I couldn't be more delighted that President Obama has mentioned, almost in passing, the need for study of "the effect of video games on young minds" in connection with the school massacres.
I no longer support Obama and didn't vote for him a second time -- precisely because he represents a suppression of civil rights on a number of fronts, from his efforts to invade people's religious conscience and force Catholics to insure birth control and abortion-inducers, to stopping debate on Benghazi by invoking the "blasphemy" of challenging him or discussing politics around deaths of our diplomats abroad, to his "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "Truth Team" going around and policing people who put out "wrong information" and not "facts". It's all awful stuff, and now the geek squad is getting a taste of this medicine. They can see just how wonderful it is to have the president so intimately involved in the Internet that he kills SOPA before it even comes to a vote, or he engineers "net neutrality". Happy now, guys?
But I seldom invoke schadenfraude as a reason to support something, and what I'm interested here is the presidential seal of approval for STUDY.
STUDY is what we never, ever get because of the shrill hysteria around this by gamerz and the gaming industry. There actually *are* studies that *do* show correlation between violent games and increased propensity for violence, but few and far between, and powerfully suppressed. The gaming companies and the tech press they control with advertising and conference fees are a mighty lobby -- hooked up in part to the military/arms lobby and corporations as well, we're told (not always persuasively, but there is a connection).
And as a result we never really get the impartial academic treatment this requires -- in multiple places in multiple fora in multiple ways. There has to be LOTS as no definitive study will prove the point either way.
Predictably, the tekkies are going absolutely wild with fear and insanity at the thought that someone might take away their hedonism and pleasure in violent war games. Look below at Kotaku and company -- we're likely to see the flash mobs screech and scream about this, even preventing any intellectual debate or academic study at all -- just like the gun lobby has discouraged study of guns by banning government funding of them.
But as I noted on Ars Technica, STUDY need not lead to censorship and I'd oppose censorship of games, on First Amendment principles, just as I would of violent movies or books. The point is to figure out whether parents should become more active in controlling exposure to violent movies and games, especially if their children are mentally ill, and whether society at large can begin to further apply the MORAL aspect to discouraging violent video games that sensitize to killing people and demean life.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can't legislate morality; but you can have morality through moral systems, whether through religion or through secular ethics in society. And that place has to be way, way more developed than it is.