Videogames only effect behavior for a very short amount of time, suggests Australian review into violence and gaming.
The idea that playing violent videogames will warp you into a more violent and aggressive person has seemingly been debunked, as a review commissioned by the Australian government, which scoured piles of existing research, found no conclusive proof of that that would happen.
The review is part of the ongoing deliberations about the creation of an R18+ rating for videogames in Australia. The Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor said that there was more evidence to support the idea that violent games had more effect on people in the short term than the long term, although some of the research suggested that even then its influence was relatively minor. O'Connor added a caveat to that statement, however, saying that he didn't think that particular research properly investigated other potential factors, like home life and how aggressive the subject was normally.
O'Connor said that the countries censorship ministers had requested that existing research into the link between violence and videogames be examined and summarized in order to help them make an informed decision. He was keen to see the decision-making process move forward, and wanted to provide those who would be casting their votes with as much "robust" background information as possible.
"Australia needs a consistent classification system," O'Connor said. "That protects young minds from any possible adverse affect, while also ensuring that adults are free to make their own decisions about what they play, within the bounds of the law." These comments are quite a change in tone from former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, who made it quite clear that he had no problem taking choices away from adults if it meant children weren't exposed to violent games.
Obviously, this review isn't going to magically make everything better, but it will go a long way to countering one of the main arguments about relaxing the restrictions on games in Australia. The next Attorney-General meeting is on December 10th, where the matter will be discussed further. Hopefully this review will help push the Attorneys'-General collective opinion more allowing games to come out in Australia without having to be sanitized and censored first.