Mountains out of Molehills (McCandless, 2011)

I love data visualization, it gives me an intuitive understanding of what the data is telling me and a perspective clearer than bar charts and tables. David McCandless, data journalist and information designer, has a blog called Information is Beautiful. He just posted a blog post that caught my eyes. He display an interactive timeline of news reporting of some of the biggest fears, albeit ridiculous ones like vaccination and autism. Among them is violent video games. Go ahead play around.

The moutains of news reports on violent video games

What I found interesting is that no deaths were directly linked to playing violent video games. However, I do know that some reports of homicides where video games were involved.  However, the motives were unrelated to the effects of violent video games. Although, some initial news reports embedded video games in reporting a death.  The absence of deaths linked to exposure to violent video game content underlies the complicated affair of what constitutes such link. I am not a criminologist nor a lawyer, so I`m not going into such debate.

Another interesting inference from the data is the cyclical nature of reporting violent video games. At the top of my head, maybe it follows a sensationalism pattern. Reports seemed to correlated with important events to children, such as going back to school, holiday sales, and perhaps news on past significant events, such as the Columbine Massacre. Those valleys during summer time is interesting, but I`ve got no idea why there are valleys during those times.


2 thoughts on “Mountains out of Molehills (McCandless, 2011)

  1. The summertime valleys make perfect sense. In the US, school is out of session during the summer months (usually May-August or June-September, depending on state).

    Thanks to high-profile school shootings in the late 90s like Columbine and Heath High School, the threat of violent videogames is closely tied to school shootings in the popular imagination. So, no school, no interest in a story.

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