Moral panic around violent video gaming

C H R I S T I N A

Today’s youth are even more inundated with media violence than past generations, mostly from entertainment sources, news and educational media. The moral panic around the link between violent video gaming and aggression has been around for more than four decades. The term ‘moral panic’ is defined as “a widespread fear most often an irrational one, that someone or something is a threat to the values, safety and interests of a community or society at large” (Crossman 2019). In 1972 Stanley Cohen described Moral Panic as “a condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests.” (Cohen 1971)

Public controversies over violent content in digital games, known as media panic, are as old as the digital game medium. During the 1980s digital games stirred public controversies, revolving around the risks of exposing children and youth to content such as foul…

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