New Studies Confirm Games Do Not Cause Violent Behaviour In Youth

By Colin Tan on January 3, 2012, 9:03PM EDT

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently released a report discussing the link between violent behaviour in minors and violent video games, suggesting that there is no conclusive evidence to suggest otherwise.

"Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively," noted the US Supreme Court in its ruling of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association/ESA.

Two of the latest studies now confirm that there is no causal link between violent video games and violence in real life. In a published study by Professor Christopher Ferguson and his colleagues at Texas A&M International university, researchers found "no long-term link between violent video games and youth aggression or dating violence."

The study was performed with 165 youth between the age of 10 and 14 over a three-year period. Ferguson's team utilized a number of measurement tools, including exposure to violent video games, antisocial personality traits, domestic violence, mental health and delinquent peers; finding that , the latter traits were "the best predictors of aggression," while the former was not.

The second study comes from the Swedish Media Council who, post reviewing more than a hundred scholarly articles published in the last 11 years, found a lack of conclusive evidence to prove that violent video games causes real-life violence in youth. Their report added that many of these studies "suffered from significant methodological shortcomings," as a large number only assessed its participants' playing and aggression levels at a single point in time, as well as "vague" measurement of aggression through thoughts and feelings rather than physical aggression.

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