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New Jersey Department of Education spreads anti-videogame propaganda

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Daniel Greenberg, head of the International Game Developers Association’s (IGDA) Anti-censorship and Social Issue committee, has written to the Star-Ledger newspaper of New Jersey in which he states that the lawmakers of New Jersey are “playing games with truth.” His allegation is directed at the creators of Bill S2715, the synopsis of which reads:

Requires [Department of Education] DOE to prepare and distribute informational pamphlets on how parents can limit a child's exposure to media violence.

A mandate from the bill requires schools to send children home with “educational” materials that will tell parents that

"..children who play violent video games are more likely to be involved in physical altercations with classmates."

Wut.

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Greenberg, via his letter, states that there is in actual fact no research that supports this sensational claim. He reminds readers that New Jersey game developers had recently sent Governor Chris Christie data from research that shows exactly the converse.

Ultimately there is no actual proof that videogames cause anything beyond momentary spurts of aggression (I myself can attest to this) and children will experience such feels every day during “non-violent” activities like playing sports.

Greenberg has urged the governor to align himself with the truth of the matter and veto Bill 2715.

A full reproduction of the letter can be seen below:

"Why does the New Jersey Legislature want to misinform children and parents? Lawmakers just forced the state Department of Education to spread disinformation about video games. Their bill, S2715, claims “children who play violent video games are more likely to be involved in physical altercations with classmates.”

Those claims have been debunked by the scientific community and “rejected by every court to consider them, and with good reason” in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, which pointed out that the effects of playing violent video games “are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media,” like Bugs Bunny cartoons.

S2715 requires the Education Department to add new information “when it becomes available.” So the New Jersey game developer community sent Gov. Chris Christie scientific studies showing that imaginary violence does not cause real violence. If that information is not added, has the state violated the law? As long as Christie vetoes this unconstitutional bill, we won’t have to find out.

Christie has dared to tell politically unpopular truths about New Jersey taxpayers subsidizing Kentucky taxpayers and President Obama’s disaster relief accomplishments. We ask him to continue telling truth to power with a veto of S2715.

Daniel Greenberg, chair, Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee, International Game Developers Association

I have written rather a few articles on the topic of videogames and aggressive behavior and agree entirely with Greenberg’s motion to discard our favourite pastime as a scapegoat for violent behaviour.

You can find my article about how violent videogame research suffers from flawed methodology here.

You can find my article about how violent videogames have no effect on social behaviour here

(As an afterthought, I will admit that, to be fair, I am part of the propaganda machine in favour of videogames).

Source: gamepolitics.com

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