Yesterday, Senator Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill calling on the National Academy of Sciences to “study” video game violence on children. Speaking of the recent Brown v. EMA Supreme Court decision, which criticized the existing research as inconsistent and methodologically flawed, Rockefeller stated, “Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it. They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians and psychologists know better. These court decisions show we need to do more and explore ways Congress can lay additional groundwork on this issue. This report will be a critical resource in this process.”
This sort of knee jerk reaction isn’t new, of course. It happened long before there were videogames – even long before electricity. The development of the printing press brought with it dire warnings about how access to the Bible by “ordinary people” would ruin society.
Why do we insist on trying to blame the latest new media development for society’s ills? Are we really that dumb? Or are we just that lazy?