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Violent video games not linked to teen aggression | UK News



Playing violent video games has no link to teenage aggression, new research has found.

A group of British teenagers, picked to be representative of the UK, were assessed and evaluated for gaming and aggressive behaviour in the month leading up to taking part in the study.

The behaviour as noted by their parents and carers was also collated.

Lead researcher Professor Andrew Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute told Sky News: “What we found was that there are a lot of things that feed in to aggression.

“There are some effects of gender and some people who are from different life backgrounds have higher or lower ratings, but video game play didn’t really see to matter here.”

He added: “Violent games don’t seem to drive aggressive behaviour in young people.

“But really we should be looking at other things – maybe it is frustrations, maybe it is family or life circumstance – that we should be spending more time on.”

The study from the University of Oxford uses a combination of responses from British teens and their parents alongside official EU and US ratings of game violence.

Previous research has relied heavily on self-reported data from teenagers.

“The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time,” says Mr Przybylski.

Andrew Przybylski's research discredits the idea violent video games make teens more aggressive
Andrew Przybylski’s research discredits the idea violent video games make teens more aggressive

“Despite interest in the topic by parents and policy-makers, the research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern.”

The study from the Oxford Internet Institute is the first to use the Royal Society’s registered reports approach, which is designed to deliver an unbiased and effective analysis of results.

Researchers publicly declared their hypothesis, methods and analysis technique prior to beginning the research.

“Part of the problem in technology research is that there are many ways to analyse the same data, which will produce different results.

“A cherry-picked result can add undue weight to the moral panic surrounding video games. The registered study approach is a safeguard against this,” says Mr Przybylski.

The researchers did highlight that although the findings suggested no link between the games and aggressive behaviour in teenagers, this does not mean that some mechanics and situations in gaming do not provoke angry feelings or reactions in players.

Mr Przybylski: “Anecdotally, you do see things such as trash-talking, competitiveness and trolling in gaming communities that could qualify as antisocial behaviour.”

The study used nationally representative data from 2,008 British teens aged 14 and 15 and their parents alongside official EU and US ratings of game violence.

The teens completed questions on their personality and gaming behaviour over the past month and their parents or carers answered questions on the child’s recent aggressive behaviours.

The findings were published by Royal Society Open Science.

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