James Hirsen writres in his Dec. 17 Newsmax column on the Newtown massacre:
The time has come for industry figures to take the lead in examining the violent content of entertainment product. Empirical data now exists that links violent content in a variety of media forms to overly aggressive behavior in individuals.
The video gaming industry, however, is of the most pressing concern and deserves particular scrutiny due to the unique characteristics inherent in video game products and the greater potentiality for negative societal consequences as a result of active engagement.
Video games are distinctively interactive and have actually been shown to have addictive qualities. Many of the games are laden with highly charged content.
In November 2012 an Australian National University psychology researcher confirmed the addictive nature of video games, discovering that frequent gamers had “attentional bias,” i.e., individuals were unable to stop thinking about gaming when attempting to focus on other tasks, a phenomenon that also occurs in alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions.
Hirsen doesn't mention that the study also portrays video game addiction as more of a symptom, rather an cause, of other issues:
"Addicts were also more likely to have psychological traits associated with avoiding problems and difficulties rather than actively dealing with their problems....According to Victoria University researcher Daniel Loton, the correlation suggests that excessive computer gaming may be a symptom of possibly unrelated mental anxieties as gamers seek to avoid their problems through immersion in gaming. He said the suggestion that excessive gaming may be a "coping mechanism" is reinforced by the finding that excessive gaming didn't appear to be damaging a gamer's success or satisfaction at work or study. "In fact, excessive players showed marginally higher success in their studies, failing fewer subjects and scoring higher grade averages than they had intended,'' said Mr Loton, a PhD candidate at VU's school of education.
"The excessive gaming may be a coping mechanism for dealing with pre-existing mental health problems," he told the HES."
Further, the Washington Post compiled data showing there appears to be no direct correlation between video game consumption and gun violence, and that countries with higher video game spending per capita than the U.S. have lower rates of gun-related murders.