Video Games and Violence

Does the research show that playing violent games can lead to violence?  Or is the link simply circumstantial?

Reporter Mike Jaccarino explored those questions recently in two articles for Fox News. He spoke with experts in the field who have studied the association between video game violence and the real thing.

Dr. Bruce Bartholow at the University of Missouri says, “More than any other media, these video games encourage active participation in violence.”

“From a psychological perspective, video games are excellent teaching tools because they reward players for engaging in certain types of behavior. Unfortunately, in many popular video games, the behavior is violence.”

Professor Douglas Gentile, a video game researcher at Iowa state, adds this, “I think it’s the wrong question—whether there is a link between mass shootings and violent video game play. I understand people want to look for a culprit, but the truth of the matter is that there is never one cause.”

He says there are a variety of different causes coming together, such as the violent games, abuse as a child, and doing drugs.  Dr. Gentile says, “you start putting them together and aggression becomes pretty predictable.”

Dr. Michael Brody with the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, says that many soldiers note how closely today’s games resemble their wartime experiences.  He says, “More than one openly volunteered that when they went to Iraq it felt like they were going into a video game.”

To learn more about the impact of violent video games, visit the American Psychological Association’s website at

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Listen to today’s audio here.