The issue of video game violence continues to attract attention from the legal and policy communities, particularly in the wake of mass shootings. However, focusing on video game violence has generally not resulted in successful legal or public policy. In part this is because the science upon which beliefs of “harm” in video game violence are based remains inconsistent and heavily disputed. The current article examines several issues. First, the article examines the current evidence about video game violence influences on negative outcomes in players. Second, the article concerns itself with the application of video game science to several recent legal cases, involving both criminal prosecutions and attempted regulation/censorship of video game violence in the United States. Finally, the manuscript addresses several common talking points used in legal cases and by policy makers and examines whether these talking statements survive careful scientific scrutiny. It is advised that, consistent with the legal decisions and government reviews in the United States, Sweden, Australia, and elsewhere, current evidence does not support the regulation of violent video games, and legal or policy attempts to connect video game violence to specific crimes are unlikely to survive careful scrutiny.
Violent Video Games, Mass Shootings, and the Supreme Court: Lessons for the Legal Community in the Wake of Recent Free Speech Cases and Mass Shootings
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Christopher J. Ferguson; Violent Video Games, Mass Shootings, and the Supreme Court: Lessons for the Legal Community in the Wake of Recent Free Speech Cases and Mass Shootings. New Criminal Law Review 1 November 2014; 17 (4): 553–586. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nclr.2014.17.4.553
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