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Study links violent video games to violent thought, action

A study in the March issue of Psychological Bulletin, a journal of the American Psychological Association, shows that playing violent video games increases violent thinking, attitudes and behaviors among players. And it does nothing to promote positive social behaviors.

Psychologist Craig Anderson of Iowa State University and his team analyzed existing studies of 130,000 people from the U.S., Europe and Japan. His findings held for players in Western and Eastern cultures, for male and female players and for players of various ages. They also contradict some earlier studies, whose findings the current authors say are tainted by "selection bias" -- the method by which they selected studies to analyze.

The new study notes that while violence in movies and TV shows has long been examined for its potential impact on viewers' proclivity for violence, video gaming, a much newer phenomenon, has not yet been so fully explored.

In its review of data, the new research found that exposure to violent video games was associated with aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition and aggressive "affect." It desensitizes users and is associated with lack of empathy and a lack of "prosocial" behavior.

In an accompanying commentary, Christopher Ferguson and John Kilburn of the department of behavioral applied science and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University note flaws in Anderson's analysis, including what they say is his own selection bias. Ferguson -- whose earlier research is the main object of Anderson's criticism -- points out that, even with what he views as a bias in Anderson's selection of studies, Anderson found only a weak connection between violent video gaming and violent thoughts and deeds. Finally, Ferguson notes that violent crime in the U.S. and other developed nations where video games are played has decreased over the decades during which video gaming has grown in popularity. The commentary concludes:

Although it is certainly true that few researchers suggest that VVGs [violent video games] are the sole cause of violence, this does not mean they cannot be wrong about VVGs having any meaningful effect at all. Psychology, too often, has lost its ability to put the weak (if any) effects found for VVGs on aggression into a proper perspective. In doing so, it does more to misinform than inform public debates on this issue.

Michael D. Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, responded in a prepared statement:

Numerous authorities, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and numerous courts have thoroughly and critically examined the social science research and found that it does not establish any causal link between violent content and violent behavior.
Most recently in 2008, Drs. Cheryl K. Olson and Lawrence Kutner, co-founders and directors of the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media, conducted a study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice on the effects of video games on young teenagers. In contrast to previous research, they studied real children and families in real situations. In their authoritative analysis, Grand Theft Childhood, they found that 'the strong link between video game violence and real world violence, and the conclusion that video games lead to social isolation and poor interpersonal skills, are drawn from bad or irrelevant research, muddleheaded thinking and unfounded, simplistic news reports.'

But the new study's authors, confident in their findings, say it's time to move toward a fix:

Concerning public policy, we believe that debates can and should finally move beyond the simple question of whether violent video game play is a causal risk factor for aggressive behavior. Instead, we believe the public policy debate should move to questions concerning how best to deal with this risk factor. Public education about this risk factor -- and about how parents, schools, and society at large can deal with it -- could be very useful.

"Video games are neither inherently good nor inherently bad," the study says. "But people learn. And content matters."

Do your kids play violent video games? Do you think those games affect the way they think or act? Please vote in today's poll:

We're tweeting! You can follow the Post's Local Living writers, including Jennifer, at @wposthome/local-living. And keep track of my "Me Minus 10" effort to lose 10 pounds before I turn 50 at

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  March 1, 2010; 12:01 AM ET
Categories:  Family Health , General Health , Psychology , Teens  
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What is with these multiple choice responses???? Where's the "No, I've played VVG's for the past 25 years and have not noticed that they effect the way I think or act" choice?!?!?!

Give it up already! They've been around for years. This is like when Tipper Gore got all excited about rap lyrics in the 90's... it over already! Move on.

Posted by: pimpinbenzo73 | March 1, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow - how many millions did they spend on this ingenious study to come up with this new revelation? OF COURSE VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES SPUR VIOLENT THOUGHT - DUHHH! And, violent thought spurs an increase in violent action. The degradation of our American Society is directly linked to the relaxed oversight on the american media & that includes scum bags like Howard Stern & video gaming in general. You need a study to figure that out? We've allowed the Hollywood mentality (in La La Land) to permeate our youth. What could possibly be worse? This is one of the root causes for the condition this country is in today.

Posted by: rbk525 | March 1, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

What terrible, terrible reporting/polling by the Post.

So okay, there's an article talking about how the discussion of violent video games really aren't properly handled by the media. AND THEN YOU HAVE VIOLENT VIDEO GAME POLLING BEING MISHANDLED BY THE MEDIA IN THE SAME ARTICLE. It is mind blowing. The poll has no "I think we're fine" option. I'm not even saying the games are always fine, but if you're going to have a straw poll then it needs to have the reasonable options.

Otherwise it's just stunt journalism, the exact thing this article is trying to address. Which means... The Washington Post can't even be bothered to read their posts. Kinda sad.

Posted by: geedeck | March 1, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Wow rbk525, why don't you slow down, wipe the froth from your mouth, and start making sense. What does Howard Stern have to do with video games?

Posted by: distance88 | March 1, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I know my son is desensitized to killing and dying. When growing up, dreams about killing or dying always end with me waking up before the act. When I asked my son about his dreams, he visualizes the scenes just like in the video games and sees the act to the end. Whether this affects real world behavior is a question worth more study. Personally, I definitely learned how to throw a punch from watching movies.

Posted by: rwtang | March 1, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Fascinating that people always want to put the blame elsewhere. Why does Japan, a place where video games just as popular as they are here have such a different rate of violence? Perhaps it is because video games don't cause violence, it is other factors, such as poor parenting and the violent mentality of a militarized country.

Posted by: staticvars | March 1, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Agree wholeheartedly. This poll is showing a serious bias of its own. The choices are predisposed toward a causal effect that the story devotes half of its verbiage to refuting. Where's the choice "No, my kids play VVgs and are no more inclined towards violence than anyone else in their peer group."

Posted by: jburksva | March 1, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

This comes down to the Thrill Kill incident of 1999, when EA bought the rights to an up and coming developers answer to the late 90s hit "mortal kombat" in which 4 players at once could engage in hardcore ultimate carnage. Thrill Kill was purchased for a hefty sum, and once rights were transfered the game was killed and buried, never to be seen again, until the golden age of emulation that is. The game can now be downloaded online and played clandestinely. However, the explanation given was simple, Doom + Social Outcast = Columbine. Never mind the details, like these kids were picked on incessantly. Don't consider the possibilities of abuses at home (or in the neighborhood). Nope, it was violent video games!

Posted by: xisle35 | March 1, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

They need a study to reach this conclusion? What a waste of time and money, and an insult to my intelligence.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | March 1, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Adrienne, you're missing the entire point and you're using the obnoxious "why did they do this research" trope.

The question isn't "can people be more prone to violence after playing games". That's a simple question. The real question is how much? How does it compare to say a game of football? How does it compare to a lot of things? How do societal and familial effects change this? Does it cause this negative, but curtail other negatives.

Black and white questions and answers are killing America's ability to think. We have to be able to see the grey.

Posted by: geedeck | March 1, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

This "poll" is flawed and slanted to the point of being embarrassing. For one, the poll attempts to answer two questions in one answer. Second, the answers that are being shown are poorly selected and poorly worded.

"Do your kids play violent video games? Do you think those games affect the way they think or act? "

What about:

"Yes, but they don't affect the way my child acts or thinks"

"Yes, but I see no evidence that it affects the way my child acts or thinks"

"No, but I don't think it would affect the way my child acts or thinks."

"No, but I would not care either way."

I view this as an attempt to later quote the "results" of the poll in another article without giving context. For example, looking at the current leading index, it would be very easy for some Anti-Video Game activist to later make the statement, "...and according to a poll done in the Washington Post, a whopping 25% of all parents are concerned about their children playing Violent Video games."

On the contents of the article, can we move on already? Video Games are going nowhere. Ever. No link can ever be made without making the same exact link to violent movies, music, and sports. And as we know, Money Talks...

Posted by: infojust4me | March 1, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Why is this even news? This joker from Iowa State has be discredited time and time again. Yet the media (showing their lack of knowledge and bias) continue to print his "findings". I played Grand Theft Auto, Doom, Modern Warfare, etc. and have yet to shoot up a school or shopping mall. Bad kids are bad kids, video games are an outlier. How is hard for the media to get a grip on?

Posted by: Bailers | March 1, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

It is important to note that violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto are typically tagged with a "M" label. "M" meaning "Mature Audiences Only" as in adults only. Parents should buy these games, or allow their children to buy these games, with that in mind. An adult can more easily distinguish fantasy and reality and behave appropriately. Violent thought, after all, is only thought, even if one could establish a link between violent video games and violent thought.

Count me in as another long-time video game player who hasn't yet committed a murder or assaulted anyone. ;-)

Posted by: DCCubefarm | March 1, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

It's safe to say that violence in video games and other media can desensitize people, and it certainly puts images in your head that wouldn't be there otherwise. But a decade of playing various violent video games hasn't turned me into a murderer or violent criminal.

Posted by: bokamba | March 1, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

It is so sad that people won't try to understand research findings. The fact that one individual plays video games and isn't a murderer doesn't matter. That is an anecdote. Please look at the data and think about the results, without using your own experience as a counter-example. Besides which, the authors are not saying that playing violent video games turns everybody into killers. There is a wide range of aggressive behavior. Maybe you are more likely now to cut somebody off in traffic? To bully somebody online? To talk during a play and ruin the others' enjoyment of it? Think of how society could be different if people engaged in activities that promoted pro-social thoughts/affect and peaceful ideas instead.

Posted by: drl97 | March 1, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

As noted by many others... what a fantastically hilariously biased poll to go with a hilariously biased study.

Violent video games will continue to be the scapegoat for a bigger issue, which is a lack of involvement of parents in raising their children and the desire to blame that involvement on external factors.

Posted by: TheGJ | March 1, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Violent video games are used by the US propaganda machine to prepare the young soldiers of the European allies for the future Clash of Civilisations against the Arabs (as announced by American historian Samuel Huntington in his eponym book).

Back from Irak and Afghanistan, the formidable US military machine costing 600 billion dollars per year and employing millions of Americans has to be found a new job, i.e. a new theater of operations to play WWIII, where the US army, after the organized carnage between the EU and the Arabs, would close in again to "save" Europe -- like in 1944.

History repeats itself, and you don't change a winning horse...

The massive sale of violent video games to young people is a crime against Humanity -- so just ask the usual question: whom does the crime profit?

Beyond the games, US propaganda is also based on violent music and movies, and, last but not least, on the fashionable combat clothes inspired by the US army surplus stores spread all over Europe!

Posted by: Euroflycars | March 1, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I recently watched the Olympics on NBC TV. Weren't they great, except for the mishap resulting in the death of the luge competitor from Georgia. From the commentators remarks it was evident that many of the competitors today, were inspired by watching prior Olympic participants. Of course this is great, This is what we want. But is it not evident that agressive behavior can be encouraged by viewing aggressive movies, TV and ,yes, video games. I recall as a young boy watching a college football game. This was in the 1940's before much organized sports for youth. We had our own back yard games. But after this experience, I put it to use in our little games. I smashed into one of my friends, sending him tumbling into a garage wall. He couldn't understand why I meant to hurt him. I didn't mean to hurt him, I was just copying what I had seen, not realizing it was inappropriate when playing fotball without proper protection of pads and helmets and such. We are affected by what we view, but these video games sell, and as long as money rules, expect such entertainment to continue.

Posted by: Mcgruff1 | March 1, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: amlampert | March 1, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

In addition to these studies, there are many examples of anecdotal evidence that work to further elucidate the complexity of this issue:

Posted by: amlampert | March 1, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Those testosterone phobes are at it again. The obvious solution is to castrate all young males and give them ritalin so they can be little metrosexuals and, thereby, Democrats. We can't have a bunch of aggressive males running around in society. They might do crazy things like play Rugby, do extreme sports and act like men. Can't have that in our feminized society.

Posted by: beachbum09 | March 1, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

This is just brilliant. And before 'gaming' what caused the violent thoughts? What caused people to be killers since time immemorial?

This is a perfect example of molding science to opinion. The premise started to prove that gaming=violence. More likely is that the violent individuals are drawn to the violent games, not the games making people violent. They had the thoughts already and no are using the games as an outlet.

Who knows maybe they are getting it out of their system.

This has been the goal of liberals for years. They can produce biased study after biased study until you just can't read any more crap.

Posted by: thelaw1 | March 1, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

These studies all seem to make the same basic mistake of assuming that correlation equals causation. It stands to reason that VVG's will appeal to sociopaths, which does not mean that VVG's turn people into sociopaths. I've enjoyed them since I was a kid and in the real world I'm a pacifist who's been in one fist fight in my life, before video games were invented.

"we believe that debates can and should finally move beyond the simple question of whether violent video game play is a causal risk factor for aggressive behavior. Instead, we believe the public policy debate should move to questions concerning how best to deal with this risk factor."

If the above quote doesn't show the bias of the study's authors, what would? Yes, let's stop arguing about whether or not the science if conclusive or valid and just pretend it is anyway. *eyeroll*

Posted by: Chip_M | March 1, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I agree with ThegGJ in that it IS up to the parents to control what their kids are watching. This includes all forms of the daily news. How many news stories are talking and showing the results of violent behavior. At least violent games are rated, unlike the news.
I'm not talking about banning news stories. I'm talking about a flawed study that doesn't include consideration of other influences, such as the news.

Posted by: Jon7 | March 1, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

One of the biggest myths in popular culture is that videogames are "toys" primarily made for, and played by, children. The opposite is actually true, and has been true for as long as this 30-year-old commenter can remember.

The vast majority of videogames are developed for adults, just like films and books. Unlike books, however, all videogames adhere to a strict standard ratings system designed to tell consumers which games are most appropriate for which age groups.

It amazes me when, as a culture, we do not care when a book younger readers can purchase legally anywhere, like Pygmy or American Psycho, contains violence. But we stumble all over ourselves when a M-rated game that is forbidden to be purchased by young gamers, like Bioshock 2, contains violence.

If parents are concerned about videogames with violent or sexual content, they should probably pay attention to the big rating on the box and in all the commercials, which explicitly states the age group the content is appropriate for ( If parents still have concerns, they should play through the content or not buy it at all -- videogames are media, not toys.

This whole debate is sooo late-1980s...

Posted by: dc-chi-guy | March 1, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

It is hard to believe a study is needed to point out the obvious.Violent games let you practice violent behavior. How many thousands did this study cost!
A little parenting goes a long way.

Posted by: jdsims | March 1, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

well, duh!

Posted by: royce2 | March 1, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Next thing you know they'll put a pool table right here in River City.

Posted by: posttoastie1 | March 1, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Would these be the same folk who, years ago, decided that watching football led to domestic violence, that explicit early childhood sexual education made for better adjusted adults, et al? Look, you can always find some collection of fools that will tell you anything.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 1, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

First off let me start off by saying i have been playing video games for 30 years now, i do not have a criminal record or have i ever acted out a scene from a game in public or towards anyone. now for this article are they testing the social behavior of children playing VVG.of course some children will show some mild affects of anger but not violence,due to the fact that this children are young & impressionable.but if parents would do the right thing there would be no need for such studies. parents am not saying your doing a bad job of raising your children, just be a bit more hands on with simple talks or the moment you have together. please don't wait till they have done something wrong to speak w/ them.i have two boys who i happen to play VVG with & no i do not see any future issue arising from these moments,cause as parent i explain to them the difference between fiction & reality.i have always been a firm believer that communication is the best form of prevention to any & all problems.(p.s for you lazy a****** stop being F****** lazy & own up to your responsibilities as parents & do your job & stop trying to put the responsibility of raising your kid on everyone else. like one off my other beliefs is that if had the fun of conceiving that child then man up take responsibilities for your actions.) from the dad that loves to game.

Posted by: krazymadk5472 | March 1, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked this is still a free country and I can play violent video games if I want. Despite Jennifer Huget's belief we need to be protected from ourselves by government regulation.

Ms. Huget's article is typical biased reporting designed to back up her own prejudice against such games.

People prone to violence have other more significant psychological deficiencies such as narcicism, sociopathy, anger, etc. that are present long before a video game is played.

Posted by: kmp1 | March 1, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't play video games. Too many books to read.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | March 1, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was comic books that caused antisocial behavior, followed by all the 3d-rate movies being made that are based on those comic books. Where I come from you need to add some crack and a few guns to really rev up the antisocial behavior, then throw in a perceived victim or enemy or two, and off they go!

Posted by: pioneer1 | March 1, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

How about instead of parents sitting their children in front of the electronic babysitter for hours and then blaming the violent content their kids were viewing when they act up, parents should actually start raising their children? There is a reason games like gears of war and modern warfare have a 17+ label on the box. If your kid is 12 years old, DON'T LET THEM PLAY THOSE GAMES!!! Be a parent. Jesus.

Posted by: bogardp | March 1, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to our future leaders. Living in their parent's basements, doing video games, surfing porn, and masturbating.

God help us all.

Posted by: tjhall1 | March 1, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The headline and paragraph one are only concerned with video games, while paragraph three of the same article says the study was interested in "Violent video games and Movies". This is the only place in the article that movies are mentioned, and the lack of information on methedology of the studies makes this article on par with infotainment on Yahoo! front pages.

Frankly, I'm surprised that Jack Thompson is not listed as a quote source.

Posted by: graggc | March 1, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Why does the poll assume only kids in the family are playing violent games? The kids in our family are not allowed to play violent games or watch violent movies, but that doesn't stop the father from doing so. I don't know if his aggressive tendencies are aggravated by the games and the movies, or if the interest in these kinds of games and movies are a result of the aggressive tendencies that already are there. In other words, which came first -- the aggressiveness or the violent gaming and movie watching?

Posted by: cleo3 | March 1, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Dear Lousy Parents: DON'T play the video games backwards, you might hear Satan, Beezelebub, Legion, and the ArchAngel Gabriel singing "We Are The World" and farting....

Give it a rest already. Your kids are morons because YOU are crappy parents. Or quite possibly just because your kid's an a__hole.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | March 1, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Anderson's study is bovine waste product, the modern day equivalent of masterbation causes blindness.

This is not the first generation to play violent video games - we all did in college and that was long before school shootings became a sad reality.

But don't take my antidodal evidence, as the other commentators have noted it's been studied over & over with the same conclusions - there's no causal evidence between observed play violence and actual violence acts.

Posted by: GarrisonLiberty | March 1, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Pish Posh
Monitor your child’s gaming usage and yes I have a teens and yes they have all of it! Violent games, fun games, creative etc
they play them, their friends come over and play, sometimes if they have friends over they will stay up till 2-3 playing but guess what -- Mom and Dad are watching closely monitoring and setting the limits at ALL TIMES even 2-3 AM- that’s what you got to do. Oh and bye they bye I believe a study was done last year which noted these games in young boys have replace cowboy/Indians- games of war etc and in moderation fulfill that level of testosterone that wants to roam, battle just be a boy..........I realize by the time they reach teenage years that most of the games are extremely violent and some have baaaad language- BUT PICK YOUR POISION AND MONITOR IT.... so sick and tire of the "THINK TANK" mentality

Posted by: blonde19 | March 1, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I must join the readers who noticed you palm that ace on the poll.

No option for those of us who game and/or whose children game and who have not obseved violent ideation or action as a result.

Posted by: paulhume | March 1, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, isn't there a study that finds that violent movies showing on weekends actually decreased crime levels, because many people who would be out committing the crimes normally were instead occupied watching the movies? I suspect that the people who are easily influenced by violent video games in a meaningful way are also likely the sort of weak-minded people who are lulled by the constant escape and stimulation they offer. Unlike a movie, you can play video games around the clock. It could be that they are actually lowering our crime levels by keeping potential miscreants glued to the couch.

Posted by: jrzwrld | March 1, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

How about, our violent behavior allows us to select violent video games to play to placate our violent interests.

That is like saying there is more SEX on TV therefore the is more sex among unmarried people. The opposite is true.

Art imitates life and not life imitates art. Get it right, as this is the oldest dicotomy existing since andre palladio and Michael Angello.


Posted by: patmatthews | March 1, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

No civilized parent would allow their child to play these games. Any parent who does should be prosecuted if and when junior goes apesh!t and shoots his classmates because he didn't get his favorite flavor pudding for lunch.

Posted by: trenda | March 1, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Video games don't make people violent and angry, stupid studies like this do.

Seriously, if you made a list of factors that contribute to violent behavior, video games would be so far down that it should be laughable to even think about regulating them beyond the rating system now in use. Is there some kind of graduate course that social scientists have to take that dispels the concept that correlation is not causation?

Also, I love how the study's authors say that we should stop trying to decide who's right and just accept that they are. What persuasiveness. And how is it good public policy to start creating solutions before you figure whether there is a problem, and if so the size an extent? Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Plus it's just funny that they're using the "because I said so" argument here.

Posted by: Booyah5000 | March 1, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"The new study notes that while violence in movies and TV shows has long been examined for its potential impact on viewers' proclivity for violence, video gaming, a much newer phenomenon, has not yet been so fully explored....In its review of data, the new research found that exposure to violent video games was associated with aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition and aggressive 'affect.' It desensitizes users and is associated with lack of empathy and a lack of 'prosocial' behavior."

Well, here's a surprise. The grown-ups -- or at least some of them -- have finally figured out that playing violent games is quite different than watching violent movies or tv programs.


Simple. Watching movies/tv is a passive activity. Playing violent games is an immersion in the violent action of a violent reality (virtual though it may be) in which the kid is engaged AS THE CHARACTER DOING THE VIOLENCE. And even if he's role-playing a good guy, he still is actively killing and maiming.

These games enable kids to role-play a killer, torturer, rapist, thief, etc. -- or any of a zillion good guys who get to commit pretty much the same atrocities but with the "law" on their side (creating the likelihood that we'll see a whole generation of little vigilantes emerge in the not-so-distant future). This is about letting kids "feel the thrill" of committing forbidden activities.

So how do you figure that experiencing the adrenalin rush of virtual murder and mayhem allows kids to "blow off steam"?
These kinds of physiological reactions are the basis of any addiction. So playing this stuff isn't going to "get it out of their system." It's going to make them want more. (And as anyone who has ever experienced or witnessed addiction knows, more of the same doesn't satisfy the addict; there has to be an increasing level of destructiveness to feed the growing craving.)

For all you folks who insist that there's no validity to any of the research, ask yourselves why you're objecting so vociferously. Is it because you feel that your children shouldn't be deprived of the opportunity to play these games? Or is it because you don't want to give them up?

Posted by: haveaheart | March 1, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Talk about violance!

How about your daily language, where does all these swear words come from in your country?
The U.S. is the country I know that in one hand is puritan and on the other hand has the most vulgar speach in films on TV and also when they communicate personally. I1m not going to post those words, which I'm sure you are all familiar M...F etc so on. I doubt that when you travel abroad you hear so much fowel language.

Posted by: michaelhacopian | March 1, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Violent games are as American as apple pie. The shot heard around the world, Remember the Alamo, The Halls of Montezuma, Fort Sumter, Billy the Kid, Al Capone, Murder Incorporated, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Afghanistan.

Posted by: alance | March 1, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

How much time and money was spent on this study? My lawn guy could have answered that one.

Posted by: jamespmarion | March 1, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

"analyzed existing studies" In other words a meta study where other people's work is cherry picked to produce the result you are looking for.

Invariably not worth reading or the paper they are printed on.

Posted by: member8 | March 1, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

"It's safe to say that violence in video games and other media can desensitize people, and it certainly puts images in your head that wouldn't be there otherwise. "

Yeah, good thing we don't live in the good old days where ... you would actually see people dying right in front of you instead of on a video game or movie and know it's not real.

What you see in front of you doesn't determine your actions and who you are - it's a combination of genetics, upbringing, peer groups and brain chemistry. Don't try and blame your bad parenting or your troubled child on a game - it just doesn't work.

Posted by: gastronomy101 | March 1, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

How comforting to know that all the violence of human history was caused by video games! What a relief to know that we aren't really a bunch of vicious, bloodthirsty anthropoids after all. Yes, if it weren't for video games there would have been no wars, murders, assaults or other crimes. World War II and Auschwitz, Buchenwald, etc. would never have happened if only Hitler's father had been a bit stricter about allowing him access! How much longer is it before we make all technology illegal and return to our natural state of passive non-violence?

Posted by: chawil | March 2, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

The only thing that makes me violet is how stupid and annoying these kinds of articles are becoming

Posted by: Rumuwi | March 2, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse


“Yes its time to move away from the debate as to whether videogames can cause people to behave violently, since we have repeatedly tried and FAILED to find a causal link between videogames and real world violence and people are starting to get bored. So lets skip all that and get to the really interesting stuff like imposing our morals and ethics on those of the entire nation."

Posted by: cozoni_wam | March 2, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

how can you have a survey where all the possible choices are essentially the same.

also, how can something titled, "Grand theft childhood", be considered an authoritive analysis of anything, i mean its practically screaming bias isnt it?

great journalism here, top notch.

Posted by: mattwhittall | March 3, 2010 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh the days when kids were non-aggressive, and everyone lived in tree-lined streets in houses with picket-fences. Obviously kids never fantasized about violence and played interactive games in which they simulated violent acts. If only someone had come along and cut my index finger off when I was a kid for all the times my brothers and I ran around pointing it at each other shouting "bang!" Think of all the agression I'd have been spared! And all those toy guns! Oh the children!!!

Seriously--someone upthread made an excellent point about things in our culture which clearly provoke aggressiveness that noone talks about when this hysterical debate comes up. Anyone who's even remotely familiar with the cultures around contact sports and videogames knows that actually performing violent acts against other people, as one does in hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer, etc. leads to more aggression than playing computer games. So let's ban contact sports...and sport shooting and hunting, too, while we're at it!

And to the guy who thinks banning videogames is a "liberal" thing--by and large, liberals want to protect freedom of speech, a principle that is the only thing that's keeping nanny-state legislatures in conservative states from passing laws to ban videogames they don't like, so get your politics straight.

Posted by: jeffale73 | March 3, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

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