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Argument: Violent games are a risk factor for crime

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Supporting quotations

Paul Boxer. "It's up to parents to enforce a ban on violent video games." NJ.com. July 1st, 2011: "A common refrain I hear among students when I teach this topic is: “I play violent video games all the time and I’ve never shot anybody!” It is indeed true that lots of people play violent video games, but only a few commit violent crimes. The reason for this is that violence is the result of many different things that public health researchers call “risk factors,” and these run the gamut from violent media use to harsh parenting experiences to crime-filled neighborhoods to intense anger and stress. Violent acts are the result of multiple risk factors converging in an individual. And, thankfully, most people who consume violent media do not possess so many risk factors. As research that my team and others have reported, violent media — like all those other risk factors — is just one among many elements that can lead children to engage in aggressive and, ultimately, delinquent or criminal behavior.

Yet it is one risk factor over which parents can exert significant control. Because the Supreme Court has upheld key aspects of the First Amendment in its decision to void the California ban, the government will likely not be able to control your children’s access to violent video games any time soon. But as a psychologist who has conducted research on the issue, and as a parent who worries about my own children’s exposure to violent media, I implore you: Forget about what the Supreme Court might say about children’s right to buy violent video games. Listen to what scientists have discovered about what violent media does to children — and institute your own ban."

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