Playing Video Games Doesn’t Lead To Violent Behaviour, Study Shows

by : Emily Brown on : 22 Jul 2020 13:08
Playing Video Games Doesn't Lead To Violent Behaviour, Study ShowsPlaying Video Games Doesn't Lead To Violent Behaviour, Study ShowsRockstar Games/Shutterstock

An analysis of data gathered from more than 21,000 young people has found that playing video games does not lead to violent behaviour. 


Video games have often been blamed for expressions of aggression, whether it’s because they can encourage competitive behaviour, feature fights or the use of guns, or allow controversial acts to take place without repercussion.

President Donald Trump has previously cited video games as a cause of mass shootings, saying that that ‘gruesome and grisly’ titles glorify violence.

Playing Video Games Doesn't Lead To Violent Behaviour, Study ShowsPlaying Video Games Doesn't Lead To Violent Behaviour, Study ShowsPixabay

Numerous studies have looked into the link between video games and aggressive behaviour, and a group of researchers, led by Aaron Drummond from New Zealand’s Massey University, recently re-examined much of this data in a method known as meta-analysis.


The data included 28 studies dating back to 2008, and when bundled together they showed a statistically significant but minuscule positive correlation between gaming and aggression, below the threshold required to count as even a ‘small effect’, The Guardian reports.

The report, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, stated:

Thus, current research is unable to support the hypothesis that violent video games have a meaningful long-term predictive impact on youth aggression.


The various studies reported a range of effects, with around a quarter reporting a small positive correlation between violence and video-game use, one study finding a negative correlation and the rest reaching no overall conclusion.

One argument against video games claims that frequent, small negative impacts can accumulate over time, suggesting if a player ends every game slightly more aggressive then that might add up to a meaningful change in temperament. However, the study found no evidence for this claim, instead finding evidence pointing in the opposite direction.

Another study, cited by Futurity, suggested that players may exhibit hostile behaviour due to feelings of failure and frustration during play, rather than a game’s violent content.

Video gamesVideo gamesPixabay

Drummond and his team found studies consistently revealed the ‘long-term impacts of violent games on youth aggression are near zero.’

The authors added:

We call on both individual scholars as well as professional guilds such as the American Psychological Association to be more forthcoming about the extremely small observed relationship in longitudinal studies between violent games and youth aggression.

So there you have it; 12 years of research indicates that playing video games won’t increase or encourage violent behaviour, so it’s about time we put the argument to rest once and for all.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Gaming, Now, PlayStation, video games, violence, Xbox


The Guardian and 1 other
  1. The Guardian

    Playing video games doesn't lead to violent behaviour, study shows

  2. Futurity