Do video games cause violence?

The short answer is no. Video games do not cause violence any more than sports, tv, or play (ie cops and robbers or tag). Here is a look at some of the research on the topic. Note that it tends to go both ways indicating that people are pulling numbers to support their views but not looking at the big picture:

-The 2008 study Grand Theft Childhood reported that 60% of middle school boys that played at least one Mature-rated game
-Violent juvenile crime in the United States has been declining as violent video game popularity has increased. The arrest rate for juvenile murders has fallen 71.9% between 1995 and 2008. The arrest rate for all juvenile violent crimes has declined 49.3%. In this same period, video game sales have more than quadrupled
-Increasing reports of bullying can be partially attributed to the popularity of violent video games.
-A 2004 US Secret Service review of previous school-based attacks found that one-eighth of attackers exhibited an interest in violent video games, less than the rate of interest attackers showed in violent movies, books, and violence in their own writings. The report did not find a relationship between playing violent video games and school shootings
-A 2000 FBI report includes playing violent video games in a list of behaviors associated with school shootings
-Playing violent video games provides a safe outlet for aggressive and angry feelings. A 2007 study reported that 45% of boys played video games because “it helps me get my anger out” and 62% played because it “helps me relax.“

Source of stats –

But what about games like Grand Theft Auto where you can literally shoot people, hit them with weapons, or beat them up? Put it this way, Grand Theft Auto 5 has sold over 40 million copies. The biggest selling games in the US every year are Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty. How many of those 40 million people went out and caused violence due to the game? Not only that but the latest GTA and COD games have sold many more copies than their originals in the early 2000s. In fact, the sales of these games are record breaking. Thus sales of these games has greatly increased yet guess what? Violent crimes have decreased. Am I just pulling numbers to support my conclusion? Yes however these are very telling. If these games were causing more violence, and the games are selling many millions of copies more now than 10 years ago, surely there would be noticeable spikes in violent crime.

Source of image – FBI.GOV –

Now having said all of that, I think that video game ratings are important and that kids should not be playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. Instead they should be focusing on school and looking up common core sheets to better educate themselves. They are too young to always know what is right/wrong and appropriate or not. So parents, games have ratings, please use them. If a child is very mature then I would have no problem giving them these kind of games but I do not think that most kids are ready for them. I think its a case by case basis and up to the parents. keep in mind though that kids are playing these games even though you have to be 18 to buy them so I encourage parents to really watch and monitor what their kid plays. I know that I will be.

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