Violent computer games linked to increased aggression among adolescents

Researchers claim regular exposure to ‘brutal’ video games may desensitise teens

A screenshot from the video game Grand Theft Auto V. The game, about hoodlums and thieves, is the latest in this 16-year-old series. Photograph: Rockstar Games via The New York Times

A screenshot from the video game Grand Theft Auto V. The game, about hoodlums and thieves, is the latest in this 16-year-old series. Photograph: Rockstar Games via The New York Times

Tue, Sep 17, 2013, 18:11

 


Children who play violent computer games on a regular basis are more likely to show signs of aggression and find it difficult to control their emotions, researchers have claimed.

The findings are based on a survey unveiled at the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect conference in Dublin today.

A diagnostic study of more than 1,000 teenagers took place in Poland between 2011-12, aimed at measuring the impact of computer games with elements of aggression and violence among young people.

Researchers said the findings showed a strong link between young people who play these games on a regular basis with inability to control emotions, increased isolation from friends and higher incidences of aggression.

A debate on the impact of violent video games has been unfolding over the last two decades, with some researchers claiming any negative impact has been vastly overstated.

Violent computer games such as Grand Theft Auto are widely played by children and teens, despite age restrictions. The latest version of the game, which went on sale this week, is expected to sell a record 25 million copies.

But experts from the National Institute of Public Health and University of Natural Sciences in Poland said their findings added to a body of research that links regular exposure to violent computer games with “desensitisation”among adolescents.