Feeds

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

Giant enemy crabby kids

Top three mobile application threats

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 the causation/correlation problem of whether violent video games make kids more aggressive, or if aggressive kids simply prefer violent games.

The research indicates children and teens who spend more time playing violent video games become more aggressive than peers with less exposure — even when accounting for how aggressive they were at the beginning of the study.

The research - conducted by Craig Anderson and colleagues at Iowa State University in Ames - was published in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Data was obtained from three long-term studies of children aged 9-18 from the US and Japan. They consisted of 181 Japanese students ages 12-15; 1,050 Japanese students ages 13-18; and 364 US kids ages 9-12.

Anderson said he began his collaboration with Japanese researchers on the project to compare how cultural differences may affect the connection.

"The culture is so different and their overall violence rate is so much lower than in the US," Anderson said. "The argument has been made – it's not a very good argument, but it's been made by the video game industry — that all our research on violent video game effects must be wrong because Japanese kids play a lot of violent video games and Japan has a low violence rate."

The studies themselves differed in method and timeframe the children were watched, reports CNN. The US children listed their three favorite video games and how often they played them. With the younger Japanese group, researchers looked at how often the kids played five different genres of games. And the older Japanese group gauged the violence in their favorite game genres and how often they played them.

But for every group, the researchers claim, children with more exposure to violent video games became more aggressive over time than their peers who had less exposure.

"It is important to realize that violent video games do not create school shooters," ISU professor Douglas Gentile said. "They create opportunities to be vigilant for enemies, to practice aggressive ways of responding to conflict and to see aggression as acceptable. In practical terms, that means that when bumped in the hallway, children begin to see it as hostile and react more aggressively in response to it. Violent games are certainly not the only thing that can increase children's aggression, but these studies show that they are one part of the puzzle in both America and Japan."

On the flip side of the coin, other studies could find no link between video game violence and physical violence. There was even a study last May that suggested video games actually lowered aggression levels.

This helps affirm El Reg's hypothesis that video game studies have a direct link to finding whatever the researcher wants to find. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.