Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Little More

I had a long second post written up about the Mathews study and decided it was too long to be precise about anything. I did want to clarify a few things from the previous post, though.

First off, and I've said this many times, I think there is a serious discussion to be had about violent media in this country--games, films, and music. I've also consistently said, though, that the people actually driving this discussion right now are the wrong people.

Do games that portray violence contribute to violent behavior? I don't know. I don't have a religious belief on the issue, so to speak. My objection is to the enormous amount of crap data that 's distorted and manipulated to "prove" all kinds of outrageous claims about the "dangers" of video games. Most of the people making these claims are people who are trying to personally profit from the situation--politicians, Jack Thompson, and in some cases, scientific researchers who need to attract funding for their next study.

Please note that I am not saying I believe Vincent Mathews is trying to personally profit from this situation. What I am saying, though, is that a study he released in 2004 that you can see here (again tied to the notion that exposure to media violence "may be associated with alterations in brain function") has an interesting sponsor.

If you go to that link, scroll down to the bottom. See that last sentence?
The research was funded by the Center for Successful Parenting.

Hmm. That looks interesting. Let me go check out their website. Oh, that's a nice quote in the center of the page:
"Video violence is harming our kids. Your child may already be gamewashed."

Let's take a look at their mission statement:
Founded in 1998, The Center for Successful Parenting, a 501(c)(3) organization, is committed to make the nation aware of the negative effects violent media has on children and to move the nation to action.

America's culture used to protect our children. Today they live in a society that glorifies violence. If they don't become conditioned to commit violence themselves, they live in fear of violent acts by others.

Our vision is to move parents, leaders in health, business, education, public safety and other disciplines to action in changing our culture to protect children from media violence in all formats.

Well, it certainly sounds like they haven't made their minds up or anything. I'm glad they funded research, and I'm sure they'll continue to fund it if the conclusions aren't to their liking, because I'm sure they're 100% committed to finding out the truth about this issue.

See what I mean?

I wonder who funded this latest study. And I wonder why Newsweek wasn't bright enough to ask that question.

Oh, and when I asked why he didn't use 666 subjects--well, it's because video games must be the devil, right? So I thought that would be the most appropriate sample size to use.

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