It's a hot topic and after a slew of politicians pointed accusatory fingers at video games, professionals have started to get involved.
During a new Face The Nation episode , former FBI senior profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole said she does not believe video games cause violence, although they are indeed one of the "risk variables." Said O'Toole:
"It's my experience that video games do not cause violence. However, it is one of the risk variables when we do a threat assessment for the risk to act out violently. And my experience has been [that] individuals who are already contemplating acting out in a violent way, if they are also emerged 24/7 in violent videos, to the exclusion of other activities, and they're isolated, and they're actually using these videos as planning or collateral evidence in terms of how to do it better, what equipment to buy, how to select the victims, how to approach the crime scene. If their use is educational materials for the offender to do the crime better, that's what we take into consideration."
O'Toole added that while she doesn't see violent games as direct causes of real-world violence, they can be viewed as "sources of fueling ideation that's already there." Parents Television Council president Tim Winter agreed that games all by their lonesome don't cause violence, although he did argue that the industry needs to do more to educate parents.
"It's not just a parent's obligation. I think the industry has to have a responsibility. When you have a video game that allows a player to shoot a police officer, walk up to that police officer and urinate on him, douse him with gasoline and set him on fire, and listen to him scream as he burns to death. What kind of sticker do you put on the box to warn a parent about that?"
Woah…what the hell game was that ? I love these examples, I really do. You're right, Mr. Winter, it's not merely a parent's obligation. But the ESRB fulfilled their obligation almost 20 years ago by putting ratings on games. And by the way, those ratings are awfully detailed these days, and every single game has a rating and an explanation for that rating. So how exactly is it the industry's responsibility to force a parent to read ?
I mean, just wondering.