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Monday, August 26, 2002
Video Game Pundit Speaks Out
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A reader recently pointed us to a story at Salon, which deals with the issue of video game violence and its supposed impact on violent behavior in today's youth. Unlike most articles in the past, however, this article is written from the perspective of one who has spent over a decade defending video games from activists and angry parents alike.

Titled Coming up next: Ambushed on "Donahue"!, the article focuses on the experience of Henry Jenkins, the director of MIT's comparitive media studies program. Though the article is written largely decrying the hostility and deceit he endured while appearing on "Donahue", the article also focuses on his arguments against a link in causality between violent games and teenage violence, and even points out the weaknesses in looking for a simple answer:

Parents are demanding that the government do something even if it's wrong, and once we reach that point, we tend to do all the wrong things. This is doubly dangerous. First, constitutional protections make it unlikely that the government is going to take decisive action against the media industries. So all of the fears get redirected onto the kids who play these games. We may not have an epidemic of youth violence in this country but lots of adults are ready to lock up teenage boys and throw away the key. Second, every moment our government focuses on the wrong problems, they take away time and resources that could be used to combat the actual causes of youth violence. Banning games doesn't put a stop to domestic violence, doesn't ensure that mentally unstable kids get the help they need, doesn't stop bullying in the hallways, and doesn't deal with the economic inequalities and racial tensions that are the real source of violence in American culture.
The rest of the article continues as Jenkins covers both his side and the activist side of the argument in question. He even lists some of the parting insults thrown at him over the net after his session on "Donahue." Those interested in the full article can find it at Salon.

Salon - Coming up next: Ambushed on "Donahue"!

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Archives  News  Video Game Pundit Speaks Out