The argument is invariably based on some sort of a vague hunch that the entire world is going to hell in a handbasket, and that video games and violent crime are just one of the symptoms. Violent crime is down, people. Way down. I'm not going to argue that violent video games cause a decrease in violent crime, but it's hard to argue that they cause an increase, when there's no actual increase to be observed. The subject needs no futher discussion.
Likewise, I've never really put much stock in the "getting your ya-yas out" argument, which suggests that video games actually do reduce violent crime, because they provide outlets for people who would otherwise be likely to engage in violent behavior. Violent crime has been on a steady decline since the 70s, I beleive, with no marked change that can be linked to the popularity of video games. That subject needs no further discussion either.
So what do video games teach us? They teach us pattern recognition, they teach us hand/eye coordination, they teach us faster reflexes, they teach forethought (in the same way that chess does), but to assume that any of these skills are easily applicable in real life is taking, I think, a very large, not necessarily intuitive step. Unless I repair watches, or compete in some sort of speed-knitting Olympic event, my hand/eye coordination will probably not be tested very often beyond the "functioning member of society" level. And while being good at Advance Wars might make me a better Chess player, I hardly think that being good at Chess counts as a "Socially Responsible Lesson", to quote this month's Round Table description.
To make a long story not in any notable way shorter: Do video games teach socially responsible lessons? Yes. Is there any reason, inherent to the medium, why they can't? No. Do they make it a habit to do so? No.
So what "Socially Responsible Lessons" have I learned from games? Sadly, the kinds of things that I would say I've learned are the easiest to verbalize. I consider myself entertained and edified after watching "Rebecca", but did the movie teach me a socially responsible lesson? That's harder to prove. Likewise, I enjoyed playing Portal, and because I have, I now have a shared pool of experience to draw from with virtually everyone else on the internet, but is that really a socially responsible lesson?
Barring Edu-tainment (which I'm totally in favor of), I think this is the most socially responsible lesson that games can teach us. By giving our generation a sense of shared context, games provide identity, ease communication, and build a foundation for all further creative interactions.
Wow, that's a tall order. Let me say it again. By giving our generation a sense of shared context, games provide identity, ease communication, and build a foundation for all further creative interactions. Games aren't really special in this regard, I just happen to believe that they join the illustrious ranks of Books, Movies, Music, Television, and any other creative endeavour.
The first two items on that thesis statement can be granted as common sense. If I read a joke about "The Cake is a Lie" on the SomethingAwful forums, I need to have played Portal to get the joke, and if I'm meeting someone for the first time, and I find out he/she is a big fan of Smash Bros, there's an instant comraderie there.
Regarding the concept of building a foundation for further creative endeavours, who can doubt that the creative gamer minds of my age (early 20s) that are now making it into the working world were impacted by Aeris's death, the search for the way to recruit General Leo into your party, and the sheer tenacity of the little guy from Frogger. In as much as games can tell stories (and probably even farther), they contribute to my generation's shared context, which is a particularly valuable lesson, I'd say.