Here is a great video in which a trained scientist breaks down the inherent bias and misinterpretation of the video game effects literature.
One of the biggest struggles I have in teaching science is that the public has a big misconception about what it means to interpret a “study” on a topic. The existence of a study on a topic does not validate or invalidate a hypothesis. Interpretation is key. And when we get down to brass tacks, and please don’t take this personally, most people are not equipped to successfully interpret the outcomes of a study. How many statistics courses have you taken? If your answer is zero, you aren’t equipped. Media has a way of twisting outcomes to make them more marketable or “clickable”. People with strong feelings have a tendency to ignore evidence that contradicts their conclusions.
We are now at a point where we have had enough research on video games, with accurate interpretation, to be able to say that video games are not a causal factor in violence. You know what are big factors? Having a parent who was abusive. Growing up hungry and poor. I could go on, but I think the point is clear. Studies have to be conducted with proper controls, and interpreted based upon all dimensions of the study, not just the ones you like.
Now, in case you’re curious as to how I handle this issue in a school Game Club, we simply have an “M-Rated” room in which only students who have parental permission are allowed to play games in that room. You may (or may not) be surprised at the huge number of parents that give permission. We have very few discipline problems with most of our Game Club members.
Here’s a quick shout out to Geeks Are Sexy, one of my most favoritist nerd culture blogs.