Trevor Wicks’ recent letter to the editor promoting the false supposition that violent video games lead to violent behaviour like what happened in Ottawa, Quebec, or even terrorism in the Middle East, is simplistic at best and panders to people who do not bother to read about the phenomenon beyond the newspaper headlines.
A quick search on Google brings up a Guardian newspaper article refuting Wicks’ claims quite easily. Children do not become “conditioned to sociopathic behavior.”
Sociopathic, or psychopathic behaviour, is very complex and individuals can be tested for this behaviour. Dr. Robert Hare at UBC devised the test in the early 1990s and you can even take the test on Wikipedia. Sociopathic behaviour is not something you learn from watching a television screen — it is much much more complex than that, with some psychiatrists and psychologists thinking a person might be born like that.
Equating the violence in the Middle East done by al Qaeda and ISIS is also spurious. I am quite sure that since about 1900, the violence done by various groups against others including killing women and children and causing the survivors to swear vengeance would be a more likely cause of the continuing violence. Born and raised in refugee camps with little or no education and watching the real violence around you would likely cause children to become violent. Electricity for video games and the cost of the video game are likely not available when your sole interest is to eat and survive.
Wicks’ letter is sensationalist at the very least. In the U.S., violence and terrorism only causes more Americans to buy even more guns which leads to even more violence.
Watching and participating in a violent video game would concern me much less than if my neighbour here in Canada had a unregistered long gun which he/she is now allowed to do.