Video games, youth violence and crime

This study “A longitudinal study of the association between violent video game play and aggression among adolescents.” by Willoughby, Adachi, & Good, (Dev Psychol. 2012 Jul;48(4):1044-57) was today hot topic at Facebook. I am skeptical about simplistic claims (causally) linking violent video games to aggression and violent behavior and did quick search on other related statics. I found today a page

The data in that site seems to indicate that there are no link between game sales (I assume that violent video game sales follows same trend that video game sales) and violen crimes, youth violence, and bullying (see figures 13–17).

But what is worrying in these figures are in comparing problem behavior between the players of M-rated games to those who do not play M-rated games. The M-rated game players have statistically higher rates of problem behavior in various areas such as being in fight and stealing (see table 21). However, the amount of students reported to being in fight has not changed much (see figure 20).

I am not sure what make out of this. But here are couple toughs:

  • Kids who play M-rated games are prone to take more risks than those who do not play.
  • Violent games are played more by those that are prone to aggressive behavior.

Published by lankoski

Petri Lankoski, D.Arts, is a Associate Professor in Game Studies at the school of Communication, Media and IT at the Södertörn University, Sweden. His research focuses on game design, game characters, role-playing, and playing experience. Petri has been concentrating on single-player video games but researched also (multi-player) pnp and live-action role-playing games. This blog focuses on his research on games and related things.

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