Announced today was a new survey in the UK that found that 61% of the British population believe that violent video games “cause real-word violence and aggression.” The survey was commissioned and done in conjunction with Dr. Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute, through respected public polling company YouGov.
However, this new piece of research changes nothing.
Gamers vs. The World
Once you break down the actual results, the findings are actually not so clear cut. Namely, the study overwhelmingly found that there is a chasmic opinion between gamers and those who don’t play video games. Unsurprisingly, those who have never played video games, and/or don’t have experience of violent video games, are far more likely to hold the opinion that violence in games have a tangible affect on the actions of those who play them.
Interestingly, the opinion amongst gamers is not as polemic as you might expect.
There is also a significant difference of opinion between age groups, finding that the older a person is, the more likely they are to think that video games cause violence.
Official infographic showing the differences between gamers and non-gamers concerning the questions asked in the survey.
You Go, Girl?
The most interesting pieces of data in the survey was the difference between men and women. Women, according to the survey, are more likely to think that video games cause real-world violence. This is interesting as women makes up almost half of the gaming population, as found in recent surveys done by PixWoo and XBox Live, which may be the reason why there is a narrower gap in opinion amongst gamers. But why females are more inclined to think this would be a whole new piece of research in itself.
Official infographic showing the difference in opinion between males and females surveyed.
The Debate Won’t Change
However, predictably, news sources are already honing in on the “61%” statistic, rather than trying to paw over the nuances of the data. The real value of this study is that it shows that experience of video games greatly influences a person’s outlook on the topic, making it as good an example as any to show that the issue is far more complicated that the simplistic arguments of “monkey see, monkey do”.
The real value of this study is that it shows that experience of video games greatly influences a person’s outlook on the topic, making it as good an example as any to show that the issue is far more complicated that the simplistic arguments of “monkey see, monkey do”
Such statistics will be sold to the masses purely for them to lazily back-up the shallow opinions they already have, rather than actually making any effort to do any critical thinking. This is particularly frustrating as there is some really surprising counterpoint out there, such as that done at Stetson University in Florida that found that violent video games lowered the levels of aggression in teenagers.
A Grand Theft Irony
To add irony to idiocy, the UK is the country that has given the world Grand Theft Auto series, of which latest installment, Grand Theft Auto V, has become one of the highest rated and fastest selling games of all time. As it still continues to cause controversy, with stripping mini-game mechanics, torture scenes, and reports of light necrophilia, it’s no surprise that this debate has surfaced yet again.
Given the survey’s results, it would be interesting to know how the demographic of those surveyed break down, in order to see just how well represented Britain’s gaming community is in it, and therefore try to determine just how skewed the results are.
But for now, we’ll have to once again endure people trying to use these findings to try and close the debate comfortably around their own opinion, despite this study posing clearly showing that this simply isn’t so.
To view the full analysis of the survey’s findings, visit https://yougov.co.uk.