Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Violent video games tied to higher aggression in kids

26 March 2014, 18:21

Abuja - Playing violent video games may be linked to violent thoughts and behaviour among kids, according to a new study.

The report, based on data from Singapore, found that kids who often play violent video games end up showing more aggression later on, and more often believe hitting is acceptable, than kids who don't play them. Parental monitoring of gaming didn't seem to lessen the association.

"Just like children's bodies can be affected by what they eat, their brains can be affected by what they repeatedly do," Douglas A. Gentile told Reuters Health in an email. He worked on the study at Iowa State University in Ames.

Amount of violence in games

Experts still debate whether there is a connection between violent video games and later aggressive behaviour, and if so, how the connection works. The three-year study included about 3000 kids ages eight to 17.

Each year, researchers asked the kids how often they played video games on weekdays and weekends, what three games were their favorites and how much violence was in those games. They also asked the kids if they would hit someone else when provoked.

Another set of questions addressed the kids' feelings about violence in general, whether they thought hitting was okay in some situations or if they ever daydreamed about hurting people. Kids also reported how much their parents were involved in controlling video game time.

Children who played more violent video games tended to have more fantasies about violence and to think violence in real life was more acceptable, according to results published in JAMA Paediatrics.

The effect was statistically small, but might be a serious issue for individual parents worried about their kids, Gentile said. The relationship seemed to be the same for boys and girls, for kids with and without a history of aggression and for kids with involved and uninvolved parents.

In studies conducted in the US, parental involvement has made a difference, so the culture of Singapore may have something to do with these results, Michele Ybarra, of the Centre for Innovative Public Health Research in San Clemente, California, told Reuters Health. "One reason may be that Singaporean parents don't vary as much as Americans – they all tend to be involved, so it's harder for our statistical processes to see what effect it has," Gentile said.

Not a very good study

Younger children seemed to have a larger increase in aggressive thoughts linked to video game play than older kids. It's tough for parents to know what to do based on this report, according to Christopher Ferguson, who researches the effects of media on behaviour at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.

"This is not a very good study," Ferguson told Reuters Health. "This data set has been criticized before." The study design, which followed kids over time and relied on their own reports, is similar to a study that the US Supreme Court rejected in 2011 as part of its ruling against banning the sale of violent games to minors, he said.

When researchers ask kids to report their own feelings and actions over time, certain kids may be more likely to admit to thoughts or actions, and that can skew the data, he said. He was surprised that for kids of such a young age, their parents weren't factored into the study.

"The research we have now has been very inconsistent," in terms of video games and aggression, Ferguson said. "There may be a connection to relatively minor acts of aggression, the equivalent of kids sticking their tongues out at each other. There is no evidence of a connection to bullying, fighting or school shootings, he said.

A growing consensus

But violent video games are a divisive area of research, said Ybarra. She thinks the new study does accurately characterize the relationship between video games, thoughts and actions, even though it relies on kids' self-reports.

"It depends on who you talk to," Ybarra said. "Some people think that there's a growing consensus (on video game-related violence), others think there's growing debate."

She believes there is a growing consensus that violent games may be tied to aggression, and that violent thoughts might be the intermediate step in the relationship.

"It seems odd to me that you would say there's no problem with showing kids violent media," she said. Ybarra agreed that it's hard to draw any real recommendations from this particular study. But, "it's probably a good idea to do what you can to limit your kids' exposure to violent video games," she said.

- Health24

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!


Intersex explained

26 October 2016, 08:38

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...