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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.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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