Many publications focus on the negative effects of violent video games, but according to pediatrician and father, Aaron Carroll, video games don’t cause violence.

Carroll compares video game violence to a sad novel. He questions why reading a sad book is associated with sad thoughts, but no one ever links it to depression. Thinking aggressive thoughts and acting on them are separate actions. However, it seems as if every time there is a mass shooting, Americans repeatedly try to put the blame on violent video games.

Popular controversial video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat, and Call of Duty: Black Ops are without a doubt violent. But that is why they have an “M” rating for Mature. According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, an “M” rating is “content  generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.”

Carroll’s advice for parents is to use discretion and smarts when allowing their children to be exposed to certain games.

Earlier last year, President Obama called on Congress to fund research on video game violence and young adults. “We don’t benefit from ignorance.  We don’t benefit from not knowing the science,” stated the President.

Despite the violent connections many have made, the United States continues to spend billions of dollars on video games every year.  However, many other developed countries spend much more, including Australia, France, and South Korea.

Watch Dr. Aaron Carroll speak more about violent video games in “Video Games Don’t Cause Violence,” an epsiode in  Healthcare Triage — a YouTube series about health care.

Aaron Carroll is a professor of pediatrics and assistant dean for research mentoring at Indiana University School of Medicine.