Do video games really cause violence in real life? That’s a big question that is asked for many years. And the kids are restricted to play games because of that. Now let’s find out if it’s true
A new meta-analysis of existing studies has found that there is no meaningful link between video games and real-world violence.
The study, led by a Massey University researcher, combined the results of 28 studies containing a total of around 21,000 participants in this research.
While violent video games are often used as a scapegoat by certain politicians and broadcasters following tragedies, science doesn’t back up their claim that games can create violence in the real-world.
“After conducting a meta-analysis on the available research, we find that playing violent video games does not appear to meaningfully increase the aggressiveness of players over time”, says the study’s lead author, Dr. Aaron Drummond.
“There is a long-standing debate in the scientific literature about whether violent video games increase aggression. We found an extremely small effect of violent game play on aggression, which in our view is too small to be practically meaningful”.
Dr. Drummond, who is a senior lecturer at Massey University’s School of Psychology, also identified problems with some of the studies examined in the research.
“We call for greater use of pre-registration practices in future work on violent video games to help reduce researcher subjectivity and increase the quality of research in this area”.
Victoria University of Wellington lecturer Dr. Simon McCallum adds that discussions around video games and violence are generally “motivated by fear rather than facts”.
“The [study supports] the long-standing understanding of most people working in the game industry that the violence in games does not have long-term negative effects”, says Dr. McCallum.
“Youth violence has decreased as game playing has increased. Large groups of computer game players spend time with each other without any violence, whereas over the weekend, schoolboys were stood down for having a punch-up after a rugby game. This sort of violence is extremely rare at computer gaming events”.
Dr. McCallum also calls out problems with previous studies on games causing violence.
“Much of the existing research has methodological flaws and often seems to be trying to justify an existing belief rather than reporting data. The study covers a wide range of research and does an excellent job of digging into each article to find potential bias”.