A new study presented at the 113th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington, DC entitled “Violence in Video Games: A Review of the Empirical Research,” concludes that children who play violent video games are more likely to show violent or aggressive behavior.
The researchers observed that children who played violent video games even for only ten minutes exhibited aggressive behavior immediately after playing.
In a study of over 600 8th and 9th graders, teachers described children who played violent video games as more physically and verbally hostile and also said they did not perform as well on academic tests.
The authors also noted differences between boys and girls with respect to video game play. They said that boys spend more time playing video games possibly because the women in games are confined to subordinate rolls. When girls did play, however, the study claims they too became more aggressive.
Finally, the researchers submit that children and adolescents who enjoy the games are more susceptible to their negative effects. Further studies, they say, are needed to examine the attraction of the games as opposed to playing outdoors and why certain personality types seem more interested in violent video games than others.
Although such research points to the effect living in a media saturated society has on children, it may still be somewhat of a leap to connect video games directly to antisocial behavior.
Aggressive and violent tendencies can be influenced by many factors including environment (both within the family and in a larger cultural context), economics, personality, and other stimuli. Even traditional outdoor games such as “cops and robbers” and “red rover” as well as many organized sports have there own aggressive elements.