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Study Confirms Link Between Violent Video Games And Physical Aggression

For many years, there has been a lot of debate about whether violent video games contribute to the violent behavior of it's players. Some will say that there is no correlation between the two; if video game players become more violent, it is just a coincidence. But people will often see through the argument against the correlation and at least admit that there could be some sort of connection between the two. Well, now we have a little bit more of a definitive answer; there is a direct correlation between the level of violence in video games and the violent behavior of the players.

An international study of more than 17,000 adolescents between the ages of 9 and 19 confirmed the long-held belief. Analyzing studies from 24 countries, including the United States, Japan, Canada and Germany, and spanning from 2010 until 2017, it was discovered that playing violent video games led to increased physical aggression over time. Games such as "Grand Theft Auto," "Call of Duty," and "Manhunt," were all found to contribute to their players' increased likelihood to exhibit behaviors that would get them sent to the principal's office for fighting, or hitting a non family member.

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While this isn't the most definitive study on the topic, it is extensive enough to make a significant amount of impact. And the fact that it does give validation to those who have always seen some sort of correlation between the two is also very important. This debate has been decades long, and having even the smallest amount of evidence to prove the point will hopefully get more on board with the idea. In the United States, where the link between the two has been a long debated issue, this study can lead to some real headway being made on the subject.

Credit: iStock / djedzura

In 2011, late Supreme Court judge Antonin Scalia dismissed the link between violent video games and physical aggression as a part of the court decision to overturn California's ban on the sale of violent video games to minors. In spite of Scalia's belief of the contrary, an American Psychological Association task force report in 2015 found the direct link between violent video games and increased physical aggression between those who play. What they couldn't find though, was enough evidence to provide the correlation between violent video games and criminal activity.

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"A lot of people ask, do these games really cause these kids to behave aggressively? I would say that is one possibility," said Jay Hull, lead author of the study and associate dean of faculty for the social sciences at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and the Dartmouth Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

He warns that parents should be careful about not only letting their kids play these games, but also keep an eye on the behavior if they are playing these games.

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