The school shooting/violent video game link: causal relationship or moral panic?


  • Christopher J. Ferguson

    Corresponding author
    1. Behavioral, Applied Sciences and Criminal Justice Department, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX, USA
    • Department of Behavioral, Applied Sciences and Criminal Justice, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX 78041, USA
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In the last 10 years, following the incidence of serious acts of school violence—particularly multiple homicides on school campuses—much attention has focused on the potential causal role of violent video game exposure. Some scholars have attempted to draw links between laboratory and correlational research on video game playing and school shooting incidents. This paper argues that such claims are faulty and fail to acknowledge the significant methodological and constructional divides between existing video game research and acts of serious aggression and violence. It is concluded that no significant relationship between violent video game exposure and school shooting incidents has been demonstrated in the existing scientific literature, and that data from real world violence call such a link into question. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.