Do Video Games Kill? (PDF)

Politicians and other moral crusaders frequently create “folk devils,” individuals or groups defined as evil and immoral. Folk devils allow us to channel our blame and fear, offering a clear course of action to remedy what many believe to be a growing problem. Video games, those who play them, and those who create them have become contemporary folk devils because they seem to pose a threat to children.

Such games have come to represent a variety of social anxieties: about youth violence, new computer technology, and the apparent decline in the ability of adults to control what young people do and know. Panics about youth and popular culture have emerged with the appearance of many new technologies. Over the past century, politicians have complained that cars, radio, movies, rock music, and even comic books caused youth immorality and crime, calling for control and sometimes censorship. —Karen SternheimerDo Video Games Kill? (PDF) (Contexts)

2 thoughts on “Do Video Games Kill? (PDF)

  1. In our modern, net-driven society, I think it is more important than ever to protect our children and help them to be critical users of media. Games are another way for people to escape and/or to be creative thinkers. Social anxiety is natural as we seek to understand the responsible, legal use of new technologies. Demonizing anything, as Mike mentioned, does not help define its advantages and limitations. It merely increases the volume of heated rhetoric at the expense of cogent analysis. We need to look out for the interests of families and preserve the opportunity for parents to discuss these social issues.

  2. Yes indeed. Sometimes, in fact, the more accurate these texts are at shedding light on a social anxiety, the more energy is put into demonizing it by a dominant cultural group. — signed, Arnzen the horror writing folk devil

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