Do Video Games REALLY Lead to Violence?

A new study as reported by The New York Times today has found that, though "playing the games can and does stir hostile urges and mildly aggressive behaviors" the good news -- I think -- is that it's not totally clear if that is the case.  It's quite possible that those who like to play violent video games self-select themselves.

In other words, as The Times noted, young people who tend towards violent tendencies just might be the ones most likely to play the bloodiest games.  A psychologist quoted in the story, however, said that the violent behavior of people like Adam Lanza, the Newtown murderer, could only partly be attributed to video games.

“None of these extreme acts, like a school shooting, occurs because of only one risk factor; there are many factors, including feeling socially isolated, being bullied, and so on,” Craig A. Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University, told The Times.

A statistic I found very revealing was that "the proliferation of violent games has not (my ital) coincided with spikes in youth violence." In fact, “We found that higher rates of violent video game sales related to a decrease in crimes, and especially violent crimes,” said Dr. Michael R. Ward, an economist at the University of Texas, Arlington, who, along with two colleagues,examined week-by-week sales data for violent video games, across a wide range of communities, according to the story in The Times.


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