Facepalm: Baylor University professor is exploring violent videogames (The Lariat Online, 2010)

Benjamin Sisko (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) facepalms.

When this news article from the Lariat Online showed up writing about an assistant communication studies professor studying on violent videogames, it was already losing my attention. What Dr. Daniel Shafer is looking at seems like what everyone else is doing, such as vulnerabilities (Dr. Markey?), which videogames are most apt to lead to hostility (that’s new) and multiplayer gameplay (Dr. Eastin and Dr. Mahood?). He also question whether non-violent videogames contribute to hostility,  Sestir and Bartholow (2010) got in first, a second study wouldn’t hurt.

Now you’re wondering why the facepalm? It’s the reporter’s erroneous knowledge on videogames. Here is the offending quote:

Currently, the government regulates games by labeling them with a rating, dependent on how violent the game is. Games labeled “mature” are considered the most violent and require a person to be 17 or older to purchase them.

The government (at any level) does not regulate, label nor require a person to be 17 or over to buy an M-rated videogame. The videogame industry self-regulates through the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which rates and labels on a set of established criteria. It is the retailers’ job to enforce the age purchase limit and they do a good job (see Ars Technica article) since customers are their business.

Lance Holbert who is teaching my theories class said that the OSU School of Communication is an oddity among other communications department due to the high productivity and that graduated PhDs already have a couple of publications in peer-reviewed journals. I checked the professor’s publication history and given that he got his PhD in 2009, it’s not much…

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