Tuesday, March 25, 2014

90%+ Violence, According To Time

Another article review day, but when Time publishes a piece about video games causing increased aggression, slowly but surely, you have to stop and read it. It's Time. One of the leading magazines in discussing world events, culture, and history better then any other outlet available. So of course I had to stop and read it.

I made it through the second paragraph.

"Approximately 90% of children in the U.S. play video games, and more than 90% of those games involve mature content that often includes violence."

 That single statement made me question the legitimacy of the rest of the article. According to the ESRB's stats for 2013, which I linked to last Friday no less, only 9% of the games released last year were rated M. 24% were T, 22 were E10+, and 45% were E. See page 7 on the PDF. In order to achieve the E rating, the "violence" level needs to be so insignificant that you can't even tell it's there. These would be games like Animal Crossing, where if there is any violence, it's in the form of comic mischief. If there's too much, the rating gets bumped up to E10+. Even Disney, the company of wholesome, family fun, has E10+ Mickey games! When Mickey isn't in the E category, you know the rules are pretty strict. But still, 45% of all video games released last year were E. Even when you add up E10+, T, and M, that does not equal the 90% of violence that Time is boasting.

It would also help to qualify what is "violence" in Time's definition. Is it an R rated movie or Looney Tunes cartoons? Or both? Or neither? Is it only when someone is punching a person, but not shooting a gun in self defense? "Violence" can refer to any number of things, and each view of it will differ from person to person.

And if you keep reading the ESRB findings, Just Dance and The Sims 3, and it's myriad of expansion packs, were some of the top sellers last year. Sims do showcase violence if you personally set them on fire and make them starve to death. But most people don't do that. They just play the game.

So Time...what violence are you talking about?

Note: I speed read the rest of the article. I'm indifferent on the findings and don't feel they were detailed enough to give significant results. Mostly I'm disappointed in Time's lack of evidence in linking or at least providing where they pulled their figures from. It seems like it came out of thin air...or their butt. Probably the latter.


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