Believe it or not, there are some in Washington who don't blame real-world violence on violent video games
. Shocking, we know, but it's true. Former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole is one of them, and during a panel discussion over the weekend, she pointed out that there isn't evidence to support the notion that video games cause violence.
"It's my experience that video games do not cause violence," O'Toole told CBS News
, according to The Raw Story
. "However, it is one of the risk variables when we do a threat assessment for the risk to act out violently. It's important that I point out that as a threat assessment and as a former FBI profiler, we don't see these as the cause of violence. We see them as sources of fueling ideation that's already there."
Violence in video games is once again a hot topic after a CBS News
investigation found a bunch of games in the home of Adam Lanza, who shot 20 children and 6 adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.
Christopher Ferguson, a psychology professor at Texas A&M International University, also weighed in on the matter with a bit of historical perspective. According to Ferguson, a period of "moral panic" often follows the introduction of new media. For example, in the 1950s, Congress and psychiatrists were blaming comic books for juvenile delinquency and even homosexuality, Ferguson says.
"We're in a mode of worry about -- or panicking about this type of media. We may do some putting the cart before the horse, and we may see some people sort of starting with a conclusion and trying to assemble data in a very selective way to try and support that conclusion," Ferguson explains.
Parents aren't convinced. In a recent survey
of 1,050 parents of children 18 years old and younger, 89 percent said that nationwide violence in today's video games is a problem. Interestingly, after being shown advertisements for Hitman: Absolution and the movie Gangster Squad, 84 percent said the game's ad was inappropriate versus 63 percent who felt the same way about the movie.