Conflicting stories continue to arrive. It would be a very interesting subject for a PhD in criminology/sociology to analyse the studies, their methodologies and their conclusions.
My belief remains the same. Violence on screen does not make you a criminal per se; but combined with dysfunctional families or personal life, it can, in certain circumstances, just be the trigger to real physical violence. To be purely dismissive of their effect is as silly as to be (over)emphasing their effect.
Whether criminal law should intervene is an other matter. However criminal law never faced the issue because violence ritualised by society (think about the fights organised in the Middle Ages between the knights; or even hunting parties) was physical violence, not “virtual” violence displayed on a screen. I’m starting to reflect on those issues for which I’ll present a paper at the next BILETA 2009 conference.
“Teens killed in cyber bullying ‘epidemic’ ” (CCRC, 21 February 2009)
“Internet-Addicted Kids Are Aggressive, Study Says” (TechDirt, 25 February 2009)
“The Big Question: Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Kids For The Apocalypse?” (the post refers to a video quite funny) (TechDirt, 27 February 2009)
On a similar theme, “And Now Facebook And Twitter Will Melt Your Mind” (TechDirt, 25 February 2009). I would not be as harsh as the author of the post. There is a point where using Twitter and even e-mails constantly create a frame of mind not suitable for very deep reflexion. I think those tools are good and extremely useful, but I certainly can’t write a 15000 words article if I look at my e-mails more than twice a day while researching and writing. Filtering the outside world to create silence does make us stronger if well used. The reverse is also true: e-mails and other forms of new communications can be good stuff.