Former Vice President Joe Biden mimics shooting a gun as he speaks at the Chuck Hagel Forum in Global Leadership, on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Every once in a while, a politician or media figure will rise up and proclaim that one of the primary reasons there is violence in our society is because of the presence of video games, and every time that happens, a plethora of studies show that this is not the case.
This time, it’s former VP and current Democratic primary frontrunner for 2020 Joe Biden. Biden, like many politicians before him, said that video games teach its players how to kill and that in order to combat this, the government must step in and put a stop to it.
Growing government to stop “X” is par for the course solution for Democrats, but sadly, Democrats aren’t alone in these calls to grow government to regulate video games. I’d like to quickly point out that this is a violation of free speech, but that’s not the point of this article.
In an interview with the New York Times, Biden called a game developer a “creep.”
“And you may recall, the criticism I got for meeting with the leaders in Silicon Valley, when I was trying to work out an agreement dealing with them protecting intellectual property for artists in the United States of America,” Biden said. “And at one point, one of the little creeps sitting around that table, who was a multi- — close to a billionaire — who told me he was an artist because he was able to come up with games to teach you how to kill people.”
Biden seems to show disgust for game creators.
“And then one of these righteous people said to me that, you know, ‘We are the economic engine of America. We are the ones.’ And fortunately I had done a little homework before I went and I said, you know, I find it fascinating,” Biden continued. “As I added up the seven outfits, everyone’s there but Microsoft. I said, you have fewer people on your payroll than all the losses that General Motors just faced in the last quarter, of employees. So don’t lecture me about how you’ve created all this employment.. The point is, there’s an arrogance about it, an overwhelming arrogance that we are, we are the ones. We can do what we want to do. I disagree.”
“Remember the Luddites smashing the machinery in the Midlands? That was their answer when the culture was changing,” he added. “Same thing with television. Same thing before that with radio. Same thing, but this is gigantic. And it’s a responsibility of government to make sure it is not abused. Not abused. And so this is one of those areas where I think it’s being abused.”
However, numerous studies have shown that there is no connection between violence and video games, and even some shows that video games tend to reduce violent urges in people who play them. These studies include:
- A study by sociologist Whitney DeCamp and psychologist Christopher Ferguson of Western Michigan University.
- A study by Dr. Andy Przybylski, from Oxford University’s Oxford Internet Institute.
- A study by Dr David Zendle at the University of York.
- A study by Dr. Gregor Szycik of the Hannover Medical School
DeCamp’s study found that when it comes to gamers who do show violent tendencies, these tendencies were present before the person ever picked up a controller. According to DeCamp, the predisposition toward violence is usually a result of the condition of the home life. For instance, if the child witnesses violence within the home itself, then the child will resort to violence themselves more often.
“The parenting measures in my study were some of the bigger predictors,” DeCamp said. “The parental attachment between the youth and the parent, the monitoring activities of the parents—that is, whether the parents are aware of what the kids are doing—and parental enforcement of the rules were all strong predictors. Seeing or hearing violence in the home and experiencing violence in the home were also powerful predictors. So home life seems to matter more than just playing violent video games.”
Once again, we see that the real factor in a child’s behavior rests with the actions of the parents and not a third party. Once again, we see governmental figures dismissing that fact and seeking to elect themselves as the parent of, not just your child, but you.