But a new report from the American Psychological Association APA found there is insufficient research to support that link. It found that there is evidence showing the games increase aggression but not enough to demonstrate that playing the games lead to criminal behavior or delinquency. Rather, it concluded that the "accumulation of risk factors," such as antisocial behavior, depression, trouble at home, delinquency or academic problems, also played a role. The findings are unlikely to put to rest the concerns about violent video games, especially given that over 90 percent of children play video games, with 85 percent of those games containing some violence.
Alamy It was a headline in the Daily Mail that started it. Scaremongering stories about the clear-cut negative effects of video games crop up in the news far too often, but when you start to dig into the evidence behind the claims, the story becomes murky.
So rather than simply moan about the problem, Suzi Gage and I, along with some colleagues from the University of Bristol and UCL, decided to do some research for ourselves.
Using data from the Children of the 90s study, we set out to answer a seemingly simple question: Before you can attack it in any sort of meaningful way, you first need to figure out two things: In some experimental studies for instance, the way aggression is measured is so poorly implemented that you can essentially find whatever association with video game play you wantsimply based on how you analyse the data.
So in our study, we tried to take a more considered approach to these issues. First off, we used a clinically validated assessment tool to look at two aspects of negative mental health: In other words, rather than relying on a proxy measure of aggression, we looked at whether children were actually engaging in disruptive and violent behaviour.
From the Children of the 90s data then, we used a banded measure of conduct disorder — a 6-level variable based on the probability of having the disorder, ranging from 1 unlikely to 6 very likely. So we had to make an assumption that if kids were playing games like GoldenEye 64, they would have ticked the shoot-em-up box.
We then identified a number of potential confounding factors - things which might have an impact on any potential association between game use and aggressive behaviour that we would need to take into account.
These included factors like family history of mental health problems, maternal education and socioeconomic status, and whether the child at age 8 was a victim of bullying or had emotional problems. What is the link between violent video games and aggression?
Pete Etchells Read more So, the results. Plus, the absolute risk of being diagnosed with conduct disorder was small — 26 out of a total sample of children met the case status for the disorder. So in other words, there is an association between playing shoot-em-up games at a young age, and later aggressive behaviour.
Call of Duty is a pretty competitive, fast-paced game, whereas something like Candy Crush Saga is more easy-going and solitary. This was equally an issue for our study, so we tried to take this into account by running a sensitivity analysis. We looked at data from children who reported that they selectively played shoot-em-up games, and compared them to children who selectively played competitive racing or sports games.
Again, there was only weak evidence here that playing shoot-em-up games was associated with an increased risk of conduct disorder, compared to competitive games.
Of course, one study can never paint a definitive, conclusive picture, and this one is no exception. Instead, we wanted to see it as more of a starting point; a way to kick-start some discussions of how to make the research area more robust and, well, useful.
Violent video games research: Sometimes you might play them on your own; other times you might have some friends around for a games night."However, there certainly is a link between playing violent video games and violent criminal behavior, although it is not as strong as the link between playing violent video games and less serious Founded: Sep 18, “The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression,” says the report of the APA Task Force on Violent Media.
What we actually know about the effects of violent video games on behaviour isn’t as clear-cut as many think. Photograph: Alamy It was a headline in the Daily Mail that started it.
“Computer. Research on exposure to television and movie violence suggests that playing violent video games will increase aggressive behavior. A meta-analytic review of the video-game research literature reveals that violent video games increase aggressive behavior in children and young adults.
But a closer look at kids who played more hours of violent video games per week revealed increases in aggressive behavior and violent tendencies, compared to those who played fewer hours a week.
"However, there certainly is a link between playing violent video games and violent criminal behavior, although it is not as strong as the link between playing violent video games and less serious Founded: Sep 18,