by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 18th 2008 12:01pm
Time and time again we see headlines blaring out about how dangerous violent video games are, with politicians insisting they need to do something to "protect the children." However, every time you look closely at the research, you discover there's no real evidence that violent video games lead to violent behavior. At best, the research appears to show that violent video games makes kids emotional and excited (which... er... is what they're supposed to do) and that might lead to very slightly more aggressive behavior for a very short time. And, of course, the most damning evidence against the claim that violent video games leads to more violence is that violent crimes keep dropping as violent video games get more popular. Video gaming site Kotaku is highlighting a video interview of two Harvard professors who have written a book called Grand Theft Childhood that reviews plenty of the previously done research, as well as contributes additional research. Most of their findings support exactly what we've noticed. The previous studies don't really show an impact. But, the most interesting point is made towards the end of the video interview. In looking at boys who are more "at risk" of getting into trouble, it's the ones who don't play video games at all who show a statistically significant greater likelihood of getting into trouble, suggesting that playing video games is part of a boy's normal social setting. To be fair, the study also found that kids who played almost exclusively violent or mature video games for very long periods of time were also more at risk -- though, with no evidence of causality.
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