, 24 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
I'm so tired of the bullshit narrative that violent video games cause mass shootings. There have been dozens of studies on this point and NONE support that conclusion.

To all the spineless politicians using video games as a scapegoat: try doing your job instead.

A thread...
In the wake of every mass shooting, politicians - particularly in the US - rush for something to blame. Far too often, video games are the thing they point to. They'll reference "studies" to support their claims, but they haven't read them and don't know what they say.
This refrain is easy because no one actually holds them accountable. The interviewers don't know the research either, and even if they did they're not going to push back because they like the narrative...
Video games are that thing the youths do instead of the far better leisure activities of generations past. They're keeping us in basements instead of going outside. They're addictive, they're rotting our brains, and they're dehumanizing.

Equal parts inaccurate & out of touch.
Well, normally I wouldn't want facts to get in the way of a good story, but I'm sick and tired of this nonsense. Scapegoating video games for the problem of mass shootings in the US is actively harmful because it stops us from solving the real problem.

Now, for some facts...
The link between violence and video games has been studied for 20+ years. Researchers have tackled this issue from a variety of angles and using a variety of methods. Let's look at some of the topics explored.

I'll provide links throughout because EVIDENCE MATTERS.
Link to mass shootings: NO EVIDENCE.

There is not a single credible study establishing a connection between violent video games & mass shootings. A 2016 study analyzed all existing research on the subject called any claims of a causal link here a "myth".

Link to violent crime: VERY LITTLE EVIDENCE.

Wiki references 3 studies on this issue, but they're all behind a paywall. I found 0 studies that directly linked violent crime to violent games.

There is also strong correlational data here - as violent video gaming consumption has gone up, violent crime rates have DECREASED. Is this dispositive? Of course not. But is sure makes it harder to argue video games are the source of violent crime.

Link to aggressive behavior: MIXED RESULTS.

This one is tough to characterize because it's been the most studied and there are dozens of studies on both sides here. Despite this fact, these are the only studies on which politicians rely for their narrative that games = bad.
The most striking thing I found when reviewing the competing studies on this issue is that much of the research used to establish a link between video games and aggressive behavior relied on SELF-REPORTING, which is notoriously biased.
This fact is not lost on many recent researchers who have done their own, more methodoligically rigorous research on the subject:

"The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time. Despite interest in the topic... the research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern." - Oxford Prof Andrew Przybylski

Przybylski's 2019 study on the subject, which is being touted as one of the most comprehensive to date because it uses both subjective and objective data, is titled: "Violent video game engagement is not associated with adolescents' aggressive behavior."

In his interview with Forbes about his study, Przybylski reflected: "this is not the first study to show these kinds of results and it is getting to the point now, that blaming video games for outbursts of teenage related aggression holds no weight."

In another interview, he added: "Part of the problem in technology research is that there are many ways to analyse the same data, which will produce different results..."
"A cherry-picked result can add undue weight to the moral panic surrounding video games. The registered study approach is a safeguard against this."

I'm not saying there is no evidence on the other side here, because there is. I'm just noting that evidence is both flawed and directly controverted by other evidence. And remember, this is the BEST they have on this topic.
Now let's look at some uncontroverted facts...

FACT: Mass shootings are a uniquely American problem.

2019 mass shootings by country:

🇦🇹 0
🇩🇰 0
🇫🇮 0
🇩🇪 0
🇮🇹 0
🇮🇪 0
🇱🇺 0
🇨🇭 0
🇬🇧 0
🇭🇺 0
🇪🇸 0
🇵🇹 0
🇸🇬 0
🇸🇦 0
🇧🇪 0
🇸🇪 0
🇦🇺 0
🇫🇷 0
🇳🇿 1
🇳🇱 1
🇧🇷 1
🇨🇦 1
🇲🇽 3
🇺🇸 254
FACT: Video games are global. The US is the largest market, but essentially everyone has access to and plays games, including violent ones.

What does all this mean?

It means that if we want to understand the root cause of mass shootings in America and actually solve this problem, we need to stop focusing on video games as a core piece of the equation.
I have my own opinions on where we should go from here, as I'm sure many of you do, but I've decided to leave my personal politics out of this.
I hope people will take the time to read the sources I provided and link others. No doubt in my mind I missed something here as it's impossible to review everything on the subject in 24 hours.
I'm not perfect, but I spent more time thinking about this than many of the politicians who went on national TV yesterday and confidentially proclaimed video games are the thing to blame here.

Public policy should be grounded in evidence. Let's learn and act accordingly.
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