I have JUST read the most ridiculous article about the 'direct correlation between playing video games and drinking, smoking and unprotected sex'. It was ridiculous, not just because I do not agree with it, but because of the COMPLETE LACK OF EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE!!!!! Whilst this blog is not about reviewing a video game as such, it is about reviewing a prevalent topic linked directly to this HUGE virtual world.
I am going to swear in this blog because I am HIGHLY passionate about video games and how they affect our social interaction. I will not name the author nor will I name the source as I do not want to be sued. I will not directly quote from the article either. What I will tell you is that this is tabloid slander at its fucking finest. The article makes the MOST obvious comparison to the Grand Theft Auto series (which is a load of shit right from the get go!). Naturally, this game introduces players to a wide array of criminal activity SO, it's no wonder that this SHIT article mentioned this game in it's title. It suggests that 'Scientists' studied 5,000 American teenagers across four years and found..... WAIT FOR IT...... that the teenagers that played the most adult rated video games (yes Grand Theft Auto) were more likely to have unprotected sex, smoke and show signs of aggression!! I have a huge qualm about this statement. Firstly, this article DID NOT tell us what kind of background these kids derived from. There could have been a TON of factors that led to showing delinquent behaviour. Let's stream a few: Family breakdown, poverty, too much money, bad role models, abuse, domestic violence could potentially be linked. NOTHING! We are told nothing about the kids. To add personal context, my cousin has played video games (Including ALL Grand Theft Auto games) since the age of FIVE! He is now sixteen. He has never been in trouble with the police. Never smoked. Never consumed alcohol. Never skipped school. Never showed any signs of promiscuity and IS GOING TO COLLEGE IN SEPTEMBER TO STUDY GAME DESIGN! Do the maths!
The very same article uses incredibly flimsy definitions like 'Scientists'. Are we serious?? 'Scientists'. This is such a broad term. In addition, if we are going to present findings that condemn video games to hell then surely we should be more specific about the researchers?? There are NO names mentioned of any of the researchers which makes me question the validity of such loose findings. Naturally, I am thinking that this is another, albeit, WEAK attempt to dent the culture of video gaming and all that venture in to the virtual world of gaming. Additionally, there is no mention to ANY of the 'scientists' names. Therefore, we are unable to cross reference any of this for validity purposes.
In the title of this blog I asked: "Are we all doomed?" My answer is "no". Simple, we are not doomed. I accept that media can influence violent crimes. Note that I wrote 'influenced' as opposed to 'caused'. My personal opinion is that for those individuals that dare break the law; do so for many reasons that are too complex to discuss here. Video game playing may be a coincidental factor in the path of those individuals. Finally, we can scour the internet ALL DAY and find many positive stories about how video games are linked to improving logical, reasoning and problem solving skills in people of all ages. For this, I am grateful. I have been playing video games for twenty six years and I have never broken the law or deliberately harmed another human being. Now I'm going to spend my evening playing Grand Theft Auto V. Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.
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