A study conducted by the Department of Psychology at Ohio State University has claimed there are possible links between violent video games and aggression and gun interest in children.
220 children aged between eight and twelve were studied. The kids were exposed to three different versions of Minecraft. Of which, all three versions had a different degree of violence. One of them had no violence at all, the other one had sword violence and the last one had gun violence.
Each child played the game for 20 minutes before walking into a room filled with toys and a cabinet with a disabled firearm. Out of 76 children that played the version that featured the gun, 62% of them ended up picking up the real firearm when given the opportunity to choose between toys or the gun. Out of 74 children that played the version with the sword, 57% of them also picked up the firearm. Out of the children that did not play the version with sword and gun violence, only 44% of them approached the firearms.
The study showed that children who were exposed to the versions which featured violence were more likely to pick up the gun and point it at themselves, their partners and pull the trigger pretending to shoot them. The same effect was seen on the kids who admitted to consuming violent media in the past.
The researchers in the study acknowledged that there are a couple of limitations to the research. Firstly, it was conducted in a laboratory setting which could have affected the kids’ decisions. Secondly, Minecraft does not truly depict any real-world violence with no blood and gore. Ethically, it was the correct game to expose the kids to in order to mildly showcase animated violence without going beyond their age group.
It is not the first time we have seen studies between violent video games and real-world violence taking place. Gaming has been in the spotlight in the last couple of weeks after it was classified as an addiction disorder and more will come to light now that it is in the public eye.
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