The American Psychological Association (APA) has released a public statement recommending that all violence be reduced in video games and interactive media marketed to children and youth.
Apparently based on an examination of the third-party research into violence and its effect on the young, the Association concluded that: "exposure to violence in video games increases aggressive thoughts, aggressive behavior, and angry feelings among youth. In addition, this exposure reduces helpful behavior and increases physiological arousal in children and adolescents."
Dr. Elizabeth Carll, who is a private psychology practitioner in New York and a past president of the Media Division of APA, particularly commented that the learning aspect of games may, in her opinion, reinforce violent behavior, suggesting: "Playing video games involves practice, repetition, and being rewarded for numerous acts of violence, which may intensify the learning. This may also result in more realistic experiences which may potentially increase aggressive behavior."
The APA's conclusion is to recommend the teaching of media literacy to children so they will have the ability to critically evaluate interactive media, and the encouragement of the entertainment industry to link violent behaviors with negative social consequences, as well as calls to set up "a content-based rating system that accurately reflects the content of the video games and interactive media", presumably meaning that it finds the current ESRB system insufficient.
In turn, Entertainment Software Association president Doug Lowenstein has released an official statement to the Associated Press press agency, suggesting that the APA has not looked carefully enough at research and analysis challenging claims over games and aggression, and specifically commenting: "This resolution is hardly surprising since the APA has made it clear over a long period of time that it believes violent video games are harmful and thus justify enactment of unconstitutional restrictions on First Amendment freedoms."