US parents blame violence on games as much as guns

Both believed to contribute to real-world violence by 75% of parents polled

US parents are as likely to blame games for real-world violence as they are to blame guns, a new survey has found. Both were cited as factors contributing to violence by 75 percent of parents polled.

The survey, conducted last week and commissioned by parent watchdog outfit Common Sense Media and the political advocacy group Center for American Progress, polled a group of 1,050 parents with children under the age of 18 living at home. Common Sense Media has made violent games a cause in the past, and the Center for American Progress has advocated for a range of progressive causes, including stricter gun control measures.

The groups presented parents with a list of factors and asked them whether or not each contributes to violence in the US. Respondents had three choices for each factor: Does, Does Not, or Not Sure.

While the majority of parents believed games and guns to be contributing factors, they were not the most commonly cited problems. Those were a lack of supervision for children (93 percent) and bullying (92 percent). Followed those were actual real-life crime (86 percent) and violence on TV and in movies (77 percent). The only offered factor deemed less culpable than games and guns was violent toys, which 64 percent of parents said contributed to real-world violence.

The parents were also asked to rate on a scale of 1-10 how much they agreed with statements like, "Addressing violence in the United States will require taking action on violence in the media and keeping weapons away from our kids." That question averaged an 8.3. When asked if the media industry has the power to curtail the culture of violence, the average response was an 8.4. However, when asked if the gun industry "has the power to help address this violence and should be part of the solution," parents averaged a 7.9 response.

"These survey results demonstrate that parents are anxious about their children's safety in America today and that they believe we need real action to prevent gun violence and change the culture of violence," Center for American Progress president and CEO Neera Tanden said in a statement accompanying the survey's release. "We need to do both; this is not a choice between two important goals."

More detailed survey results can be found on the Common Sense Media website.

Related stories

ESA opposes potential DMCA rule change aimed at preserving abandoned online games

"Preservation of online video games is now critical,” says Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment

By Haydn Taylor

Hawaii proposes landmark legislation against loot boxes

UPDATE: State representative who previously declared legislation a "slippery slope" affirms support for efforts toward regulating loot boxes; expects more states to follow Hawaii's lead

By Haydn Taylor

Latest comments (21)

Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios5 years ago
America does appear to have more than its fair share of stupid people.
5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
I think the term is sheeple. easily massaged and manipulated by mass media
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Al Nelson Producer, Tripwire Interactive5 years ago
Where is our voice in this? The movie industry would have a pack of lobbyists on point. Action games make your kids smarter. Not-smart people stoop to shooting other people in the RW. Somebody please remind them that confusing the game world with real world is the definition of a ludic fallacy.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (21)
Konstantin Hohl5 years ago
This dicussion will lead nowhere anyway, the parent generation mostly simply doesn't know what they are talking about when it comes to games(speaking of violent games, but buying their children M-rated games), whereas most gamers feel stigmatized and won't even enter the discussion with reasonable arguments.

I love my games, but when I look at my collection (especially the current gen stuff) and sort out the games in which I don't shoot or slice people, there is not much left except some sport and racing titles. You get the same picture when you browse the big gaming sites... Back in the 90's games haven't been that violent. I think that in the past decade game design heavily relied on violent content. While I dont think that this is the cause for the mass murders (those games get consumed all around the world, yet the problem mainly exiits in the US. I wonder why...) I do think that the trend towards violent content should at least get discussed...

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Konstantin Hohl on 11th January 2013 8:46pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Nikolae Konlovsky Team Leader, oasisgames.com5 years ago
Sheeple eh? The same Sheeple who might just be affected by a relentless bombardment of unnecessary graphic violence in games & film by any chance?
4Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Andrew Lee Pearson Studying Game Designer, Train2Game5 years ago
"US parents are as likely to blame games for real-world violence as they are to blame guns, a new survey has found."

Did they do a poll on how many parents buy their child 18 rated games?
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tom Hunt Game Developer, neocade5 years ago
I think there's the idea that, if a little kid sees this imagery of good guy shoots bad guys and then wins & saves the world or whatever, or even plays this experience, then they think about the kid(s) that give them s**t in the schoolyard because they talk/smell/walk/look a little weird, and then check out the small arsenal of firearms their parents are constitutionally entitled to keep in their house for defending themselves and their neighbors against angry native americans who want their land back and the possibility of the federal governmental getting taken over by a tyrant, or, more commonly, "home invasions", i.e. burglarly - somewhere in there the kid may get the idea that shooting things is a pretty effective problem-solver, and that it would be pretty cool to take one of those guns and shoot the bully ("that'll show 'em."), then takes one of the guns, shoots the bully, and gets (in)famous.

As imaginative as this may seem, it is probably not a huge stretch of the imagination for some parents in the U.S., and particularly for political types that are trying not to piss off the NRA too much with all this talk about possibly limiting the sales of any sort of firearm. The end solution, for politicians at least, is for something that will put people's minds to rest about the possibility of mass shootings occurring in everyday places, without too many bad side effects. Those who trade a little liberty for a little security, after all, deserve neither.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Nikolae... Unless they sit in front of a TV all day, those people aren't "BOMBARDED" by anything because guess what? They more than likely already refuse to let their kids play violent games or watch violent movies. If they were responsible parents and that fearful as well, they'd also be contacting the parents of their kid's friends and asking them not to let them see or play movies or games they don't approve of.

Violent games and films are dropping from trees or pop from the ground like fruit and flowers, there's a ratings system in place for both (that needs to be better enforced, yes) and plenty of places parents can get to online and off so they can be MORE involved in what sort of entertainment their kids enjoy.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development5 years ago
Parental resp
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development5 years ago
Fuck it, this site can't even remember what i type
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
We've come a long way since the original Death Race. :P

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kingman Cheng on 12th January 2013 10:12am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
Death Race 3: Inferno?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
The simple fact is, parents are happier to point their finger and guns at a scapegoat than themselves, the ultimate guardian and responsibility for the current situation that surrounds them
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development5 years ago
Thanks Dr Chee. I was trying to type exactly that, but it kept deleting my text! +1
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
It's a societal problem, and will take a societal solution. We all are the problem, and we are all the solution.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 12th January 2013 7:07pm

2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Mark Laurel Developer 5 years ago
The answer to this is pretty simple, if you don't want your child to play the game, don't buy it. If the game finds its way to your home, confiscate it & toss it out.

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
People are more likely to be killed with a gun than an M-rated game.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Hakki Sahinkaya5 years ago
Shitty parents with a shitty scapegoat.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
As a bit of light relief, since this is all getting quite heavy, it's possible to kill people with the most unlikely of objects...
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up5 years ago
I bet most gun owners are paranoid parents.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus5 years ago
Let's consider the source. The groups conducting these surveys have a real horse in this fight. This would be similar to the Heritage Foundation coming out with a survey saying that 75% of Americans think Barack Obama is a socialist who is destroying America. I'm calling a heavy bias here.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.