Report says Violence Bad, Smoking Worse Print E-mail
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Written by Christophor "SuperGuido" Rick   
Thursday, 29 November 2007

[OpEd]

A recent study finished at the University of Michigan, showed that violence in media (that's TELEVISION, FILM AND Video Games for those who want to sensationalise this as just video games) is the second largest danger to people behind cigarette smoke. And here I thought it was shark attacks, alien invasions and natural disasters.

What a strange study this must have been. Ok you two test subjects go smoke as many cigarettes as you can and then come back for testing. You two test subjects go play violent video games, watch violent shows and film and see if you become violent and are sent to jail.

The study looked at "over 50 years of violence in media" and...wait a second. Video games have only truly been around for about 30 years right? The first really violent video games didn't show up until the 1980s, so that means half or more of this data is actually film and television. OK, just so we're clear on that. After looking at those mounds of data L. Rowell Huesmann, of the University of Michigan, and his colleague Brad Bushman concluded that only smoking posed a greater danger. How do you even compare the two? The number of people allegedly killed by smoking versus the number of people allegedly killed by violence because of its depiction in media?

How do you quantify those two things? See I have a degree in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology, that means I know all about these 'studies' and how you can make the numbers look as you need them to. But really I find it hard to believe you could quantify the effects of either of these accurately. Smoking has been 'linked to' a host of diseases but that doesn't mean it's the actual cause, we simply are not 100% sure. Same thing with violence in the media. They say people have a tendency to be more violent. So is that like 10% more likely to kick someone in the shin or 50% more likely to pre-meditate a murder?

Of course to cover their arses they state that "not every child exposed to violence in the media will become aggressive." The most brilliant of all statements in the whole thing I think is that they believe this "does not diminish the need for greater control on the part of parents and society of what children are exposed to in films, video games and television programs."

 Wow, you think? We here at Generation: Gamerz have long been proponents of parents being involved in the decision-making process for their children. I'm glad that our stance now has scientific evidence to back it up. Regardless we would have continued to call for education of parents and them taking an active role in their children's lives. That is part of the reason why we include game ratings where possible and had an entire week dedicated to the game ratings systems around the world. The best weapon for parents is information and paying attention. So get on that already!

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