Over the past twenty years there have been plenty of bogeymen blamed for people's bad behavior. I still remember the widespread criticism that heavy metal faced when I was growing up. Then there was MTV, violent movies and the internet… there has always been some part of popular culture that gets blamed for bad acts committed by young people.
Now things are getting even worse, and the recent spike in gun violence has turned the nation's attention to video games, in particular ultra-violent games such as Activision’s (ATVI) Call of Duty. It is easy to see how this could happen. Yes, these action games are violent and bloody, and the basic thought is that hours upon hours of playing them will desensitize the user.
Of course, this is a heavily debated topic. On one side of the debate, the video game industry will argue that the games have age restrictions, and that they have the First Amendment on their side. They contend that the real responsibility lies with parents, and after all their games are just that… games. They contend that their games are no different than the violent movies and TV shows that are constantly being watched by millions of children around the world.
On the other side of the debate are psychologists and pediatricians who argue the games are altering minds and leading to a more violence-prone society. These are valid points, but these games aren't available to purchase for young people, there are age restrictions on their sale.