Ever since the invention of the video game, the controversy a possible
link between violent video games and real-life violent behavior has been
raging. With every news report of a mass shooting or act of violence,
particularly by the young, the debate rekindles. Do these games teach
our children to become violent toward others? Let’s step back from
the emotional factors for a moment and look at the actual science behind
Can Violent Video Games Breed Aggression?
Psychology Today cites two separate
studies on children and adults, allowing different test groups to play non-violent
and violent games, respectively. These studies conclude that that extended
exposure to violence in video games can cause an increase in aggressive
behavior. A more recent report by the
American Psychological Association confirms these findings, but it also stops short of linking games to acts
of violence or harm: “All violence, including lethal violence, is
aggression, but not all aggression is violence,” the report says.
Can Violent Video Games Cause Children to Do Harm?
This idea is still unproven. Critics of violent games frequently cite Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza as
an example because of his known gaming obsession. However,
this article in Scientific American points out that the game Lanza played most in the days preceding the attack was
Dance Dance Revolution at a local movie theater, not any of the violent games in his collection.
The article uses this example to underscore a point: Despite the proven
links to increased aggressive behavior, these studies have yielded
no hard evidence that violent games actually lead the players toward violent acts or crimes.
Our takeaway: While we can’t conclusively link violent video games
with real-life violence, we
can link them to increased aggression in children, which can certainly lead
to unintended consequences. Additionally, we’ve not yet explored
whether the games can cause harm or injury to our children themselves.
We’ll discuss this idea in
If someone you love has been victimized by violence, our
Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys can help. Call our office for more information.