will, on it's own, still be a completely valid method. But when you start stacking selectively chosen methods and interpretations you'll still end up with a subtly skewed conclusion.

Pyrian:

CardinalPiggles:
And what if games are detrimental?

At what point can we say the evidence is in, and clearly does not support what certain twisted groups and individuals would LIKE for it to support?

Never. I'd say we need 2 sides to every argument. Otherwise nothing changes.

Clearly we don't want corrupt people adding their own flavour to the mixing bowl but some research and understanding is better than sticking our fingers in our ears and saying "Nope, games can't hurt me".

Ideally I'd want many neutral teams conducting uninfluenced research into the possible issue, but if only the world were perfect.

We need this study to prove games are harmless.

It won't happen anyway. Videogames are far from harmless. Far from dangerous too.

But they are like a drug. You wouldn't give your kids drugs. Would you?

Forget I asked. Worthless question just like this research. They only see what they want to see.

CardinalPiggles:

Pyrian:

CardinalPiggles:
And what if games are detrimental?

At what point can we say the evidence is in, and clearly does not support what certain twisted groups and individuals would LIKE for it to support?

Never. I'd say we need 2 sides to every argument. Otherwise nothing changes.

No, CardinalPiggles. Not accepting empiric proof is what prevents anything from changing. So long as you accept both sides to an argument, no matter how discredited, the argument can never end, and we can never move on. This attitude is a recipe for stagnation.

CardinalPiggles:
Clearly we don't want corrupt people adding their own flavour to the mixing bowl...

That's all there's left to do.

CardinalPiggles:
...but some research and understanding is better than sticking our fingers in our ears and saying "Nope, games can't hurt me".

The research was done. Repeatedly. And the societal evidence is overwhelming. It's your position that is sticking fingers in the ears and saying "I don't care how much research is done, it must continue until it produces some results I like!"

RJ 17:

Opposing research into a potential cause of harm to children is a risky move to say the least, and especially in support of a medium that remains so controversial to so many.

Except when you can point to countless other sources of research that says the proposed study is already chasing a red herring. :P

I mean seriously, how many times are they going to run this dog and pony show? The vast majority of independent studies have shown no link whatsoever between violent people and violent media, the ones that have either used an obviously flawed method or were obviously biased in their foundation (i.e. funding).

Independent studies nothing, even the Surgeon General of the United States has chimed in on a couple of occasions to say that it's a minor contributing factor at most. Are senators just ignoring the Surgeon General now?

Well honestly, if laws and bills were passed and created with scientific proof and case studies backing them up instead of some moral crusade from a 65 year old, white, rich, and religious capitalist then lot's of things would be perfectly legal.

AC10:
Well honestly, if laws and bills were passed and created with scientific proof and case studies backing them up instead of some moral crusade from a 65 year old, white, rich, and religious capitalist then lot's of things would be perfectly legal.

Yeah...not so much. While the "old white rich guys" may not like video games, at the very least they like business. And money, which is where lobbyists on our side can do their work and change their minds with cold, hard cash and freebies. The ones you really need to watch are the non-religious do-gooders who would rather have grade schoolers getting condoms from the nurse than letting them play a violent video game. And here's a little video from someone who can make my point (sadly) much better than I can. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txINV-l0qlI

*shrugs* while the research might be waste of every ones time and money in the long run, these guys don't really care about that, they just don't want their scape goat taken away from them

EDIT:
Regretting everything I posted. Too much flame bait.
Please delete.

AC10:
EDIT:
Regretting everything I posted. Too much flame bait.
Please delete.

I wouldn't worry about it. I'm probably the only person on the site who would disagree with you.

Frankly all they'd have to mention is the Government pissing money away. If there is one thing the public cares for more than children, it's their wallets... unless it's their child, they tend to waver when it's theirs.

Pyrian:

CardinalPiggles:

Pyrian:
At what point can we say the evidence is in, and clearly does not support what certain twisted groups and individuals would LIKE for it to support?

Never. I'd say we need 2 sides to every argument. Otherwise nothing changes.

No, CardinalPiggles. Not accepting empiric proof is what prevents anything from changing. So long as you accept both sides to an argument, no matter how discredited, the argument can never end, and we can never move on. This attitude is a recipe for stagnation.

CardinalPiggles:
Clearly we don't want corrupt people adding their own flavour to the mixing bowl...

That's all there's left to do.

CardinalPiggles:
...but some research and understanding is better than sticking our fingers in our ears and saying "Nope, games can't hurt me".

The research was done. Repeatedly. And the societal evidence is overwhelming. It's your position that is sticking fingers in the ears and saying "I don't care how much research is done, it must continue until it produces some results I like!"

You seem to think I want games to be credited for real life violence? What the hell would I be doing on this website for 3 years if I thought games could turn me into a psychopath?

My "position" is not towards one extreme or the other, even if I lean towards gaming not causing real life violence.

I just don't want people to think that gaming can do no harm, because in excess, I can. It's also impossible to study the long term effects of gaming because it's only been a thing for 40 or so years, not even one life time.

CardinalPiggles:

Pyrian:

CardinalPiggles:
And what if games are detrimental?

At what point can we say the evidence is in, and clearly does not support what certain twisted groups and individuals would LIKE for it to support?

Never. I'd say we need 2 sides to every argument. Otherwise nothing changes.

Clearly we don't want corrupt people adding their own flavour to the mixing bowl but some research and understanding is better than sticking our fingers in our ears and saying "Nope, games can't hurt me".

Ideally I'd want many neutral teams conducting uninfluenced research into the possible issue, but if only the world were perfect.

But the research has been done, and it only takes common sense to look at the studies results, videogames, competitive activities, and violence in our society to understand exactly what influence videogames have:

Any and all studies that have been done have shown that competitive videogames may slightly increase the short term competitive nature of those who play them. In exactly the same way that competitive sports, board games, competitions etc. increase our short term competitive nature making us more prone to short tempers and violent acts in the short term. This has exactly the same long term effects on competitive videogame players as it does on anyone else who partakes in competitive activities as a hobby, and it is no more dangerous to play a competitive videogame with your young child than it is to play Monopoly or Chess.

Of course there is content in videogames that can be inappropriate for younger children. We know this, the industry knows this, the government knows this, and it is the exact reason for the PEGI/ERSB age rating on every single videogame sold in our countries.

The content in videogames that is harmful to developing children is the same content that is harmful in books, films and all other forms of art/entertainment: overtly violent/sexual/other adult based themes and graphics. We clearly understand the content that is harmful for children and label our games accordingly with the ESRB/PEGI rating. This is already law, it is enforced (more strictly than movie age restrictions) and requires no further legal amendments.

The negative effect these are having on young children experiencing them when they shouldn't is something that should be addressed with better education for parents and childminders on the importance of age ratings and supervision of videogames, not some sort of mass ban Australia style. It's an issue of parental education and supervision, not videogame content.

That is why this study is useless. At most it will highlight the short term competitive nature that is brought out when anyone does anything competitive. This will be seen as increasing violence in our youngsters and Oh Lord ban this sick filth now!
Any other negative effects they encounter will be from children that have been experiencing games unsuitable for their age limit, and therefore the inappropriate material such as extreme violence/sexual themes which we know to be detrimental to a child's development will be used to tar all games as child-anthrax, instead of the obvious conclusion legally that child should never play that game because we knew exactly this would happen and have laws to prevent it.

The best that could come of it is if someone sane and without political pressure manages to point out the only issue we already know: Parents let their kids play games unsuitable for their age group and in unsupervised areas so they do not know what content their kids are experiencing.
But we already know this. We already know it's a problem. We don't need a scientific study to tell us to put out a few TV adverts/paper articles/Jersey Shore episode etc. on the subject to raise public awareness, we can do that right now.

CardinalPiggles:
And what if games are detrimental? Should we bury the possible issue under the rug?

Obviously biased "research" isn't what we want, but the industry isn't going to conduct the research needed to learn more about possible detriments from gaming.

Well if video games are, in fact, having a negative impact on developing young minds, we'd need a system in place that prevents minors from freely purchasing the more violent, "mature" games available. That would be an important first step, at least. Something like...I dunno, a ratings system, like films have, but specifically tailored to the medium? Hopefully I don't sound too crazy here; I'm just throwing ideas around.

Clearly the solution to this problem is to create our own video game lobbyists.

Yuuki:
All we need now is for another school shooting to happen, and then the psychopath is found to have stood next to a gaming device at some point in his life, and this legislation will go through. At this point it's it's more about blame figures and scapegoats than a quest for genuine knowledge, and that's a terrible insult to what science/research is supposed to be used for.

United States is a funny place.

"The suspect of the latest mass-shooting was reported to be near a console two years before the shooting. The neighbor of the suspect reported that the suspect came by one day to borrow some beans, in which he saw the son of the neighbor playing Mario for a matter of 5 seconds. Scientists suggest that the suspect was emotionally scarred once the video game character jumped on a turtle, which caused the suspect to be motivated to follow the actions of Mario. However, since the victim wasn't tall enough to jump on the victim's heads, he figured a gun would pretty much do the same thing. More at 5."

A bit of humor:

Lets get serious, here.
Honestly? It's people that are the problem. Full stop. We've been hurting eachother to varying degrees ever since one monkey slapped another.

I'm actually willing to believe videogames are causing violence to decline. Games help us work out pent up frustrations in a virtual world whjere we hurt no-one short of verbal abuse, or couch co-op whaps. And online gaming keeps us from reaching across the table to uppercut the other player after they've been cheating. :P

I mean after blaming everything under the sun from books, movies, TV, Comic books and videogames and who knows what else before any of those, the whole scapegoat attempts are loosing their credibility, IMO.

It seems like people want to look at everything else but what's wrong with humanity as a whole.

There's bad people out there! They have genuine, large, dangerous psychological problems! And worse yet, there's people out there that'll carelessly try to create them in people, or make existing ones worse! And what the fuck does society care about it, nevermind do about it? Blame everything else but those issues!

I'm probably going to catch some hell for this, but the answer to violence is to instill the fear of reciprocated violence. Gunmen are cowards for the most part, going by ambush, and preying on the people who are less armed. Criminals don't want to get shot, so they'll often go after the places they're less likely to get shot.
The have-nots will find a way, IMO. Pushed to the edge enough, or via dangerous psychological problems, violence will happen. It's not universal, mind you, but there will always be some.
Hell, even some of the haves of out society get off on hurting the less fortunate.

If you outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns.

Even if you destroy every gun on earth, and the knowhow to make more, this will only solve gun violence. Not blade/primitive weapon violence. That'll be next.
Then improvised weapons. Bricks, hammers, toilet seats.
Then muscles, flesh, and bone.
People will always find a way to hurt one another, take from one another, and express their disgruntlement through violence. Especiallly if they're desperate enough to end their misery.
Hell, that's not entirely correct either. What is, IMO? Violence is -natural-. And like nearly everything in nature, it will always find a way.

Harming games won't fix violence.

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