Videogames blamed for increased Ozzie knife crime

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That's not a knife. This is a knife!

There’s been an increase in knife-related crime amongst the youth in Australia. Unsurprisingly, the scapegoat du jour, videogames, is being fingered as the culprit.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, Speaking with the Telegraph Australia stated, “How can it not affect you if you’re a young adolescent growing up in an era where to be violent is almost praiseworthy, where you engage in virtual crime on a daily basis and many of these young people (do) for hours and hours on end.”

“You get rewarded for killing people, raping women, stealing money from prostitutes, driving cars; crashing and killing people,” Scipione added – making one or two references to Grand Theft Auto.

Scipione admits that the violence in videogames won’t affect everybody – but is worried about the effects of videogames on the few who are; completely forgetting that they’re likely predisposed to violence, and would end up lashing out whether they played games or not.

“That’s not going to affect the vast majority,” Scipione continued, “but it’s only got to affect one or two and what have you got? You’ve got some potentially really disturbed young person out there who’s got access to weapons like knives or is good with the fist, can go out there and almost live that life now in the streets of modern Australia. That’s concerning.”

He’s come under fire for those comments – from somebody who isn’t just talking out of his ass and relying on supposition; Dr Christopher Ferguson, associate professor of psychology and communication at the University of Texas. Ferguson has said that Scipione has “no idea what he was talking about,” and that statistically, violence among youths has actually significantly decreased since the advent of the video game – probably because kids are too busy telling you about your mother’s lascivious extra-mural activities with men of African descent while playing Call of Duty to actually stab real-life people.

“In most countries youth violence has reached 40 year lows during the video game epoch,” Ferguson said, adding that  Scipione’s comments were “irresponsible” and “based on no good research data”.

Last Updated: August 6, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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