Email Whenever there is a mass shooting in the United States, it doesn't take long before pundits suggests violent video games might be to blame. But a new report from the American Psychological Association APA found there is insufficient research to support that link.
Olson suggests that the deliberately outrageous nature of violent games, though disturbing, makes them easily discernible from real life and suggests that the interactivity could potentially make such games less harmful.
She raises the question of how these two behaviors can be linked if youth violence has declined over the last several years while violent video game playing has increased significantly during the same period. This analysis ignores the fact that such variation may be explained by factors other than the link between the two.
A spurious variable—a third variable that explains the relationship between two other variables—may explain the negative correlation of video game playing and violent behavior.
As one example, socioeconomic status may explain both a decline in violent behavior and an increase in video game playing. More affluent youth have the means and time to buy and play video games, which keeps them safely inside while avoiding potentially violent interactions on the street.
Olsen also cites several studies that have failed to show a connection between violent video game playing and violent behavior among youth. This conclusion, however, may not be as clear cut as it appears. Youth violence remains a significant public health issue The decline of youth violence notwithstanding, it remains a significant public health issue that requires attention.
Youth homicide remains the number one cause of death for African-American youth between 14 and 24 years old, and the number two cause for all children in this age group. Furthermore, the proportion of youth admitting to having committed various violent acts within the previous 12 months has remained steady or even increased somewhat in recent years http: Although the Columbine tragedy and others like it make the headlines, youth are killed everyday by the hands of another.
A more critical analysis of the link between video game playing and violence is necessary for fully understanding a complex problem like youth violent behavior that has many causes and correlates.
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.
These effects have been found to be particularly profound in the case of child-initiated virtual violence. In one study, 9- to year olds and college students were randomly assigned to play either a violent or nonviolent video game. The participants subsequently played another computer game in which they set punishment levels to be delivered to another person participating in the study they were not actually administered.
The authors reported three main findings: The second study was a cross-sectional correlational study of media habits, aggression-related individual difference variables, and aggressive behaviors of an adolescent population. After statistically controlling for sex, total screen time and aggressive beliefs and attitudes, the authors found that playing violent video games predicted heightened physically aggressive behavior and violent behavior in the real world in a long-term context.
In a third study, Anderson et al. Surveys were given to third, fourth, and fifth graders, their peers, and their teachers at two times during a school year. The survey assessed both media habits and their attitudes about violence. Results indicated that children who played more violent video games early in a school year changed to see the world in a more aggressive way and also changed to become more verbally and physically aggressive later in the school year.
Changes in attitude were noticed by both peers and teachers. Bushman and Huesmann, in a Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine articleexamined effect size estimates using meta-analysis to look at the short- and long-term effects of violent media on aggression in children and adults.
They reported a positive relationship between exposure to media violence and subsequent aggressive behavior, aggressive ideas, arousal, and anger across the studies they examined. Consistent with the theory that long-term effects require the learning of beliefs and that young minds can easier encode new scripts via observational learning, they found that the long-term effects were greater for children.
In a more recent review, Anderson et al.
These included experimental laboratory work, cross-sectional surveys and longitudinal studies. Overall, they found consistent associations between playing violent video games and many measures of aggression, including self, teacher and parent reports of aggressive behavior.
Violent video games may increase precursors to violent behavior, such as bullying Although playing violent video games may not necessarily determine violent or aggressive behavior, it may increase precursors to violent behavior. Olson points out that violent video games may be related to bullying, which researchers have found to be a risk factor for more serious violent behavior.
Therefore, video game playing may have an indirect effect on violent behavior by increasing risk factors for it.
Doug Gentile notes that the only way for violent video games to affect serious criminal violence statistics is if they were the primary predictor of crime, which they may not be. Rather, they represent one risk factor among many for aggression http: Should video games be regulated?
Rowell Huesmann points out that violent video game playing may be similar to other public health threats such as exposure to cigarette smoke and led based paint. Despite not being guaranteed, the probability of lung cancer from smoking or intelligence deficits from lead exposure is increased.
Nevertheless, we have laws controlling cigarette sales to minors and the use of lead-based paint and other lead-based products such as gasoline because it is a risk factor for negative health outcomes.
Huesmann argues the same analysis could be applied to video game exposure. Although exposure to violent video games is not the sole factor contributing to aggression and violence among children and adolescents, it is a contributing risk factor that is modifiable.Apr 30, · Criminologist Believes Violent Behavior Is Biological In a new book, The Anatomy of Violence, Adrian Raine argues that violent behavior has a biological basis just like depression or schizophrenia.
By: Roanna Cooper, MA and Marc Zimmerman, PhD, MI-YVPC Director An op-ed article appeared recently in the The New York Times discussing the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down California’s law barring the sale or rental of violent video games to people under The author, Dr.
Cheryl Olson, describes how the proposed law was based . A listing of psychological research being conducted online. This is Your Child's Brain on Video Games Video games leave kids revved up, stressed out, and primed for a meltdown.
Posted Sep 25, A fictional character who is insane (in the psychotic, out of touch with reality way) is usually also violent. Thus, in typical TV-land logic, if you become psychotic, you must also become violent.
One of the best statistical tests out there, in my opinion, is the correlation. Correlation is a mutual relationship between two variables. This means that when one variable goes up.