Video games have been around for a long time but even though a great deal of opposition has been at play, there are no signs of an increase in aggression as claimed over the years.
We are here to end the misnomers. A 10-year study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking showed there is no connection between playing violent video games as a child with increased aggression years later on. After ten years, the study said that one of the most controversial games “Grand Auto Theft” played by children around 13-years of age for hours on end showed no increase in aggression vs kids who never played or only played for a short period of time.
Collected data backs up these findings that tendencies toward violence are not from video games but does offer insight into how many teens have used video games to cope with mental health issues.
Authors have written about the subject of teens playing the most video games. They have concluded that teens may have used these games to distract themselves from other issues they are experiencing. That said, more research is needed to understand this phenomenon.
The authors said a study performed with a group of children who started playing violent games early on displayed higher levels of depression but showed a decrease in anxiety. Therefore, it is possible this group used these video games to cope with or manage their depressive issues
Previous researchers said that playing video games for coping with or distracting from mental health issues may be effective but the studies have failed to consider the content of the games they were playing.
A longitudinal study was used for this research. This means researchers repeatedly recorded the same variables over a period of 10 years. Longitudinal studies are the best choice for this data because the data observes how teens grow, as a whole, while playing the games and how they compared with the outcome of their personalities later on. Further studies would be required over an extensive period of time and are rarely used for video game research.
In a study involving 500 participants, researchers recruited children around the age of 14. They completed questionnaires over the trial period to record the frequency of playing games. Each game was given a violence rating from 0 to 5, 5 being the most violent. From the beginning to the end of the trial period, the participants’ aggression was measured using a questionnaire along with measuring other factors including anxiety, depression, and prosocial behavior which can measure the benefits for society overall.
The results from the study revealed that teens fell into one of three groups:
Group One played for hours early on in life but decreased a great deal as they got older.
Group Two played in a moderate fashion through their teens with a slight increase as they reached adulthood.
Group Three, which as the largest group, played rarely starting off but increased their playtime as they grew up.
The study showed that children in group one decreased their playtime due to their chosen careers which could have affected the outcome. The children in group one, with the most violent game time, showed no significant difference in adulthood aggression to those who played rarely. That said, the moderate group that played constantly throughout their teens showed the highest level of aggression.
The findings from the study do not suggest that playing violent video games early on is not a good forecaster toward aggression later on. It is possible that constant playing throughout their younger years could be connected to more aggressive behavior later on. Further studies would need to be performed.
Because any study is not air-tight, the results can vary. The data was collected by self-reporting information which can be biased and may not be a true indicator of aggression and game time. Because of the large number of participants over a long period of time, self-reporting is probably the most viable choice for these studies.