Video Games Linked to Higher Aggression, But Not Violence

Link to actual violence is unclear, and other factors may be at play, APA task force says.
Link to actual violence is unclear, and other factors may be at play, APA task force says.

HealthDay News — There is a link between violent video games and higher levels of aggression in players; however, there isn't enough evidence to prove that playing violent video games raises the risk of criminal behavior or violence, according to a report from the American Psychological Association's (APA) Task Force on Violent Media.

The members of the Task Force reviewed studies published between 2005 and 2013. "The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and heightened aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions, and aggressive affect and reduced prosocial behavior, empathy, and sensitivity to aggression," the report stated.

In an APA news release, Task Force chairman Mark Appelbaum, PhD, said that "scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than two decades, but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence. However, the link between violence in video games and increased aggression in players is one of the most studied and best established in the field."

The APA panel's new report concluded that it's premature to blame video games alone for any rise in a player's tendency to violence.

Based on the new report, the APA is calling on video game makers to design products that provide parents with better control over the amount of violence in the games, and to design games that match players' age and mental development. The APA also called for more research to learn more about the effects of violent video games.

Read the APA's news release on the report here.

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