Gary Brubaker: El Paso, Dayton -- 'Monopoly' doesn't create slumlords. Video games don't school sociopaths

Personally and corporately as a nation, we recoil in horror and grief at the continued gun violence in the United States.

Politicians want to seek solutions that will make a meaningful difference. A number of our national and state leaders allege that playing video games can change people into criminals capable of carrying out mass shootings. The theory being that playing video games can cause psychological breaks in otherwise non-violent individuals. That violent video games not only train people for murder, but create sociopaths. Therefore, violent video games are a root cause of our prolonged nightmare of large-scale shootings.

I have been a video game developer for over two decades and have been a faculty member at the world’s leading video game development graduate program, SMU Guildhall in Dallas, for over a decade. I have been on teams that authored best-selling titles and have taught current leaders in the industry at the graduate level.

NO LINK BETWEEN VIDEO GAMES AND VIOLENCE, STUDIES SAY

As an academic I can reference dozens of studies that have examined psychological correlations of and consequences of video gaming, and, taken as a whole, the results overwhelmingly support the idea that video gaming produces many of the same kinds of benefits as other forms of play.

Video games do not produce violence in young people. To the contrary, they build problem-solving skills, grow leadership in our youth, help children connect with their peers, and help increase compassion and patience.

Video games do not produce violence in young people. To the contrary, they build problem-solving skills, grow leadership in our youth, help children connect with their peers, and help increase compassion and patience.

As a practitioner, simple observations demonstrate there is no correlation between playing violent games and increased shooting deaths.

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Japan and China and are among the countries with the lowest amount of violent crime, yet are among the largest consumers of video games. Video games like “Call of Duty” no more make a person a remorseless mass murder than “Monopoly” creates slumlords.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association,

"Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively... Any demonstrated effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media."

Video games provide a significant benefit to society. Here at SMU, video games have been used in medical research to diagnose macular degeneration and discover new drugs to fight cancer. They are creating engaging apps that reduce illiteracy in adults.

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It is important to note, as a parent, that not all video games are appropriate for all children. As with any media and in fact the world in general, we should limit access to some video games until our kids have the maturity to benefit from the experience

In times of tragedy, it is easy to demonize the other. Knee jerk reactions delay meaningful action, but thoughtful solutions that consider the complexity of issues involved can provide real change.

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Politicians should stop looking for straw-men to blame to hide their inaction. Scientific evidence and anecdotal experience demonstrate video games are not the problem.

I urge lawmakers to put partisan politics aside and seek evidence-based solutions that will truly reduce the number of these horrific crimes.