CNBC runs down the debate of violent video games and their effect on gamers


Yes, we’re back on this again. The subject of video games, violent content, and their affect on players is arriving once more, this time by way of a CNBC clip that purports to take a look at the debate in as all-encompassing a manner as it can, from the moral panics to the research on both sides to what can be done about the matter.

The video offers insights and responses from a variety of sources, including psychologists, statisticians, and games industry representatives. One academic who appeared in the video is someone we’ve mentioned several times over the years: Dr. Jamie Madigan, psychologist and author of The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact, who in his own estimation says that the video ends “on a bit of nuance” though he also doesn’t agree with everything presented.

Indeed, CNBC appears to try to be as centrist as possible, noting studies about aggression and video games, elaborating on the business side of video games, noting that aggression doesn’t exactly mean violent or criminal behavior, and even pointing at things that can affect research studies like publication bias and a replication crisis in psychology. Ultimately, the video concludes that violent games do have some effect, but not the sort that politicians or alarmists prefer to think.

“The fact remains that there is an abundance of research suggesting a link between violent video games and aggression. But you can take that seriously without panicking. Many things contribute to someone’s tendency towards aggression, like watching sports, your socioeconomic status, or your gender. There’s research suggesting kids who play violent games may be affected negatively, but there is no research that suggests playing violent video games will make someone a school shooter.

“At the same time, there’s research suggesting playing games can in other ways be beneficial, and that collaborative games might counteract some of the negative effects of violence in games. It’s a nuanced, ongoing scientific debate. So don’t panic: video games aren’t turning you or your kids into monsters. But they’re probably doing something.”

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