back to article Violent video games <coin flip> ARE linked to child aggression

Studies connecting video games with real world violence have historically been... conflicting. It's almost as if the human brain is complex and doesn't dictate behavior based entirely on one particular stimulus. Or something. The most recent finding out there leans towards a direct connection. But it also attempts to avoid …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Andy Bright

    I knew it..

    But let me be the first to say, that although video games turn you into a mass murdering psychotic, they also make your dick grow bigger. So win some, lose some.

  2. mh.
    Paris Hilton


    Could it be that people with violent tendencies are attracted to computer games?

    Whether or not games do cause violence, there's also the point that an hour spent in front of GTA IV is an hour not spent doing something violent in real life, unless you decide to torment the cat while you're playing. Maybe a certain socialite could do with venting her frustration by playing a few games instead of throwing mobile phones at hotel receptionists.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I've said it before

    And I'll say it again. Figures don't lie, but liars figure. As is proven once again by this study. The problem with most studies like this is they either lack completeness or the researchers aren't out for research but to prove their pre-determined answer. Hell if I decided to prove drinking Evian water will cause cancer or having a Sony alarm clock in your house makes you violent and prone to diarrhea I could conduct a study that would "prove" as much.

    Heyyy not a bad idea, where do I sign up for some fat gubment grant money to fund my insightful studies.

  4. Adrian Esdaile

    Readest thou of the Good Book, sinners!

    Kids these days!

    In my day, we didn't have video games, we just had Nintendo Game & Watches; and look what they did to us - made us go and catch things, steal gold from octopi, and jump on turtles backs! I'm surprised most of us made it to adulthood!

    Kids should be made to just read the Holy Bible instead, full of good wholesome stories, with nary a tale of rape, mass-murder of children, torture, pillage, dismemberment, cutting off people's ears, nailing live humans to trees, live humans placed in furnaces, injust wars fought over petty doctrine, cities burning to the ground, millions killed in giant floods, four evil horsemen riding out as harbringers of apocalypse...

    um, no... wait, hang on....

  5. Frumious Bandersnatch

    I can attest ...

    that many hours playing Tales of the Arabian Nights on my C64 has carved out a small measure of fondness for Rimsky-Korsakov I might never otherwise have had... same with Manic Miner and Scott Joplin. Never wanted to be a fighter pilot, though.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    when will people learn its not bad video its bad parenting thats the issue.

    i have kids who have seen al lsorts of horror and play gta4 but still are good kids and good young people and the eldest have jobs!

    the only ones who cant separate gore from life are ones deserving of Darwin awards.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Blame everyone and everything

    Except the parents and their (lack of) parenting skills.

  8. Lupus

    Your email address is never published

    The only thing I can ever say in reply to these kinds of things is; despite the masses of violent games I've played, I'm still yet to knifecrime anybody.

  9. Long Fei


    I'd like to know their definition of 'aggressive behaviour' and how they actual measured it. (in RL). Did they follow them around for days and tick a box everytime they shouted or raised a fist or something?

    RL Aggression, I would have thought, is not easily measurable.

    Where's the general question mark icon??

  10. stranger on the road

    another way to read it

    "The research indicates children and teens who spend more time playing violent video games become more aggressive than peers with less exposure"

    I read that as, children who go out more are better at dealing with others then those who are in doors living a _virtual_ life that route around them and that in this virtual life they are the untouchable.

    the study is not complete, other factors should have been taken into consideration. I know a number of violent people, none of which can use his mobile phone probably let alone play a game, heck, they actually hate being in doors. Why not include them into this study?

  11. jake Silver badge

    I think it was George Carlin who said ...

    "Does watching too many sitcoms cause random acts of comedy?"

    Or words to that effect.


  12. David Wilkinson

    Here is the magic formula....

    Take a whole bunch of studies about anything... then quietly ignore all the ones that disagree with what you want while loudly promoting the ones that push your agenda.

    Better yet take a clue from the drug companies and fund all the studies yourself. Cherry pick the ones that make your product look good, bury the ones that don't. Also only give future funding to outfits that give you the results you want.

  13. Tony Paulazzo
    Gates Halo

    I intensely dislike Title

    You watch governments murder thousands of enemies, you watch the police use force to maintain order, you watch your teacher use aggression to control a bunch of peers and then you go home and your parents yell at you so you go to repeat the same on your console where you've got the boot and are in control.

    It's a hierarchy of violence with the young fairly near the bottom of the pecking order (only junkies and prostitutes are lower).

    > = more power than:

    Government > military > justice system > cult of celebrity > police > moral majority > proles > children > scum...

    A society predicated on the aggressive advancement of ones own position in the hierarchy is going to create a violent subculture and aggressive fantasy worlds - how many computer games are actually non violent? Better to ban governments - or scientists who can't tell children are just copying the actions of their elders.

    St Bill, just to piss off the linux and apple fans.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "unless you decide to torment the cat while you're playing"

    funniest thing i've read this morning. i can just picture them now, some kid playing GTA, cat taped to the floor next to him, getting smacked round the head with the controller every time the kid fails a mission or writes off his shiny new car.

    probably shouldn't be putting ideas in peoples heads though eh.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    When I was a lad I started my very own all-powerful totalitarian regime in which my classmates cowered beneath both the constant surveillance and the constant merciless beatings as they were prepared for a life of having their pathetic, whimpering faces stomped by the almighty iron bootheel of oppression...

    Books 'ey! Kids are so impressionable...

  16. James

    Lazy parenting again

    Ah, cant be bothered to bring your kids up properly? Blame something else?

    my parents taught me common effing sense, and how to tell right from wrong (on a basic level, no ethic debates please =P) meaning i can play GTA4, Postal 2, manhunt etc without going "HUR HUR I CAN STEAL CARS N SHIT YO" and getting killed

  17. Martin Lyne


    News just in:

    Kids driving cars are dangerous!

    Don't let kids drive cars.

    Don't let kids play violent games.

    Don't let kids watch prawn.

    Don't let idiots be parents.

  18. P. Lee
    Thumb Up

    At last, a sensible article!

    Standard rants above notwithstanding.

    Whaduyaknow - if you repeatedly act out in aggressive behaviour you tend to become naturally more aggressive over time, whether or not a mini-gun is to hand.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds fair enough to me

    Just because you like violent video games doesn't mean your not a potential homicidal manic in the raw.

    You might not like it, but its true.

  20. AC

    what a load of complete and a utter bollocks

    They tested games on 9-18 year olds. I wouldn't have thought your average 9 year old rated game is that violent. Perhaps the researchers forgot that the violent games come with 18 ratings and perhaps testing them on 9 year olds was pretty stupid?

    Gotta be some sort of massive fail of a parent to get GTA for your 9 year old

  21. Steve Ives
    Thumb Down

    Flawed test.

    "And the older Japanese group gauged the violence in their favorite game genres and how often they played them"

    So the group being studied defines how violent the game is and how long they played for? So after a 10 hour GTA session, they say "I only played for a couple of hours and it wasn't that violent"

    People who produce 'facts' such as in this report have already made up their minds.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    The evils of bread. . . . .

    90% of all serial murders are commited after the murder has eaten a breakfast containing bread.

    Ban bread, clearly its more evil than computer games. Statistics never lie.

  23. Sooty

    wobbly statistics - at best

    video games are clearly labelled with an age rating suggesting that kids shouldn't be playing them.

    perhaps the link is there but in a slightly different form.

    allowing kids to play violent video games is bad parenting.

    bad parenting causes children to become violent - voila!

    i can back this up with other meaningless relationships too. the majority of kids who wander around the streets setting fire to drunken tramps, the ones who mug people for drug money, the ones who are too smashed off their face on 20:20 to know what they are doing. don't play that many video games. The one thing they do all have in common though are parents who couldn't give a toss about what their kids are actually doing.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Science lesson?

    So to compare cultural differences, they decided to compare the Japanese results using the following:

    Kids in America - good start, different culture!

    Ok, that's where the differences should stop for a proper comparison... but they change more variables...

    Different age group - cause that's not going to produce difference results!

    Different timeframe - could maybe argue the case for this one if it was a longer timeframe to reduce random variations.

    Different methodology - why? why? why?

    So the experiment is pointless. The results are pointless. This is not newsworthy!

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Oh for f***'s sake.

    Why do we have to suffer all the usual predictable sarcastic responses?

    Why is it so hard to accept the possibility that the study could be correct? I'm not asking you to agree with it -- you can accept the possibility while still asserting your belief that it is not.

    These studies are carried out by people with considerably more intellect than your average internet commentard. Go and read the bloody research before shooting your hamburger-chomping, Coca-Cola-swilling mouths off, OK?

  26. Phil Standen

    What am I doing wrong?

    Despite playing days of Tiger Woods 09 my handicap is still not improving when I get out on the course.

    I still can't Turbo slide my car.

    Ducking, leaning forward and stepping forward followed by a medium punch has yet to cut down on the time taken to light the BBQ.

    DARPA probably ARE conducting research into shooting the floor whilst jumping though.

  27. AndyC


    From what I can remember (it was a while ago) something like 85% of all games released are NOT rated 18/M, but the ones that tend to be the "Big" games - think your GTA's - well, they just get the media scaremongering treatment and hence all games must be aimed at kids and 18, it's just a sick sick world...

    Now as soon as I get out of work, I'm off start a war with the stunties or maybe save the world from supermutants... May even go and Bully some kids as not done that for a hellova long time... Heck, may even go and carry on with my garden, still missing a few species of candy filled animals

  28. Sceptical Bastard

    Video games...linked to aggression?

    <clickety click ... powwww!>



  29. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Re:when will people learn

    It is not people who need to learn that, it is the makers of these stupid surveys.

    The comments here and elsewhere on such subjects often outline the parenting issues, but next to no study has even made a passing mention of how the children they study are brought up. It is not part of the survey, so it cannot be made part of the conclusion.

    So I will eventually accept that a child without any parental supervision will eventually be more subject to confuse what he plays with with the reality around him. After all, I've known some adults who have certainly majored in denial of reality, so what can you expect from a child who has but a tenuous grasp on the subject ?

    That said, a child whose parents demonstrate every day how to behave, who pay attention to what is said and call the child on the less nice things that he/she does while praising him/her (moderately) for the good things he/she does, who show care and affection and only resort to physical violence when nothing else has worked (confrontation, discussion, a bit of yelling maybe), in short, parents who take their responsibilities as parents, well, I adamantly refuse to imagine for one second that a child brought up in such an environment will nonetheless become a psychotic killer because of the influence of some video game.


    Of course, parenting like that is a full-time job. It's demanding, it can be quite tiring and, to top it all off, there's no guarantee of success. There is no greater potential reward, though.

  30. radian
    Paris Hilton

    CoD 8 - An Unpleasant Scuffle

    I suppose the next Call of Duty will have weapons such as the dreaded pea-shooter or a balloon on a stick. Get 8 Chinese burns in a row and you can activate a super weapon whereby everyone has to sit down for a nice cup of tea and a slice of toast.

    Are you still aloud to use the term 'Chinese burn' or is it deemed to be racist?

    I can't keep up with all this politically correct BS.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 4th November 2008 09:02 GMT

    Sounds like nice work but is nothing compared to my classmates who in grade 9 plotted out a detailed scheme for a tank war that supposedly would end up with them in control of 85% of the continent. They were most serious about it, which was a wee bit disturbing.

  32. radian
    Paris Hilton


    Oh no, I meant to type 'allowed', not 'aloud'.

    How embarrassing.

    Paris: Because she wouldn't know the difference.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    But the reverse is also true

    I have killed a keyboard in utter frustration whilst playing a racing simulator - the keyboard took it because it's £45 cheaper than the steering wheel - felt damned good too :o). ToCA3 isn't a violent game, but it resulted in an aggressive outburst.

    Equally, of all the time I've spent typing in word, I've never learned to improve my grammar, of all the time spent playing FPS's I have never actually shot anyone, of all the time I've spent play GTA (3, V1ce and sanAn) I've never once stolen a car or stabbed a drug dealer or killed a policeman.

    Monkey see - monkey do? - Bullshit.

  34. Alan Fisher

    I just want to add my 2c

    It's the parents, it is that simple...

    when you see 17 year olds with hair so tight her forehead is in danger of splitting and him in trakkie and baseball cap smoking, drinking and effing and blinding at Brittany, Shaniqua and Elvis (haha) what fine example are these children going to follow??

    it's the parents, no-one else, if they can't accept responsibility they shouldn't have children.

    *disclaimer; not all you parents are bad but some, in fact one heck of a lot, of them are

  35. iain

    To all the people who haven't knifed anyone

    Here's a standard comment for an article on game violence linked to violent real life behaviour:

    "I play plenty of violent games but I've never knifed anyone. My parents taught me how to differentiate between reality and fantasy."

    That's good to hear, but it doesn't actually invalidate what this study has said. It didn't say it playing violent games made players attack other people physically or copy the _exact_ behaviour in the game. It said that repeated exposure to violent games makes players more aggressive. Aggression is not simply knifing people or shooting them or stealing cars, it can manifest in several ways - more swearing, shouting, being nasty with words, etc etc.

    If you're going to try and refute something it is best to stick to the actual point made, is my point.

  36. Thomas

    A worrying trend for the future

    I really hope the Yoof of Taday (tm) doesn't get influenced by Fallout 3 otherwise they'll be running around setting off nuclear warheads at the behest of anyone in a dodgy business suit.

    Any chance of a mushroom cloud icon?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Duck for cover!

    Someone has suggested that video games might promote violence, this can only lead to a comments page full of death threat's from video gamers who disagree.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Parenting skills

    Sorry but that's BS. You can instantly tell the non-parents when they twattle on about "parenting skills" being the cause for anything a child ever does wrong. There should be a variant of Godwin's Law for this situation.

    The idea that parents shape their kids more than a nominal amount has been disproven quite extensively. Steven Pinker offers a great introduction to this subject in "The Blank Slate", for those of you who can handle books. Or, if you want direct proof, have kids.

    Say what you like about the research; any genuine research is going to be less knee-jerk than the BS from people who simply can't bring themselves to believe that TV/movies/video games could *possibly* have a behavioural effect on children.

  39. Michael Chester


    Why would anyone choose real life violence after playing video games? the graphics are awful, the AI is rubbish, and there's no realism to the weapons! You dont even run faster with the knife ffs!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sarcasm: highest form of wit.

    "Why is it so hard to accept the possibility that the study could be correct?"

    Because we have been told the methodology employed and the basis on which the study's conclusions were based and find them ... lacking. It's arrant tosh, looking for a grant. No causality is proven, and no real comparisons can be drawn.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is bad food

    not video games, it is the diet of people in the west that leads to aggression.

    The food is so heavily processed, and of poor quality being shipped halfway around the world, it is a joke.

    See the west's standard of living is terrible, it is just razamataz ribbon tied turds, there is no real quality for the majority, just illusion.

    Which is odd as we are in the most arable area of the world, and indigenous in UK is not a huge population, we should have lots of space and a great agricultural based economy, instead the powers that be decided we should be a bunch of banker wankers, bit of a cock up the derriere there.

  42. Psmiffy

    Re: Pascal Monett

    Well said that man!

  43. Arno van Wouwe

    @Adrian Esdaile

    "In my day, we didn't have video games, we just had Nintendo Game & Watches; and look what they did to us - made us go and catch things, steal gold from octopi, and jump on turtles backs! I'm surprised most of us made it to adulthood!"

    .. hum. I believe there's a t-shirt somewhere saying something like :

    "Of course video games haven't influenced society. If they did, we'd spend all our time

    sitting in the dark listening to repetitive music and munching pills."

  44. Anonymous Coward

    @Thomas-Any chance of a mushroom cloud icon?

    Erm, NO; but we can treat you like a mushroom. Will that do?

    @Andy Bright - they also make your dick grow bigger. Maybe, but your testicle shink to nothing and your testosterone levels drop to zero and the dom makes you wear a cage over it anyway.

  45. Alan Fisher

    @AC 4th November 13:00

    Parents are the only ones who can, from an early age instill the values of Right and Wrong in their offspring.

    Let's do another study shall we?

    How many children when exposed to violent parenting (physical, verbal or neglectful) go on to commit crime and acts of violence? I have seen (and am related to exceptions but they had a family mentor who did it for them instead). At this formative time children learn right from wrong by imitation of those around them so if it's ok for Mum and Dad, it's ok for them. I'm sick of people delegating responsibility and blaming anyone but themselves. My dog's an ass and an attention whore; my fault entirely I trained him badly; simple.

    I've read books and have an example for you. At 12-13 I was, for reasons of Dyspraxia and hanging out with the wrong crowd, a nightmare. I was punished and threatened with expulsion but, while annoying this didn't stop me. My parents reaction did. Not Dad who did what dads do and got angry. My Mum almost gave up and got very upset. This stopped me dead and I changed. Why? Because I respected my parents and the consequences of my actions in causing that upset to mother made me WANT to change, so I did. If kids can't respect their parents then they cannot respect anyone. They respect no-one and they do what they like and hang the consequences.

    So the parents are to blame, whether they like it or not. oh and AC, whether I am a parent or not is irrelvent and something i shall keep (haha) mum about (though I'm not a woman, obviously).

    It's all about punishment (not necessarily physical) and consequences. Accountability and responsibility. Look at it this way, if my dog was terrorising the neighbours, he'd be taken away and I'd be accountable for his behaviour. I'm not advocating taking kids away (no no no) but the parents MUST be made accountable. We'll see how things change then shall we?

  46. Lupus
    Thumb Up

    FAO iain

    In which case, yes, I'm a bloody angry person.

  47. Cheshire Cat

    Well that proves it then

    When I were a lad, everyone played Pac-man all the time.

    Now, you don't see people my age hanging around in dark rooms, listening to repetitive music and eating pills all the time, do you?

  48. Tony Paulazzo


    >...of all the time spent playing FPS's I have never actually shot anyone, of all the time I've spent play GTA (3, V1ce and sanAn) I've never once stolen a car or stabbed a drug dealer or killed a policeman.<

    Then you're playing them wrong - sorry, couldn't help myself. /jk

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like