Video games and aggression: a complex relationship

Our new study on the associations between playing shoot-em-ups at a young age and aggression in adolescence highlights a complex link, surprising no one that actually plays video games

It was a headline in the Daily Mail that started it. ‘Computer games leave children with ‘dementia’, warns top neurologist’. It was annoying, because (a) there’s no evidence that games cause dementia in kids, and (b) the top neurologist wasn’t a neurologist. Scaremongering stories about the clear-cut negative effects of video games crop up in the news far too often, but when you start to dig into the evidence behind the claims, the story becomes murky. So rather than simply moan about the problem, Suzi Gage and I, along with some colleagues from the University of Bristol and UCL, decided to do some research for ourselves.

A few years later, and the fruits of our labour have just been published in PLOS ONE. Using data from the Children of the 90s study, we set out to answer a (seemingly) simple question: is there an association between playing violent video games at young age, and aggressive behaviour during teenage years?

Related: What is the link between violent video games and aggression? | Pete Etchells

Related: Violent video games research: consensus or confusion? | Pete Etchells & Chris Chambers

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