THE BLOG

Videogames, Violence... And The Sims?

01/14/2013 05:40 pm ET | Updated Mar 16, 2013

I've been speaking with researchers who participated in Biden's meeting with leaders of the video game industry on Friday, and they're in agreement that there's no evidence of a link between violent videogames and violent people.

But just because there's no evidence of a link, that doesn't mean there's no link. One of the researchers, Cheryl Olson, pointed out that there's a lot of research to be done. She said that no one has looked into the how video games affect the behavior of juvenile delinquents, specifically.

Olson began researching the subject because, like many moms, she was concerned about the games her son was playing. What she found was that most of the kids she studied seemed to regard violent videogames as too cartoonish to take seriously.

When 12 and 13-year-old boys were asked whether they thought any games would be inappropriate for kids their age, they mentioned the Sims. Most adults would probably not think of the Sims as R-rated material. But the boys in Olson's study were uncomfortable because the characters in that game kiss each other. While they could never imagine themselves killing people in real life, they could imagine themselves kissing people -- and that made them nervous.

Olson went into more detail in this interesting Times op-ed last year.