Video Game Industry and Violence Essay

1363 Words 6 Pages
Video Game Industry Should Restrain Violence

In 1998, the US software industry sold $6.3 billion worth of video games (see Unknown). Not bad for an industry that didn't exist 25 years ago! Yet despite its continued growth, all is not well in the video game industry. School shootings in Littleton, Colorado; Pearl, Mississippi; Paducah, Kentucky; Conyers, Georgia and many other towns have shocked the nation (see Malcolm). Understandably, grieving parents and sympathetic citizens are searching for a cause for this "outbreak" of youth violence. It is natural to assume, "when children, the symbol of innocence, commit the severest of crimes, then something must be going wrong with society." (see Maker)

The problem is,
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Yet, other authors have raised concerns about the validity of these findings. Freedman (1996) states that many studies "have used dubious measure of aggression" and have difficulty "distinguishing effects of violence from effects of interest and excitement" because "the violent films in [some] experiments are more arousing than the neutral films." All of this makes it very difficult for concerned citizens to draw any definite conclusions.

Additionally, crime statistics further muddle the search for cause and effect. Homicide data suggest that murders have been steadily decreasing during the last decade. Furthermore, there hasn't really been any detectable "outbreak" of youth violence over the last few years. Studies show that the homicide rate doubled between 1963 & 1973 (from 4.6 to 9.4 homicides per 100,000 residents). Why might this have occurred? It then oscillated from 8 to 10 homicides per 100,000 during the next 20 years. In 1994, the rate began to drop fairly steadily. Today's homicide rate is the lowest it has been in 33 years. Yet, it is

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