Deeply Flawed Report About Violence in Games

Recently, German state-run TV channel ZDF aired a consumer rights show that among other things included a report about violent games and children. ZDF claimed that the violence children see in games has a more profound effect on their own behavior than previously noticed, and that studies claiming the opposite are essentialy sponsored by EA Games and originate only at Cologne university. That’s a mouthful.

However, the report and the study were deeply flawed. Let me quote the program:

  • Our study found that children who play indexed games show a 20% higher probability of developing violent tendencies in real life than the control group that did not play video games.

Now hold on a minute. Children playing indexed games? Why do you let them play indexed games, you idiots? In Germany, it is illegal to sell indexed games to minors! It is illegal to advertise indexed games! It is illegal to publish reviews of indexed games! These children should never have seen these games in the first place! I hope you can see I’m upset.

The “index” is run by the German media censorship board. There is a reason Germany does not allow the sales of such games to minors: They are not for children, they are 18+. If your kid is playing such a game, you are either doing something wrong or you know fairly well that your child is mature enough not to be influenced by it. Did the people who ran that study break the law when they made those games accessible to children? I don’t know German law well enough to make a good guess there.

People, especially incompetent journalists, still seem to believe that games are something for children. When will they realize that a video game is no different from a movie, that there are some that are suitable for children and some that are not? Why is the gaming market still not taken seriously enough?

3 thoughts on “Deeply Flawed Report About Violence in Games”

  1. What I would like to know is how much is that probability. Do they mean a 20% higher probability from a 5% or 30% of those who did not play video games? 20% from 5%, amounts to what, about 6%?

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  2. Yes, that’s a good point. The results of the study were of course dumbed down for the audience, but it’s still a bit silly. I will see if I can find a link to the actual study for you, I’d be very interested in your opinion (and I hope others are, too).

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