New research suggests that children who are exposed to large amounts of violent media are more likely to behave in aggressive and hostile ways than those who do not. The correlation between video games and violence amongst children has raised attention ever since the shooting at Columbine High School, which involved two students that went on rampage for motives that still remain unclear. The lack of reasoning behind the actions shifted the cause onto violent social media.
Today nearly 90% of children play video games throughout the United States, and 90% of the content is considered mature, in measures of adult content, language, or violence. Does this mean that all children will reenact actions portrayed as acceptable in mature video games ? Not likely, but the concern sparked an abundance of research that has varied on the issue.
Published in the journal JAMA Pediatric, Craig Anderson and his colleagues at Iowa State University questioned 3,034 boys and girls ranging from third to eighth grade to shed some light on the topic. Their quantitative studies revealed that over time students became more and more reasonable with the ways they handled situations mainly attributed to student’s growth in maturity. However, the findings did reveal that there was a correlation between the number of hours spent playing video games and likeliness to to have violent and aggressive tendencies.
Although Anderson was able to generate correlations on the matter, he admits that the findings are not entirely conclusive. Because we live in a culture that generally accepts graphic and violent media, it is difficult to determine the full extent as to how much it affects daily motives. Are violent video games a problem? Is violent media blinding us from being able to see right from wrong? Or have we classified the violent media that surrounds us as harmless?