A press release issued earlier today by the American Psychological Association took a shot at violent video games.
The APA explained that it had adopted a resolution recommending a reduction in the level of violence in games marketed to children and youth. The policy decision was adopted at the recommendation of a special committee empaneled to study violence in games and interactive media.
"Showing violent acts without consequences teach youth that violence is an effective means of resolving conflict. Whereas, seeing pain and suffering as a consequence can inhibit aggressive behavior," said, psychologist Elizabeth Carll, PhD, (at left) co-chair of the committee responsible for the APA report.
"Violence in video games appear to have similar negative effects as viewing violence on TV, but may be more harmful because of the interactive nature of video games, Carll added. "Playing video games involves practice, repetition, and being rewarded for numerous acts of violence, which may intensify the learning. This may also result in more realistic experiences which may potentially increase aggressive behavior."
The video game industry was quick to respond. ESA President Doug Lowenstein issued a statement saying, in part, "...the APA has made it clear over a long period of time that it believes violent video games are harmful and thus justify enactment of unconstitutional restrictions on First Amendment freedoms. The APA continues to disregard a body of other credible research and analysis...which challenge claims that video games cause aggression or crime...In fact, just this week, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign released the first long-term study on the effects of playing violent online video games and found that they do not cause any substantial real-world aggression. Nary a word of it is mentioned by the APA..."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The confusing, swirling morass of research continues to swirl...and confuse. It seems that whatever your position in this debate, there is a study - or studies - to support it. Where is the definitive research? Perhaps Senator Clinton's proposed $90 million study will be the answer.