Target: Christopher Ferguson
Goal: Commend researcher for his recently published report on the dangers of studying the connection between video games and violence in the wake of tragedy
It’s human nature to blame society’s problems on things we don’t understand. As far back as the 1950s, parents, scientists, and politicians have been scrutinizing the media that children are exposed to and, in many cases, condemning said media as the root of child-related violence. In the ’50s it was reports that comic books were the leading cause of youth delinquency and homosexuality; in the ’60s Dungeons & Dragons was attacked for having “cult-like” qualities and supposedly encouraging youth suicides; and now we have video games which can never seem to escape the spotlight of controversy for long.
A recent report titled “Violent Video Games and the Supreme Court: Lessons for the Scientific Community in the Wake of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association” aims to deal a heavy blow to all of the “junk science” that supports the notion that youth violence and video game violence are directly linked. The report, written by Christopher Ferguson, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Texas A&M University, highlights the inherent dangers of trusting research that is conducted in the wake of a mass panic like the one that occurred following the recent Sandy Hook shootings.
Even though he began writing the report before Sandy Hook occurred, Ferguson says the message he is trying to convey still applies: ”Although video game violence research has always been inconsistent and often limited by significant flaws, this report notes how moral panics regarding mass homicides and historical patterns of culture war drove politicians, activists and some scholars to make extreme statements about the ‘harmfulness’ of violent games that could not be supported by the actual data.”
In short, politicized research, such as that done on the link between violent video games and youth violence in the wake of Sandy Hook, must always be taken with a grain of salt as the agendas of those funding or conducting the research can compromise the scientific and ethical process.
Please help support and praise Ferguson and his research by signing this petition letter.
Dear Christopher Ferguson,
Thank you so much for having the courage and the perseverance to both write and publish your recent report “Violent Video Games and the Supreme Court.” In the wake of the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, many politicians and scientists have been using the “junk science” you talk about in your report to spread misinformation regarding both video games and their affect on children and it is very refreshing to see someone like you stepping up to set the record straight.
I know it’s unrealistic to imagine your report will sway the minds of every politician and every parent but whatever good it does in the fight against the unjust vilification of video games is much appreciated. By signing this petition letter, I am both thanking you, and encouraging you to keep fighting the good fight.
[Your Name Here]