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Parents, violent video games DO make players more aggressive

But not necessarily violent.

The Nemesis from Resident Evil II.
The Nemesis from Resident Evil II.
Image: Facebook/ResidentEvil

A MAJOR US study has found that violent video games are linked to aggression in players but found “insufficient evidence” that they lead to criminal violence.

The report from the American Psychological Association (APA) mentioned how news commentators often cite violent video games as a contributory factor in mass murders and shootings. It specifically mentions how video games were cited after the Sandy Hook massacre 2012 and the Columbine school shooting in 1999.

As a result, the report sought to investigate this and reviewed more than 300 academic papers about violent video games that were published between 2005 and 2013.

The research concluded that there is a “consistent relation between violent video game use and heightened aggressive behaviour.”

It added that there is also an established link with a decrease in positive outcomes such as pro-social behaviour, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.

However, as to whether video games can actually lead to criminal violence or delinquency the APA say they “did not find enough evidence” to conclude this.

Instead, the report points out that it is a combination of factors that contribute to a person engaging in violent crime.

“No single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently,” the report points out.

“Rather, it is the accumulation of risk factors that tends to lead to aggressive or violent behaviour. The research reviewed here demonstrates that violent video game use is one such risk factor.”

The report does go on to say that more research needs to be done on how violent games interact with these other risk factors.

It also concludes that insufficient research has been carried out on the difference in outcomes for boys and girls who play violent games.

It also calls for more research into the effect of such games on children young than ten.

Read: Competitive video gaming is becoming hugely popular – here’s why >

Opinion: A game that lets you murder prostitutes? It’s creepy, offensive and infuriating >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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