more recent research has been expanded to include music, video games, social media, and the Internet. Interest in media effects is fueled by the fact that youth are spending more time engaging with media that portrays increasing amounts of violence. Although research on the effects of media violence on real-life violence has been carried out for more than 50 years, none of this research has focused on firearm violence in particular as an outcome. As a result, a direct relationship between violence in media and real-life firearm violence has not been established and additional research is necessary.
The committee identified the following key research topic as a priority for research on video games and media.
• Examine the relationship between exposure to media violence and real-life violence.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND DATA
High-quality data that are usable, credible, and accessible are fundamental to both the advancement of research and the development of sound policies. Anonymous data are sufficient for these purposes, and in fact anonymized data should be used to protect civil liberties. Basic information about gun possession, distribution, ownership, acquisition, and storage is lacking. No single database captures the number, locations, and types of firearms and firearm owners in the United States. Because different forms of firearm violence respond to different strategies, without good data it is virtually impossible to answer fundamental questions about occurrence and risk factors or to effectively evaluate programs intended to reduce violence and harm. Data about the sources of guns used in crimes are important, given that studies suggest that the mechanism by which an individual acquires a gun may predict future violent use of that gun. The National Violent Death Reporting System is a beginning, but it covers only one-third of U.S. states (CDC, 2013a).
Additionally, the lack of comprehensive datasets and the wide variety of sources and the fact that the data lead to contradictory conclusions call into question the reliability and validity of gun-violence data. Technological opportunities and recent advances that can enhance linkages among datasets from other federal, state, and local sources may enable better predictive analytics, real-time information sharing, and reduction of data noise.