There has been too little serious public policy debate concerning how best to reduce exposure of children and youth to media violence. Many of the debates that have occurred in Congress, the popular press, and conferences have often focused on whether there is sufficient scientific evidence of harmful effects to support public policy actions. Some debates have conflated other public policy issues with the basic scientific question of whether there are significant harmful effects. Some U.S. First Amendment proponents who are vociferous critics of media violence research do not seem to understand that the scientific question (Are there harmful effects?) is different from the legal question (Are proposed policies legal under the U.S. Constitution?).
As the medical, public health, and psychological scientific communities have repeatedly stated, the scientific debate about whether there are harmful effects of media violence is over. We believe that it is time to move on to the more difficult public policy questions concerning whether modern societies should take action to reduce the high rates of exposure of children and youth to media violence, and if so, what public policies would likely be the most effective. - source
Much of this has focused on claims made by Breivik that he used the “military shooter” Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to prepare for his attacks.
Critics of games and gaming very quickly pounced on his assertion to claim this was evidence of a causal link between game-playing and committing acts of violence.
Years of research documents how witnessing violence and aggression leads to a range of negative out-comes for children. These outcomes result both from witnessing real violence (Osofsky, 1995) as well as from viewing media vio-lence (Anderson et al., 2003; Gentile, 2003). Ironically, the same parents who take great pains to keep children from witnessing violence in the home and neighborhood often do little to keep them from viewing large quantities of violence on television, in movies, and in video games.
Are games our escapist fantasies, or our outlets for dealing with reality? Either way, why is our most common gameplay choice the pursuit of war?