This is Niche Culture. In this column, we regularly cover anime, geek culture, and things related to video games. Please leave feedback and let us know if there’s something you want us to cover!
Jack Thompson has returned for an op-ed on Tallahassee Democrat blaming the Parkland school massacre on violent video games.
The disbarred lawyer pointed to Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz playing “hyperviolent” video games “up to 15 hours a day,” and that a “neurobiological age-based differential” between teens and adults is what led him to go crazy and shoot up a school.
Thompson noted MRI brain scan studies “at Indiana and Harvard Universities” that show teens process video games in the midbrain, the impulsive part of the brain, while adults process them in the prefrontal cortex, which tends to intercept emotional, copycat behavior.
He also goes on to mention the World Health Organization recently adding “Video Game Addiction” as a form of mental disorder, even though psychologists and scholars decried the classification. He also notes the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the juvenile death penalty in 2003.
Lastly, the main point Thompson goes on to make is the age restrictions on mature-classified games haven’t been properly enforced. He suggests states and the federal government should “apply deceptive trade practice laws” that are “already on the books” to video game sales.
How do you feel about Thompson’s suggestions? Are video games themselves capable of turning kids or adults into murderers? Or is it their environment, upbringing, and or a number of factors? Sound off in the comments below!