Video Game Makers Reject Responsibility for School Violence

The video game industry is pushing back on the idea that violence in pop culture could be the cause of a recent string of school shootings, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

"Countries with the lowest number of shooting deaths have some of the most violent media and violent games, even more so than the U.S." Gary Brubaker, head of SMU's Guildhall, explains.

The debate has been sparked by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who was the guest on several weekend talk shows, trying to make sense of the Santa Fe school shooting, where ten people were killed and ten more injured.

"We have devalued life, whether it’s through abortion, whether it’s the breakup of families, through violent movies, and particularly violent video games," he told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos. Patrick, doubled down, saying that it's not guns that are the problem.

"Psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that students are desensitized to violence, may have lost empathy for their victims by watching hours and hours of video violent games.

"But Psychology Professor Christopher Ferguson of Stetson University in Florida says that's factually incorrect.

"It really doesn’t matter what school of data you look at.  We have so many schools of data at this point, and they all converge on the same finding, that this is a non-issue and this is not the thing society should focus on if we're serious about reducing violent crime," he tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.

He says the studies, including one done at his school, follow kids over a decade's time to see if violent media predicts violent crime.  There was no evidence that playing video games in early childhood led to problems later on.

In fact, the former professor at Texas A&M International says the studies show the typical school shooter consumes less violent media than their peers.

And he says there's an incorrect public perception that things are getting worse.

"You can look at societal violence rates," he says.  "As we consume more violent video games, youth violence has declined over 80-percent."

Brubaker says this phenomenon of blaming pop culture is not new.

"In the 50s and 60s, it was rock and roll music that was going to make people into communists, and now we look back at that as quaint and ridiculous."

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