The American Psychological Association has released a new report stating that playing video games increases levels of aggression.
No evidence was found that links gaming to incidents of criminal violence or increased deliquency, however, with APA stating that more research needs to be conducted.
The report directly addresses the portrayal of violent video games by the wider media, specifically repeated events where a News commentator attempts to suggest that violent video games were responsible for inspiring incidents of High School shootings, notably the Columbine and Sandy Hook shootings.
The task force behind the report examined more than 150 studies conducted between 2005 and 2013 that looked at the link between gaming, aggression and violent behavior. It should be noted that there are limitations to the studies involved: they don’t take into account gender, don’t include studies looking at children under the age of ten, and they provide a snapshot of a child at a certain point in their development, rather than across an extended period.
Despite these limitations, the task group was satisfied that there is sufficient evidence across a range of different studies that found evidence of increased aggression in children and young people who play video games on a regular basis.
“No single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently,” the report concludes. “Rather, it is the accumulation of risk factors that tends to lead to aggressive or violent behavior. The research reviewed here demonstrates that violent video game use is one such risk factor.”
The report calls for the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which rates games in the United States, to include more types of violence in its ratings system, and says that society would benefit from there being “public education about the results of scientific inquiry in this field so that various stakeholders can make informed choices.”