Why is it that there are people out there who spend their days trying to prove a correlation between violence in movies/games/online/tv and violent behaviour? You'd think that after almost half a century of TV and still no final conclusion, these researchers would realise that they will never be able to prove anything.
The latest, courtesy of News.com.au, comes from Pediatrics, and was conducted by a group called "Internet Solutions for Kids". Yeah, like they don't have an agenda. They surveyed 1,588 young people aged 10 to 15 years old about their online media habits and predilection towards violent behaviour. The researcher then went on to claim that the interactive nature of the internet could mean that its influence is more powerful than other media... wait, isn't that what critics say about games?
So, even though I'm not a scientist or a professional researcher, I do have a small amount of common sense, (which the people who conduct these studies always seem to lack) and I'm going to use it to explain why every single one of these studies is a waste of time, money and effort and only diverts attention away from the real problems of the world. You ready? Here goes:
Humans are, by their very nature, violent. There, I said it. Any study trying to link violent behaviour with violent media is impossible to prove because we, as human beings, are inherently violent. Don't believe me? Then tell me, what TV show caused World War I? WWII? Vietnam? Or what if we go back further - The American Civil War? The Crusades? The Crucifixion of Jesus? Don't tell me that happened because of some book/TV show/movie/video game/website.
Humans have been violent since they first walked upright. Trying to find a convenient media to blame it on is stupid. The best course of action is to try and understand that fact and use "violent" outlets, like video games or team sports, to manage and contain our natural violent urges. That, and responsible education for children about the consequences of violence.
Feel free to argue with me in comments.