Study: Games have no relation to crime rate

Written by Joe Martin

January 26, 2009 // 10:10 a.m.

Tags: #columbine #crime #criminal #grand-theft-auto #gta #shooting #study

A new study recently published by Christopher Ferguson of Texas A&M International University shows that, despite what Jack Thompson and Co. would have us believe, there is certainly no connection between exposure to computer or video games and criminal activity. Obviously.

Ferguson produced the study in an attempt to seriously tackle once and for all the bogus notion that computer games like Grand Theft Auto can encourage criminal behaviour. Specifically Ferguson was looking at mass shooting such as the Columbine massacre, which was linked to both Doom and Grand Theft Auto by some people.

The study, which was published in Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling magazine (Via Gamepolitics), sifts through more than a decades worth of statistics and reports to come to the conclusion that there is no link between violent games and violent crimes. This coincides nicely with a similar study that proved that violent games aren't particularly appealing to players.

Ferguson instead comes to the conclusion that video games are instead bought into the situation only as part of the moral panic which follows such awful events - something which is then fanned by the media and researchers looking for new topics, as always.

"It has been observed that a small group of researchers have been most vocal in promoting the anti-game message, oftentimes ignoring research from other researchers, or failing to disclose problems with their own research," said Ferguson.

"As some researchers have staked their professional reputation on anti-game activism, it may be difficult for these researchers to maintain scientific objectivity regarding the subject of their study. Similarly, it may be argued that granting agencies are more likely to provide grant money when a potential problem is identified, rather than for studying a topic with the possibility that the outcome may reveal that there is nothing to worry about."

The interesting thing about moral panics though is that their very nature puts everyone involved at fault for perpetuating them and remembering them in the future. Share your thoughts in the forums.
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