Decade-Long Study Finds No Link Between Violent Behaviour And Video Games

by : Daniel Richardson on : 04 Jan 2021 16:14
Decade-Long Study Finds No Link Between Violent Behaviour And Video GamesDecade-Long Study Finds No Link Between Violent Behaviour And Video GamesRockstar Games/Activision

Video games have been associated with violent behaviour for a long time. However, a study has finally disposed of the fictional link between games and violence. 

Children often find it hard to justify the purchase of the latest action game, particularly if their parents believe it will lead to violent behaviour in real life. For many, the source of the commonly believed myth that action games lead to violent behaviour is the tragic 1999 Columbine High School massacre. The school shooting shocked the world and led many to believe that media was to blame for the actions of two students.


A study has now found that the connection between video game gore and real-life behaviour is practically non-existent.

Grand Theft AutoGrand Theft AutoRockstar Games

A study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, entitled ‘Growing Up with Grand Theft Auto: A 10-Year Study of Longitudinal Growth of Violent Video Game Play in Adolescents’, followed young gamers for 10 years to see if the game impacted them. The study took an individual-centric approach that looked at participants by using algorithms across variables like gender, socioeconomic status and other factors. This meant that variables that happen to an individual are accounted for.

The group consisted of 65% Caucasian, 12% Black, 19% multi-ethnic, and 4% other ethnic identity individuals. All of which were from a ‘large north-western city’. The study found that boys tended to play bloody video games more than girls, and it also identified three subsets of behaviour.


In the study, there were ‘high-initial violence players’ that made up 4% of the study and were labelled as such because they played a lot of violent games at an early age. Conversely, there were the categories ‘moderate initial violence’ (23% of the study) and ‘low initial violence’ (73% of the study).


The study found that ‘high-initial violence player’ gradually played less violent games over the course of 10 years, and interestingly were more likely to be depressed when they chose to play bloody games. Despite this, the study found that there is ‘no difference in prosocial behaviour at the final time point across all the three groups.’

It seems that violent games do not have lasting effects on players, although those who are low may be more attracted to the action-based titles. With this study in mind, many gamers will now hope that the myths surrounding video game violence begin to dissipate. Nonetheless, kids asking for graphic games should still be prepared for a firm no from parents.


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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. Through working with the likes of Game Rant, The Hook and What Culture, Dan pursued his interests in technology. The skills he picked up along the way are now being utilised with UNILAD.

Topics: Gaming, violence


Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
  1. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

    Growing Up with Grand Theft Auto: A 10-Year Study of Longitudinal Growth of Violent Video Game Play in Adolescents