Posted By Eli Cymet about 2 years, 7 months ago
Amidst all the recent legal attention being paid to violence in video games, American pollster Rasmussen has sought out updated findings on public perception of the hotly debated issue. Conducting a nationwide survey of 1,000 adults between November 8th and 9th, the company probed the average citizen about their beliefs on the violent, sexual, or otherwise mature titles, including issues ranging from their effects to the necessity for regulation. With the results now in, and the data compiled, Rasmussen’s findings paint an interesting picture of public opinion. According to extrapolation, while most Americans still hold relatively black-and-white opinions about the impact of video game violence, a surprising majority have a comparatively progressive idea about where the buck should stop in mitigating that impact.
Conducted via telephone, the national poll indicates that 54% of Americans currently think that video games with violence tangibly link to violent behavior in those that play them. This is the same percentage of respondents that linked virtual violence with actual violence since Rasmussen’s last poll on the issue, in April. That being said, there was a 5% increase in the amount of people who believed video games shared no measurable link to the way people behaved, with 32% of those polled weighing to the contrary of the “video games equal violence” sentiment. The slight change was offset by a decreased number of citizens claiming to be unsure either way, with only 14% opting to claim ignorance on the matter, as compared to April’s 19% turnout for uncertainty.
And while these results arguably paint a dishearteningly conservative picture of modern society’s view of video games and their status as a valuable media, the poll’s findings about regulation of this violent content echo a far more measured view of things. Of those polled, a whopping 71% think that it’s a parents responsibility to control the amount of access their child has to games with violent and sexual content, while only 5% believe the government should have the final say in the matter. Another 21% take a more conscience-based approach, saying that it’s the responsibility of the video game makers themselves to ensure that games with violent and sexual content aren’t being produced so as to attract young children (a survey is currently underway as to how this is possible).
In addition to reporting percentage-based findings, Rasmussen provides some data on the demographic makeup of those polled that gives an interesting view of what type of citizens seem to weigh in with which opinions. Interestingly, those with children at home seem to be less critical of violence in video games, and more likely to feel it falls to the responsibility of the parent to deal with a child’s access to that violence, whereas those without children polled in as being more concerned about overall levels of mature content, believing that the industry was responsible for producing less ‘negative’ fare. This runs counter to the opinion often propagated by those debating the issue that parents have to look closer at their own behaviors – as it seems to indicate a higher level of grounded awareness on the part of those with kids in the home, than those without.
As it stands however, a poll of this sort should be taken with a grain of salt. Most of the data gathered is rooted in the opinions of those of a very specific age range, and would better be indicated as the baby-boomer generation’s opinion of video game than the opinion of “Americans.” I would be interested in seeing a truly representative survey that polled those ranging from children to those with children to gather a picture of the believed effects of video games on the part of those interacting with them, as well as those who don’t.
Moreover, I find myself compelled less by simple yes-no opinions like the ones above than I do by more uniquely representative data like this 2008 chart created by WordPress user Paul Spoerry, looking at violent crime in America as it correlates to years during which the most hotly debated, and “influential” violent video games were produced.
Do you Blistered Thumbs think polls like this add value to the discussion about video games as a media, or simply magnify the he-said-she-said bickering between those on both sides of the fence? And for that matter, what type of poll would you conduct, and what questions would you ask, to generate a truly representative indication of society’s current belief about video games?
Source: Rasmussen Reports
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