The Media on My Mind: Adventures in Pop Culture: Video Games, Violence, and a False Premise

By Greenberg, Harvey Roy | Clinical Psychiatry News, February 2013 | Go to article overview

The Media on My Mind: Adventures in Pop Culture: Video Games, Violence, and a False Premise


Greenberg, Harvey Roy, Clinical Psychiatry News


Politicos and media experts of various stripes and credibility have predictably implicated violent video games in the Sandy Hook tragedy.

In fact, it's far from dear what, if indeed any, role violent games, TV, or movies have played in the wave of public massacres be-setting America--including the Sandy Hook slaughter. A complex cybernetic exists between game players and game makers, film viewers and film makers.

Debate about media-related aggression is hardly new. During the silent era, several commissions within and outside the film industry agreed that the new medium could have poisonous effects upon children, as well as on women and immigrants.

In the 1930s, with the advent of sound, worries further escalated that gangster films like "The Public Enemy" (1931) and "Little Caesar" (1931) might encourage youth and other vulnerable populations to turn even more savage (including those ever-suspect immigrants; after all, concerns were already high that immigrants would have a negative impact on the country's social fabric).

In 1954, concerns were voiced before the Kefauver commission about the corrupting influence on youthful minds of lurid horror comics like EC Comics's "Tales From the Crypt." Withering criticism by sachems like child psychiatrist Fredric Wertham led EC's CEO Bill Gaines to dose down the shop. He went on to use EC's artistic talents to create MAD magazine. Wertham's "Seduction of the Innocent" went on to become a prized comic collectible.

Today as in the past, any connection between public violence and violent media continues to be a highly vexed question. Christopher J. Ferguson, Ph.D., of Texas A&M International University Laredo, an expert on the impact of media violence, conducted an exquisitely sophisticated analysis of research projects purport-edly proving that violent video games provoked aggression in youthful players. Dr. Ferguson, and John Kilburn, Ph.D., discovered that every "definitive" study was in fact profoundly flawed (J. Pediatr. 2009;54:759-63).

In a prospective study of 603 mainly Hispanic youth, Dr. Ferguson found that the best predictors of aggression and violence were depressive symptoms and peer delinquency (J. Youth Adolescence 2010;40:377-91). He and Dr. Kilburn concluded that violent video games and TV do not cause youthful aggression, major or minor. I agree--with the caveat that I'd be willing to change my mind if reliably designed future investigations were to demonstrate otherwise.

I know of no defendant who has ever beaten a murder rap by blaming violent media of any sort. Furthermore, our cascade of Newtowns, Auroras, and Columbines simply do not exist in nations across the world, whose youth are as devoted to videogaming as are our kids (even more ardent fans can be found in places such as Japan and South Ko-rea). Addiction to videogaming, per se, across the world is quite a different and very serious, DSM-worthy problem (Pediatrics 2011;127:e319-29).

After Columbine-type incidents in the 1990s, England and Canada enacted stringent gun control laws. No further Sandy Hooks have occurred in those countries since those laws were enacted.

An immense amount of writing has been done--fictional or academic--probing the uneasy articulation between the thirst for liberty, individual rights, and salutary violence in shaping the national character.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Media on My Mind: Adventures in Pop Culture: Video Games, Violence, and a False Premise
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.