Violent video games have been to blame for basically anything that goes wrong in real life. Parents are scared it will turn their children into horribly violent adults and even politicians and other professionals have advocated against the playing of violent video games for fears of them creating real-life violence. Now, a new study from the Oxford Internet Institution – a division of the University of Oxford – has established that there is no link between playing violent video games and displaying violent behaviour in real life.
The link between violent video games has been a topic of debate for years. We’ve even reported on a politician that wants to impose a sin tax on violent video games to prevent violence in schools. But a new study refutes all of these claims.
The study, which was published in the Royal Society Open Science, looked at the time spent playing violent video games and compared this to violence occurring in real life in teenagers. It describes itself as “one of the most definitive to date, using a combination of subjective and objective data to measure teen aggression and violence in games“.
The study looked at data from British teens between the ages of 14 and 15 years, as well as their carers, with a total number of participants being 2008. The teenagers filled out a questionnaire regarding their personalities and gaming behaviours in terms of length of time played, the amount of time played, type of games played, etc. The teens’ carers were then asked questions about the teens’ aggressive behaviour, to see if a link can be established between playing violent video games and displaying violent behaviour in real life.
The study concluded that there was no link between playing violent video games and aggressive behaviour in teenagers. However, the researcher emphasised that there are situations in gaming where angry feelings or reactions are invoked in players:
Anecdotally, you do see things such as trash-talking, competitiveness and trolling in gaming communities that could qualify as antisocial behaviour. This would be an interesting avenue for further research.
Do you think there’s a link between violent games and aggressive behaviour in real life? Let us know your opinion on this controversial topic in the comments section below.