Violent Video Games – The Myths, The Research, and The Red Dead Redemption - Christopher Ferguson
From Jeffrey Sudduth on February 4th, 2019
Do violent video games really contribute to violence in society? Despite sensationalist news headlines and claims from politicians, evidence now clearly suggests they do not. Continuing the moral panic over video games and technology can distract society from pressing social issues such as mental health reform and gun policies. At present data from multiple studies suggests that violent games predict actual violence no better than a coin toss. Likewise, concerns about video game or technology “addiction” are not firmly based in solid data. This talk offers tips for separating the technopanic rhetoric from good data on issues related to video game use and its impact on children. The problems with societal distractions onto moral panics and away from other more serious concerns can be applied to multiple other areas of social concern as well, providing a tool-kit for critical thinking. Many other good-faith advocacy claims and efforts (e.g. implicit racial biases, stereotype threat, rape prevalence estimates, etc.) have similarly run afoul of data contradicting them. Suggestions for improving the quality of advocacy and remaining data focused are discussed.
Christopher Ferguson holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Central Florida. He has clinical experience particularly in working with offender and juvenile justice populations as well as conducting evaluations for child protective services. In 2013, he was awarded a Distinguished Early Career Professional Award from Division 46 (media psychology and technology) of the American Psychological Association. In 2014, he was named a fellow of the American Psychological Association through Division 1 (General Psychology, effective January, 2015). In addition to his academic work he has published a historical mystery novel entitled “Suicide Kings” and “Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games Is Wrong.”