Psychologist Reaches Out To Massachussetts Senator Over New Game Research

Psychologist Reaches Out To Massachussetts Senator Over New Game Research

Christopher J. Ferguson

Professor Christopher J. Ferguson says he's willing to work with lawmakers to craft legislation that will actually have relevance to "children's media lives."

Christopher Ferguson has maintained a consistent message over the years regarding video game violence: Blaming games for causing violence is simply moral panic and distracts from real issues, as legislators, nervous parents and others relentlessly and single-mindedly pursue their efforts to prove that a causal link exists.

He maintains that position in a new editorial, "The Great Video Game Moral Panic," in which he points out that Sandy Hook mass murderer Adam Lanza's early and oft-reported "obsession" with video games has proven to be "largely a hoax," but also offers to work with Massachusetts Senator William Brownsberger to come up with laws that will actually help address real concerns about media consumption.

"Part of the problem is that almost all men under 40 now play VVG [violent video games], at least occasionally. So, if one is inclined, it's possible to link almost any crime committed by young males to VVG," Ferguson wrote. "This is about as meaningful as linking crime to wearing pants rather than dresses, growing facial hair, having testicles, or anything else almost all men do."

Ferguson said he's spoken with Senator Brownsberger, who he describes as "refreshingly honest about the lack of clear links between violent video games and the Sandy Hook case or violence more generally," about Brownsberger's Senate Bill 168. The bill would establish a commission to "investigate video games as a form of media and as a training tool," and of course "any connection... between killing games and actual violence, including rampage killings that have taken place since 1990."

He's worried about the language in the bill and notes that commissions can be "stacked" to produce desired results, but added that he's willing to work with the Senator "on something less focused on worrying about non-existent links between VVG and societal violence, and perhaps something more akin to a calm educational campaign" related to tools that already exist, like game ratings and parental controls.

"Whilst we debated VVG, we did nothing to address the issue of our country's woefully inadequate mental health system, of poverty or educational disparities," Ferguson wrote. "That is the risk of moral panics; they ultimately distract us from more pressing issues we really need to fix."

Source: Boston.com

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Andy Chalk:
"Whilst we debated VVG, we did nothing to address the issue of our country's woefully inadequate mental health system, of poverty or educational disparities," Ferguson wrote.

Nor did we do anything to address the pandemic of bad parents using electronic media as a babysitter, who then wonder how little Johnny could go so wrong when they missed or flat-out ignored signs of problems for years.

Don't get me wrong; the points that Mr. Ferguson brings up are spot-on and entirely relevant- but I'm sick and tired of bad parents getting a free pass on all of this. Don't tell me you can't keep your kid from playing violent games; you're the parent- it's your JOB to keep your kid from doing things you don't want them to.

The Rogue Wolf:
Don't get me wrong; the points that Mr. Ferguson brings up are spot-on and entirely relevant- but I'm sick and tired of bad parents getting a free pass on all of this. Don't tell me you can't keep your kid from playing violent games; you're the parent- it's your JOB to keep your kid from doing things you don't want them to.

Unfortunately this is an issue that will not, and almost cannot, be addressed in the public. The people most needed to hear it would be the least likely to listen, and making a public statement of "you're doing shitty job of raising a family" pretty much destroys all chances of ever being listened to ever again. That's not even including how in America that comment would be construed as supporting Satanism or something (because of course any 'attack' on family values is an attack on the Bible somehow).

The Rogue Wolf:

Andy Chalk:
"Whilst we debated VVG, we did nothing to address the issue of our country's woefully inadequate mental health system, of poverty or educational disparities," Ferguson wrote.

Nor did we do anything to address the pandemic of bad parents using electronic media as a babysitter, who then wonder how little Johnny could go so wrong when they missed or flat-out ignored signs of problems for years.

Don't get me wrong; the points that Mr. Ferguson brings up are spot-on and entirely relevant- but I'm sick and tired of bad parents getting a free pass on all of this. Don't tell me you can't keep your kid from playing violent games; you're the parent- it's your JOB to keep your kid from doing things you don't want them to.

Which goes double for that one female politician (forgot who) who talked about her three kids playing these games and wondering where society went wrong.

Gee, lady...maybe it would have helped if you STOPPED THEM FROM PLAYING THE GAMES! Actually...I can go one better. It would have helped if you DIDN'T BUY THEM THOSE GAMES IN THE FIRST PLACE!

*gets looks* Nowadays with the restrictions stores place on what media minors can buy...no way in heck did her kids buy those games for themselves.

CAPTCHA: run amok

That's what I'm afraid they will do, Captcha...

I know he's joking but having testicles probably does contribute to a lot of crime.

More seriously... I think the main reason lawmakers are searching desperately for a scapegoat to explain violence is that addressing these issues properly through enhanced mental health programs or ambitious social welfare programs to address the social causes of crime is a very expensive proposition. Given the current political climate, no politician wants to be seen advocating for large government spending projects during a recession even if those projects would be ultimately beneficial. Blaming media allows these people to look like they're doing something without having to actually spend money on the issue.

Plus: remember that the internet is not a dump truck, it's a series of tubes (i.e. these politicians are mostly old people with little understanding of video games, computers or anything that came into being within the last decade or so).

"having testicles, or anything else almost all men do."

So, in the world where he comes from, having testicles is something that only *almost* all men do? Interesting.

The Rogue Wolf:

Nor did we do anything to address the pandemic of bad parents using electronic media as a babysitter, who then wonder how little Johnny could go so wrong when they missed or flat-out ignored signs of problems for years.

Don't get me wrong; the points that Mr. Ferguson brings up are spot-on and entirely relevant- but I'm sick and tired of bad parents getting a free pass on all of this. Don't tell me you can't keep your kid from playing violent games; you're the parent- it's your JOB to keep your kid from doing things you don't want them to.

Long as we don't start labeling everyone whose kids are doing bad parents.

25 years ago, the conservatives in this country were horrified by the notion that wives were in the workforce and you had families working two full-time jobs. Ronnie Raygun, the Republican SuperJesus, had defined that as poverty. These days, it's called "middle class." It's still poverty, but if we called it that, someone might actually try and do something about it. No, we soft serve the fact that decades of erosion of our work force has left people broke as shit and forced to work multiple jobs and the like.

We're in a situation where not everyone can give their kids the attention necessary. This isn't even necessarily something you know when you have a kid--it's not like there's a flat expense for child-rearing, or that there's a required course before you spawn. Hell, half the country doesn't even want kids to know where babies come from.

In the end, this comes down to the fact that parents exist, but we also have a systemic social failure.

TiberiusEsuriens:

Unfortunately this is an issue that will not, and almost cannot, be addressed in the public. The people most needed to hear it would be the least likely to listen, and making a public statement of "you're doing shitty job of raising a family" pretty much destroys all chances of ever being listened to ever again. That's not even including how in America that comment would be construed as supporting Satanism or something (because of course any 'attack' on family values is an attack on the Bible somehow).

We're a country that hates Political. Correctness, but will censor and demand the head of anyone who hurts our feelings. Ain't no-one gun tell me how to raise my yung'ins!

RJ Dalton:
"having testicles, or anything else almost all men do."

So, in the world where he comes from, having testicles is something that only *almost* all men do? Interesting.

Well, there are female-to-male transsexuals, there are bio-males born without testicles, there are those who lose their testicles to injury, cancer, etc.

Unless losing yur testicles automatically makes you a woman, I'd say yeah. It's something only most men do.

RJ Dalton:
"having testicles, or anything else almost all men do."

So, in the world where he comes from, having testicles is something that only *almost* all men do? Interesting.

glad im not the only one to notice that. Then again, maybe he incudes women who identify as men in that category.

Johnson McGee:
Given the current political climate, no politician wants to be seen advocating for large government spending projects during a recession even if those projects would be ultimately beneficial.

It is 2014. Can we stop pretending we are still in recession and using that to justify underpaying workers and begin greedy? Recession ended in 2010. We are at a slow but stable growth with exception of a few european countries. heck, the business profits are already back to 2007 levels, yet the pay for workers remain at the "Crysis" level.

Zachary Amaranth:

Well, there are female-to-male transsexuals, there are bio-males born without testicles, there are those who lose their testicles to injury, cancer, etc.

Unless losing yur testicles automatically makes you a woman, I'd say yeah. It's something only most men do.

im wondering, how much statistical significance these caregories have? As in, do we have at least 1% of "men" that would apply to these categories you name?

Strazdas:
l significance these caregories have? As in, do we have at least 1% of "men" that would apply to these categories you name?

I don't know, in part because I don't care. Statistics isn't a significant reason to preclude people.

 

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