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Do video games make young people violent ?

It can be said that violence in video games can affect those who play violent games such as Saints Row, Grand Theft Auto franchise, Doom, Halo, and many more. The argument can go both ways that it does not have an effect or it does have an effect.

Nearly 33 million people in the United Kingdom are playing Video games, according to research conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). In 2014, a large sum of 1,685 games received a PEGI rating. The 5 top descriptors that appeared in most games that year were “Violence” (64.9%), “Online” (29.3%), “Bad Language”(21.5%), “Fear” (10.9%) and “Sex” (3.8%). All of which are included in games such as GTA  V which made one billion dollars in 3 days worldwide.

In a 2008 survey, 50% of boys and 14% of girls between 12 and 17 listed a matureor adult onlyrated game as one of their favourite games but doe’s the violence in such games reflect the way users behave?

A study from Italy and a meta-study from Austria both connect playing violent video games with antisocial behaviour. It is believed that violent video games increase aggression with nearly 37,000 participants. The new research from Italy provides further evidence of that troubling dynamic that indicates they also lead to decreased self-control and increased cheating.

The Italian study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, feature 172 high school students. They were given 10 minutes practice, each played a violent game, Grand Theft Auto 3 or Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, or a non-violent game, Pinball 3D or Mini Golf 3D, for 35 minutes. Participants were told they could snack on a bowl of M&Ms which was placed next to the computer as they played. However, they were also warned that eating too much too quickly is unhealthy. Their level of self-control was measured by noting how much chocolate they consumed.

The meta-study, which was also conducted by researchers, Tobias Greitemever and Dirk Mugge finds strong evidence that violent video games do affect aggressive outcomes.Aggressive behaviour is multi-determined, with violent video game exposure being one source among many others. Thus in the studies view, violent video game play should be regarded as a risk factor for aggressive behaviour.

However, another study playing violent video games can be a way to release stress based on a study by a group of researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for mental health and media. The majority of the young people who participated in the study played violent video games on a daily basis and the study had found that these young people were using violent video games as a coping mechanism for stress and anger.

It is knowledgeable that exposure to repeated game violence may have short-term effects, but in the long run could benefit those with specific mental disorders such as ADHD as it could be used as a calming effect. It is something that needs to be looked in to beyond what the media is telling us and whether or not this is happening young people with a mental disorder.


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