New Study Demonstrates Link Between Video Games and Juvenile Violence


Iowa State University says that new research evidence demonstrates a link between video games and youth violence and delinquency. Sociology Prof. Matt DeLisi said the research shows a strong connection even when controlling for a history of violence and psychopathic traits among juvenile offenders. “When critics say, 'Well, it's probably not video games, it's probably how antisocial they are,' we can address that directly because we controlled for a lot of things that we know matter,” DeLisi said. “Even if you account for the child's sex, age, race, the age they were first referred to juvenile court [ ] and a bunch of other media effects, like screen time and exposure. Even with all of that, the video game measure still mattered.” The study in the April issue of Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice examined the level of video game exposure for 227 juvenile offenders in Pennsylvania. The average offender had committed nearly nine serious acts of violence in a year. The results show that both the frequency of play and affinity for violent games were strongly associated with delinquent and violent behavior. Psychology Prof. Craig Anderson said violent video game exposure is not the sole cause of violence, but it is a risk factor. “Can we say from this study that Adam Lanza, or any of the others, went off and killed people because of media violence? You can't take the stand of the NRA that it's strictly video games and not guns,” he said. “You also can't take the stand of the entertainment industry that it has nothing to do with media violence that it's all about guns and not about media violence. They're both wrong and they're both right, both are causal risk factors.”

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