Thursday, November 18, 2004

Violent Video Games

So Shelly sends me a link to a great site, which leads me to a great article, which led me to notice one particular paragraph.

"Some psychological studies have highlighted the 'addictive' nature of computer games and suggested that they could potentially exacerbate aggressive or anti-social behaviour. However other research claims the reverse - that computer games are a safe outlet for aggression and pent-up emotions."

This can be seen quite clearly by examining the DOJ website that tracks violent crime rates. You can see that children and young teens all over America had a lot of pent up frustrations (probably from trying to rescue that princess in Super Mario Brother I, II, and III). Mortal Kombat was released and violent crime has been declining ever since, thanks to such stress relievers as GTA and the Doom series.

So remember this holiday season to make sure there are at least a few extremely violent video games under that tree. It all comes back for the good of society.

On the serious side, the research done by Alice Mitchell and Carol Savill-Smith does look interesting, and is available for free. I've requested a copy, and if it comes electronically, I can send it out to anybody interested.


Gulfidan Can said...

Hello again. Actually I read lots of studies about that. But here are my literature review that I did in 2003. It may be useful. Hope you can get some idea regardless of my broken-english :)


Violence and aggression considerations are generally perceived as relevant with the computer games, however their effects are not definite yet (Funk, Hagan & Schimming, 1999). It was stated that today’s computer games mostly have features of aggression (Provenzo, 1992; Dietz, 1998; Anderson & Bushman, 2001) and the most popular games have violent context (Bartholow & Anderson, 2002).

According to current research studies, violence features of some computer games have a crucial influence upon the children’s life. It was found that after experiencing violent games, younger children become more aggressive (Anderson & Bushman, 2001, 2002;
Anderson 2002, Bartholow & Anderson, 2002; Chory-Assad, 2000) and this result is independent from gender (Anderson & Bushman, 2001; Bartholow & Anderson, 2002). However more aggression levels were detected from boys than girls (Bartholow & Anderson, 2002; Durkin & Barber, 2002). Chory-Assad (2000) found that for college
students’ gender is one of the primary predictors of aggressive behaviors aside from the time spent with violent video games that has less effect. Even though the ratings are not significantly high, players who spent more time with games have the highest scores on the aggression (Durkin & Barber, 2002; Colwell & Payne, 2000; Anderson & Dill, 2000).

In the meta-analysis of 46 studies with three different types examined by Anderson and Bushman, it was provided that, either short term or long term playing video games with violent content have effect on the increased aggression levels related with the people’s own ‘Internal State’ (Anderson & Bushman, 2001, p. 355; Bartholow & Anderson, 2002). However, the majority of the research literature showed that, violent video game playing increases aggressiveness in the short term but the long term effects are questionable (Emes, 1997; Dietz, 1998).

Buchman and Funk contended that, “Violence is primarily a learned behavior, then the powerful combination of demonstration, reward and practice inherent in electronic game playing creates an ideal instructional environment.” (Buchman & Funk, 1996, ¶28). They
further argued that the effect of game-playing on children have long-term implications on children’s behaviors and attitudes (Buchman & Funk, 1996). Anderson supported these belief in that, when people play violent games in long-term, learning may occur and it will be hard to change the settled knowledge after then (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). Dietz further claimed that, violent games “give the impression that violence is an effective and preferable method of problem-solving and for the advancement through the stages of life” besides these are normal for a society. (1998, p. 438)

Considering the perceptions of students, the big proportion of the teenagers, especially girls are in the opinion that video games have negative effects on children (Media Analysis Laboratory, 1998).

As opposed to all of these results, some of the research studies tried to show that there is no association between the violent video games and increased violence in youth (Digital Software Association, 2001; Durkin & Barber, 2002). Rather, during the 10 years period the video games have been used, the video violence has diminished in the United
States. Further evidence was showed that in other countries, whose people play video games also have low youth violence (Digital Software Association, 2001).

From different perspective computer games were supported that, not all of the games have such aggression characteristics (Subrahmanyam, Greenfield, Kraut & Gross, 2001). Furthermore, there is an uncertainty of the relationship between the aggressive behavior of children and the extent of computer game playing (Subrahmanyam, et al, 2001). Another
uncertainty is asserted as, for some studies, aggression and ‘arousal’ were confused (Anderson & Dill, 2000).

Matthew Buckley said...

Another good reference is a book called "Killing Monsters, why children need fantsy, super heroes, and make-believe violence" by Gerald Jones... It's an interesting read.

David said...

Ahhh, experts. People are so desperate for them. But it turns out that even the experts disagree, and then what do we do!?!?!

Anonymous said...

If anyone would like to see the report 'The use of computer and video games for learning - a review of the literature' - please go to