In a post shortly after the 2/14/18 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school near Miami [Post-Killings Bandwagons], I posed a question that an article I read this week prompted me to delve into in more depth. For context, I’ll repeat my opening remarks in that post:
Not surprisingly, the tragic shooting in a Florida high school on February 14 brought out the usual political atmosphere — each party rolling out its bandwagon to rally their faithful around “what to do”, with their respective media adherents being the first to jump on. As usual after tragedies like this, the “do something” options put before us after this one were painted by politicians as binary — i.e., get on our bandwagon or theirs.
The Democrat bandwagon is always tighter gun control laws. The Republican bandwagon is better processes for dealing with mental health issues. Both sides stress why their approach is best, and both sides quote those parts of statistics and research that support their mantra and discredit that of the other side. This goes on until the media outlets sense that coverage of the most recent tragedy is no longer attracting readers / listeners / viewers, coverage fades, and that tragedy just moves into the statistics bank.
In the rest of that post, I posed the question I mentioned above — Why just two bandwagons? — expanding it to ask What potential culprits are there that nobody ever brings up in these flurries of activity after another attack because they already have their canned bandwagon rhetoric ready to pull out and set in motion? I proceeded to elaborate on at least one — the “dark side” of technology, particularly video games. I said then “or at least many of them.” Well, that brings me to the article I read this week — I think I should have said “or certainly most of them.”. …
Shouldn’t We At Least Consider This Potential Culprit?
Get this. … All of the top five video games in the past year have a basic theme of fighting and combat: Activision, Blizzard’s Hearthstone and Overwatch, Tencent’s League of Legends, Epic Games’ Fortnite, and PUBG Corporation’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
Now consider those facts in context with the two cartoons I chose as the images for this post [for added perspective, a review of my post Mass Murders Accelerating would also be worthwhile in emphasizing the point I’m making here.]
So what is that point? Just for more emphasis, here are a few more statistics that — at least for me — help build a case for it [i.e., for the point.] Worldwide gaming industry revenue as of April 2018 was $127.9 billion, $30.4 billion of it in the United States. Access on mobile devices [smartphones] is now more than 50% of total. Almost three-quarters of Americans ages 14-to-21 either played or watched multiplayer online games or competitions in the previous year. Half of adults under 30 have played or watched online games, as have a quarter of adults overall. Strikingly, for many people, watching other people play video games is just as popular as playing games themselves. A 58 percent majority of teens and young adults (ages 14-21) have watched people play video games on websites like Twitch and YouTube, while 59 percent report playing online multiplayer games. Almost half of teen and young adults, 45 percent, both play and watch video games. Among U.S. adults overall, 18 percent play, 16 percent watch and 9 percent do both. 89% of boys and 56% of girls age 14-21 played or watched video games in the past 12 months. Teen and young adult competitive video game players tend to play frequently and for long periods of time. 47% of them play almost every day or every day, rising to 66% who play at least a few times a week. And among competitive gamers under 21 who play almost every day or more, 6 in 10 play for three or more hours on a typical day. [Sources: www.newzoo.com and www.washingtonpost.com]
So the point is, the prevailing bandwagon mentality may be covering up a “sleeping giant” that could be the real culprit. I don’t think my observations prove that this “sleeping giant” is in fact this rapidly-accelerating prevalence of violent games, but I think they do show that it should be among the top contenders for further consideration.
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Charles M. Jones