Study Finds Solid Link Between Video-Game, Real-World Violence
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Violent video games really may make kids more violent, new research suggests.
Previous such studies had a big flaw — they couldn't prove whether the games had made the kids violent, or if already-violent kids were drawn to violent games.
But data from three long-term studies in the U.S. and Japan shows that otherwise peaceable kids first played violent games — and then months later became more aggressive in school, more likely to get into fights.
In a paper published in the medical journal Pediatrics, the researchers found the same effect in all three samples, despite the sharply different relative levels of violence in American and Japanese societies.
Younger kids were in fact more affected. American children 9 through 12, and Japanese kids 12 through 15, became more violent than did the teenagers in a larger pool of Japanese students aged 13 to 18.
"Playing violent video games is a significant risk factor for later physically aggressive behavior," concludes the study. "The research strongly suggests reducing the exposure of youth to this risk factor."
In a related study in the same issue of Pediatrics, a long-term study of kids aged 10 to 15 found a high correlation between exposure to violence on the Internet and self-reported criminally violent behavior, including assault, robbery, sexual assault, stabbings and shootings.
Violent Web Sites Leads to Violence in Kids, Study Finds
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
NEW YORK — Young people exposed to violent media are more likely to lash out violently themselves, new research published in Pediatrics shows.
"Our findings add to the growing evidence that violence in the media is related to aggressive behavior, including seriously violent behavior among youths," Dr. Michele L. Ybarra of Internet Solutions for Kids in Santa Ana, California and her colleagues report. "Reduction in youths' exposure to violent media should be viewed as an important aspect of violence prevention."
Many studies have examined exposure to violent media and violent behavior among young people, Ybarra and her team note in their report. In fact, they point out, the American Academy of Pediatrics calls media violence "the single most easily remediable contributing factor" to youth violence.
The researchers examined the relationship between media violence and "seriously violent behavior," defined as shooting or stabbing someone, robbing someone, or committing aggravated assault or sexual assault, in a survey of 1,588 young people 10 to 15 years old. The average age was 13 years old and 48 percent were girls.
Five percent of those surveyed reported having engaged in some type of seriously violent behavior over the past year, while 38 percent said they had visited at least one type of violent Web site. With each additional type of violent Web site a study participant reported viewing, the likelihood of violent behavior increased by 50 percent.
Young people who said that "many, most or all" of the Internet sites they frequented featured "real people fighting, shooting or killing" were five-times more likely than their peers who didn't visit violent Web sites to engage in seriously violent behavior.
The odds of violent behavior also rose with the number of types of violent media a young person consumed, but the effect of violent TV, movies, music, games or Internet cartoons was much smaller than that of Internet violence depicting real people.
The interactive nature of the Web may be behind its apparently more powerful influence when compared with types of violent media, Ybarra and colleagues suggest.
But the current study doesn't answer the question of whether violent media is turning kids violent, whether violence-prone youth are more likely to seek out violence on the Internet, or "more probably," whether a bit of both is going on, the researchers say.