Two studies from Stetson University researcher Christopher Ferguson have downplayed any perceived link between video game and movie violence and real-world violence.
In fact, as reported by Medical Daily, Ferguson's findings suggest that a rise in violent video games use has actually coincided with a drop in youth violence.
In his first study Ferguson compared murder rates from 1920-2005 and compared that the frequency of depicted violence in movies. No correlation was found and, in fact, during the ‘90s when movie ultra-violence was very much the fashion, murder rates saw a decline.
A second study, concentrating on video game violence, used ESRB data to analyse violence games content between 1996 and 2011. While the period saw an increase in game violence – particularly graphic, 3D game violence - government data on youth violence during the same period again registered a decline.
"Society has a limited amount of resources and attention to devote to the problem of reducing crime,” he said. There is a risk that identifying the wrong problem, such as media violence, may distract society from more pressing concerns such as poverty, education and vocational disparities, and mental health.
"This research may help society focus on issues that really matter and avoid devoting unnecessary resources to the pursuit of moral agendas with little practical value."