In 2015 the American Psychological Association was asked to update its 10-year-old resolution on the nexus between violent video games and real-world violence.
The APA was pressed to do so in light of several mass shootings that occurred in the intervening years. The group noted that the alleged link between games and actual violence had been well studied, and while the issue could use more research, one sentence summed up its position: “All violence, including lethal violence, is aggression, but not all aggression is violence.”
Last year, the APA opted to consider another update, driven by “members of the media or policymakers (who) have cited that (original) resolution as evidence that violent video games are the cause of violent behavior, including mass shootings.” And its reaction was similar.
The organization noted that “there is a small, reliable association between violent video game use and aggressive outcomes.” But, it added, “There is insufficient scientific evidence to support a causal link between violent video games and violent behavior.”
APA President Sandra Shullman said, “Attributing violence to video gaming is not scientifically sound and draws attention away from other factors, such as a history of violence, which we know from the research is a major predictor of future violence.”
Although the APA keeps saying it, others still aren’t listening.
In Illinois, Democratic state Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. has filed a bill that would ban sales of video games like “Grand Theft Auto V” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” – to adults.
His bill does so by simply striking language in current law, enacted in 2012, that prohibits sales of such games to minors.
Evans apparently is concerned about rising violent crime, especially in Chicago, which he represents.
“The bill would prohibit the sale of some of these games that promote the activities that we’re suffering from in our communities,” he said in a statement.
The bill also changes the definition of violence in that it would ban games that allow players to assume the role of characters who cause “psychological” harm to other people or who hurt animals.
According to ComicBook.com, Evans believes “these types of games promote criminal activities, which in turn, hurt the community.”
Since he’s from Chicago, his thinking is understandable. Violence in the city, which disturbingly was already a routine feature of Chicago life, has spiked since protests erupted last year following the death of George Floyd.
Yet as the conservative Canadian media website, Rebel News notes, “GTA V (Grand Theft Auto V) is based on crimes that happen in the real world and not the other way around.”
Perhaps Rep. Evan and others should focus on stopping the real violence in Chicago’s streets. It’s a safe bet that his constituents would appreciate that more.