A review conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) task force on violent media indicates that violent video games are linked to increased aggressive behavior. Based on these findings, the APA is calling for more parental controls over violent content in video games. The review was comprised of over 300 studies on violent video games published between 2005 and 2013.
While the experts stated that the findings are insufficient to determine whether a particular video game caused a criminal act, the review showed that violent video games were a “risk factor” for increased aggression. “The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in pro-social behaviour, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.” the APA said.
Aggressive behavior was not caused by one particular factor but was an “accumulation of risk factors”, the report stated. “The research reviewed here demonstrates that violent video game use is one such risk factor.” it said, according to Press Association.
“Scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than two decades but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence.” said Dr. Mark Appelbaum, who chaired the APA task force. “However, the link between violence in video games and increased aggression in players is one of the most studied and best established in the field…We know that there are numerous risk factors for aggressive behaviour.”
The APA wants there to be greater parental control over violence in video games. Earlier this month at a meeting in Toronto, the APA’s ruling council said the video game rating system should be more conscientious of violent content. The council also said that video games should be appropriate for a player’s age and psychological development.
Dr. Appelbaum said “While there is some variation among the individual studies, a strong and consistent general pattern has emerged from many years of research that provides confidence in our general conclusions,” For future studies, researchers are expected to study how violence in video games affects individuals with other risk factors for aggression.