In the gun debate that has overrun the nation in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, many blame video game industry for instilling a culture of violence in our children. According to media reports, the president on Wednesday asked Congress for $10 million to examine a possible connection.
Not so fast, says Assistant Professor Sherri Hope Culver, director of the Center for Media and Information Literacy at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication. Culver questions the value of pushing such a large amount of funding to the CDC, the president's recommended recipient.
"The CDC will approach violence as a disease – that's their job. But where's the media literacy education?," asks Culver. "If the concern is that media use can lead to bad behavior, then gun violence isn't the only bad behavior it influences."
She says years of research on violence in media has never offered a conclusive connection between violent video games and violent behavior. At most, some studies have shown that a violent game may narrowly impact the behavior of the user in the "short term" -- but not months or years later, even after repeated use.
However, “If media had no influence on how we acted, there wouldn’t be an advertising industry,” Culver says. “There is a whole lot of gray between 'Violent video games have no impact' and 'Violent video games cause you to go out and murder.'"
Center for Media and Information Literacy: www.centermil.org.