Whether violent video games cause aggression or violent crime has been a source of contention in public and academic circles.
Are violent video games harmful but Not So Furious Children who observe an adult acting violently tend to follow suit when they are frustrated.
Violent games appear to be effective teachers of aggressive attitudes. Research has failed to show a causal relation between playing violent games and perpetrating violent acts. The fighting that kids engage in with video games is more akin to play than violence. Workers at a movie theater there immediately recognized Lanza from a photograph.
He was at the theater constantly, they told Mudry, but never to see movies.
He came to the lobby to play an arcade game, the same one, over and over again, sometimes for eight to 10 hours a night. Witnesses said he would whip himself into a frenzy, and on occasion the theater manager had to unplug the game to get him to leave.
And like many teenaged boys, Lanza owned the typical first-person shooter, fighting and action games: The title that so consumed the Sandy Hook shooter? Dance Dance Revolution—an arcade staple that has players dance on colored squares to the rhythm of Asian techno-pop.
That discovery not only surprised investigators, it also was at odds with overheated speculation in the media and around dinner tables that violent video games had helped turn Lanza into a killer.
Yet no one knows how any of these games—Dance Dance Revolution included—might have affected a kid who was clearly struggling. The truth is that decades of research have turned up no reliable causal link between playing violent video games and perpetrating actual violence.
This is not to say that games have no effect. The notion dates at least to the Victorian era, when educators, tastemakers and clergymen began criticizing what was then a fairly raucous popular culture.
Author and critic Harold Schechter, whose book Savage Pastimes lays out a social history of violent entertainment, notes that the trend divided the literati of the time. In Catholic scholar John K. In critic and actor John Houseman lodged similar complaints about cartoons on television.
In a study, Bandura and his colleagues gathered 72 preschoolers. Laboratory assistants led the kids, one at a time, into a playroom, where they sat at a small table and received instruction on how to make potato-print pictures.
Soon another adult entered the room and settled into the opposite corner with a Tinkertoy set, a mallet and a five-foot, inflated Bobo clown doll, the kind that rights itself if knocked over. You see where this is going. Faced with the frustration of having nice new toys suddenly snatched away, the preschoolers who had watched Bobo get mistreated were more likely than the others to take out their aggression on the mini Bobo.
The conclusions seemed clear: It was the Columbine High School shootings that got many Americans thinking about violent video games. A judge dismissed the lawsuits, but the post-Columbine uproar led more researchers to begin dissecting games, much as Bandura did for TV, in search of the roots of aggression.
Deciphering the data A few studies tried to draw distinctions between good and bad games. Participants who had played the prosocial game were twice as likely to help pick up the pencils as those who played the neutral or aggressive game.
Others have tried to tease out the aftereffects of playing violent games. Inexperienced players who played Grand Theft Auto were more likely to pick out hygienic products than were experienced players or inexperienced players who had played the driving game.
But neither of those studies make the case that these games lead to real-word violence. Although drawing conclusions about small population subgroups—such as kids at risk of violence—from broad population trends can be dicey, it is still worth noting that as violent video games proliferated in recent years, the number of violent youthful offenders fell—by more than half between andaccording to the U.
This trend is not what you would expect if these games had the power to make good boys go bad. Indeed, in a analysis of game sales from toA. Ward of the University of Texas at Arlington found that higher rates of violent game sales actually coincided with a drop in crimes, especially violent crimes.
They concluded that any negative behavioral effects playing violent games might have are more than offset because violent people are drawn to such games, and the more they play, the less time they have for crime.
Even if violent video games are not turning people into killers, we might still wonder if they are harming our kids in subtler ways.Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do.
Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do is a controversial, opinionated book that discusses the effects of computer gaming on children. There is broad consensus among medical associations, pediatricians, parents, and researchers that violent video games increase aggressive behavior.
 A study published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture found that 90% of pediatricians and 67% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that violent video games can increase aggressive behavior among children.
Americans have long been drawn to the idea that violent movies or video games can provoke actual delinquency or serious crime. In , the Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura performed an experiment in which one group of preschoolers watched films and cartoons of adults beating “Bobo,” a .
They witnessed a violent struggle between police and protesters. The peaceful protest suddenly turned violent.
The city has experienced an increase in violent crime in the past year. The final scene was extremely violent. She suffered a violent death in a car accident. The patient suddenly became violent and had to be restrained. He's not a particularly violent person. Studies support a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior.
Researchers have reported experimental evidence linking violent video games to more aggressive behavior, particularly as it relates to children who are at more sensitive stages in their socialization.
Dec 02, · Research finds that children who play violent video games or watch violent TV can become violent themselves, but what drives this change? Are they kids simply mimicking what they see on the screen, or could gaming have a more profound effect on their brains, affecting behavior?