Video games proven harmless

Ronald Dixon

For as long as I can remember, video games have borne the brunt of harsh attacks from the media and other public figures. Gamers will, of course, remember the infamous legal battles catalyzed by the now-disbarred attorney Jack Thompson against the violent games “Mortal Kombat” and “Grand Theft Auto.” 
 
The popular attack today seems to revolve around sexism and misogyny, particularly in the wake of Anita Sarkeesian’s critiques of women in video games and the GamerGate controversy. 
 
However, while it may be easy to make broad assumptions about video games’ impacts on children, the actual evidence appears to discredit the attacks. 
 
For example, a study published last year in the Journal of Communication found that there is actually a negative correlation between youth violence and video game popularity. 
 
Moreover, a German study published earlier this month in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking conducted a longitudinal analysis of gamers beginning in 2011 to test for sexist attitudes of men. Using cultivation theory — which posits that long-term exposure to media impacts our perception of reality — as their framework, researchers found no connection between playing video games and sexism. 
 
Finally, gaming has several positive effects, including increased spatial reasoning, enhanced social skills, better memory and sharper perception. 
The data seem to speak for themselves; video games don’t produce violent, sexist kids. Let’s stop bashing the gaming industry with baseless attacks.