As gamers and consumers, most of us are well aware of the ongoing argument that violence in the media may correlate with violence in society. For years there have been many attempts made to associate the increasing rate of violence in videogames with the amount of violent crimes committed every year. It has even escalated to the point that the government often brings up the issue.
However, a recent published study indicates that there is no link between videogame violence and the violence experienced in society. An article written by the International Communication Association cites the work of Christopher Ferguson, who published a study in the Journal of Communication. During one part of Ferguson’s study, he looked into the correlation between videogame violence consumption and the rates of youth violence between the years 1996-2011.
For Christopher Ferguson’s study, Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) ratings were used in order to estimate the content of violence in some of the most popular games during the years 1996-2011. The estimated content was compared against federal data gathered on youth violence rates during the same period of years. The consumption of these violent videogames actually wound up correlating with a decrease in the youth violence rate, although the study chalked up the correlation to chance.
Although the amount of violence in videogames seems to increase over the years, there is very little evidence indicating that this as a problem for society. Christopher Ferguson, along with a number of scholars, has concluded that there is still no correlation between the amount of violence in videogames and the rate of violence in society. According to Ferguson: “Society has a limited amount of resources and attention to devote to the problem of reducing crime. There is a risk that identifying the wrong problem, such as media violence, may distract society from more pressing concerns such as poverty, education and vocational disparities and mental health.” Ferguson’s findings would suggest that we focus our efforts on tackling those issues which are actually contributing to problems in society.