After last week's mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, videogames are unsurprisingly once again in the eye of the storm as several US politicians including President Donald Trump have once again blamed the entertainment medium.
Speaking to the New York Times, Dr. Chris Ferguson (psychology professor at Stetson University) heavily downplayed any possible causation between playing videogames and becoming a mass murderer.
The data on bananas causing suicide is about as conclusive. Literally. The numbers work out about the same.
James Ivory, a professor and research director at Virginia Tech also consulted on the issue by the New York Times, provided a similar outlook.
It is very similar to saying the perpetrator wears shoes. They do, but so do their peers in the general population.
We should think about when we are more comfortable looking for something else to blame. I haven’t heard any senators talk about video games when an immigrant commits a crime.
Shortly after Trump's statement, the Entertainment Software Association also put out a statement to reinforce its position on the matter.
As we shared at the White House video game meeting in March 2018, numerous scientific studies have established that there is no causal connection between video games and violence. More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S.Video games positively contribute to society, from new medical therapies and advancements, educational tools, business innovation, and more. Video games help players connect with family and friends, relieve stress, and have fun. We encourage parents who have concerns about age-appropriate video game content to visit ParentalTools.org to learn more how to control what games are played in their homes.
Indeed, you might recall this wasn't the first time President Trump attacked videogames. A School Safety Commission was instituted and its report also downplayed the effects of violent videogames on would-be mass murderers. Unfortunately, despite evidence to the contrary, videogames continue to be a perfect scapegoat for politicians looking to divert attention from the real issues at hand and as such, it is likely we haven't heard the last of this.