Consider this graph:
Curiously, it shows a sudden drop in violent crimes among youth in US. It was taken from an article that surfaced at gamerevolution.com sometime last year. It was recently revisited on digg, and on gamepolitics. The actual statistical data used in the graph was taken from U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics. The author also added dates when notable gaming consoles were releases.
The article suggests that video games contribute to the decline of violent crimes. This is of course bullshit. I said it before, and I’ll say it again:
CORRELATION ≠ CAUSALITY
There is no empirical evidence that video games are in any way linked to either growth or decline in violence among kids. All we have here is bunch of numbers that suggest that drop in violent crimes seems to be correlated to the growth of video game market. Is there any relationship between the two? It’s impossible to say this by just looking at the graph. Anyone who claims otherwise is just as bad, as Jack Thompson and the legions of gamer haters.
However, the graph does indicate that for whatever reason, violence among youth has been steadily declining for quite some time now. This data paints a picture that is directly opposite from what anti-video-game alarmists would like us to believe. Despite the rampart violence in video games, and on TV, these crime rates just keep dropping.
Perhaps the parents are getting better at doing their job with every generation? Perhaps our improving living standards are stunting growth of violent crime? Perhaps we pay more attention to the “difficult” kids these days, and we are able to help them before they get out of control? Perhaps the internet is making it much easier for troubled teens to find solutions to their problems, support groups and communities where they can fit in? Who knows.
The fact is that violent crimes among young kids are at the all time low. There is no violence epidemic among youth. There is even no casual correlation between crime rates among youth and the number of violent video games on the market.
So next time the Jack Thompson and other crazy alarmists try to push their anti-gaming agenda on you, pull out this graph and ask them to interpret if for you. That should shut them up for at least few minutes as they try to come up with some bullshit retort.
[tags]video games, violence, violent youth, youth crime rates, youth violence, youth crime, gaming, jack thompson[/tags]