Eight Myths About Gaming Debunked

Eight Myths About Gaming Debunked

For a while now the U.S. media and as a result some politicians with apparently a lot of free time, have been after games with a vengeance. Their condemning rhetoric and heavy-handed approach has suggested to most parents that the views they express are final and the result of much scientific research.

Henry Jenkins, director of comparative studies at MIT, decided that he had heard enough and has published a thorough and well researched account of the facts surrounding games and the fiction that is being force-fed to the general public. Through his account, Professor Jenkins targets eight common misconceptions regarding gaming and attempts to shed some light by citing actual relevant research and current scientific opinion on the issues involved.
Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked targets the following eight myths about gaming:

1.The availability of video games has led to an epidemic of youth violence.
2.Scientific evidence links violent game play with youth aggression.
3.Children are the primary market for video games.
4.Almost no girls play computer games.
5. Because games are used to train soldiers to kill, they have the same impact on the kids who play them.
6. Video games are not a meaningful form of expression.
7.Video game play is socially isolating.
8.Video game play is desensitizing.

It's not that what Professor Jenkins writes is new as most gamers, intuitively, know the facts stated, it is however, the first time that such a thorough account by an eminent personality is made available to the masses in direct and straight-forward language. At the sources referenced make the facts so obvious, you begin to question the motives of people that are so fervently opposed to gaming; is it a conspiracy or simply half-assed, can't be bothered planning that has so exposed these politicians?

One of Professor Jenkins' most thought-provoking replies and the one that dismisses many arguments to the contrary and should embarrass most politicians involved in various anti-gaming campaigns, is his reply to myth No. 1:

According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low. Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. It's true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers - 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts. According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General's report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. The moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester.

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