Senate Committee Recommends Vote on Bill to Study Possible Violence/Video Games... Again
Back after the tragedy of Sandy Hook, there was a movement to launch serious studies into the possible links between violence and video games. Joe Biden was one of the main proponents of this movement, aimed at finding out once and for all if there is a link between the two.
Since then, while the Senate debated whether or not to fund a study, the buzz has died down a great deal while a couple of other government agencies have revisited their own studies finding no actual link.
Naturally, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has decided to ignore those studies and recommend S. 134 be put to a vote on the Senate floor. S. 134 would require the National Academy of Sciences to launch a formal study into the question of whether there is a link between violence and video gaming.
Problem is, that study has already been done... Several times
For starters, studies like what the Senate is potentially going to vote on funding have been done before, even by the government. Both the FBI and the Secret Service have done their own studies looking for links between violence and video games, and both studies showed no discernable link between them.
Does the Senate not trust the FBI and Secret Service to properly examine possible threats to both personal and national safety?
The issue of inherent bias
On a second point, the study is started with an inherent bias, as Senator Jay Rockefeller (the congressman who originally proposed S. 134) has already stated clearly that he believes there is a link. This means any study started by this bill will have the basic understanding that its funding is coming from a belief towards one side of any experimentation, promoting a possible bias.
How about questioning whether a Senate-mandated study will actually be taken seriously when for the study to happen at all requires the Senate to ignore the previous government studies?
There is no assurance at all this study will be treated any differently if it comes to the same conclusions as previous ones.
Okay... but why else?
Let us look at what little actual information there is on the subject.
Sales of video games have been steadily rising (despite portestations about lack of profit from game publishers). Instances of violent crime have been steadily decreasing.
Countries with more spending on video games like South Korea and France, have significantly less violent crime. If anything that would suggest the exact opposite of what this proposed study would be investigate.
There have also been numerous studies showing that video gaming actually gives many positive benefits. These studies are ignored by the Senate committee, with the discussion entirely focused on the potential (if prior information is ignored) harm the games could cause.
Focusing only on possible negatives while completely ignoring proven positives is deliberately close-minded.
That all does seem pretty obvious
This discussion stopped being about facts the moment existing studies were actually undertaken and the results of them ignored.
Prior studies were done by the government organizations whose jobs it is to keep us (and the President of the United States) safe. It was absolutely in their best interest, in the interest of actually doing their jobs, for those studies to be accurate and unbiased.
With all of this said, I would still support the idea of a Senate-funded study if they could apply a guarantee to it: if this study says there's no link between video games and violence, will you please stop coming after our games for political reasons?