The Association between Real-World Aggression and Violent Video Games

By: Justin Russo

My Adaptation

Villanova University’s Patrick Markey

Christopher Ferguson Stetson University in Florida

Start 4 Minutes In  Podcast

Contrary to popular belief, the correlation between violent video games and aggression/crime among the youth of America is non-existent. As video games develop and become more innovative, researchers and psychologists are more frequently studying the relationship between aggression and violent video games on the youth of America. Many studies have been done by using anywhere from a small focus group to over 1,500 people and still no direct relationship has been proved. The event that kick-started this entire field of study was the Columbine shootings in 1999. The shooters were avid video game players, especially in first-person shooters. However, The juvenile arrest rate for all offenses reached its highest level in the last two decades in 1996, and then declined 54% by 2011, and continues to decrease at a linear rate.

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Crime Rate from 1980-2012

US Department of Justice

Another idea that was brought across many studies was the whether or not television violence created more of an effect than video game violence. Upon my findings, I have discovered that not only is this untrue, they both have equal effects on their users or viewers, which is basically no effect. A study done by Ryan Hall of the University of Central Florida states:

“I don’t think we have enough science to suggest that playing video games causes violence in children any more than watching violence on TV,” referencing a vast body of scientific literature that has failed to find any strong connection between violent television and corresponding behavior. “There is no indication at this time that violent video games are training killers.”

Hall goes on to explain how because in popular culture we are exposed to more violence in games and television, we immediately assume that it the cause of any acts of violence among teenagers is. This idea is not only a scapegoat, but an open and active gateway to place the blame when we do not understand why something happened. People need to point fingers and put blame somewhere, it is just how we are as humans and in our human nature, and we have found to blame the video game aspect of our culture for one of the reasons behind real-world violence.

violent-video-gamesfigure1

Patrick Markey of Villanova University found extremely unexpected results when he tested the theory to discover if there is a positive correlation. He used popular game release dates and backed that against teenage crime following the release of the most popular and consistently played games. No evidence was found that could suggest that playing the games caused more crime. In fact, his study showed that there was actually less total crime and a substantial decrease in violent crimes. The results of this was not foreseen and he cautions the average person about generalizing society based on one person’s or a news network’s perspective of why a youth crime occurred.

For parents trying to protect their children, this becomes a moral dilemma. If they turn to science, they will find that there is no direct relationship and it will not affect their child. However, whether or not a parent wants their child to play these types of games day-in and day-out is up to them. Too much of anything is not good and that includes violent video games. The average person or young adult would not be affected by these games.

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