Video Games and Violent Behavior: Is There a Link?


So I did a little research on the link between video games and violent behavior for a school project a little while ago and I think it'd be a bit of a waste not to share my thoughts on it.

Video Games and Violent Behavior: Is There a Link?

T.V shows and movies have become increasingly violent as technology continues to advance and special effects become more and more realistic. Audiences are constantly on the edge of their seats as the violence ramps up in these media. When it comes to video games, however, the audience is much stricter; even moderate violence in video games these days sparks some controversy. It would make sense that an audience that accepts the level of gruesome and often times gross violence in film, would accept the not nearly graphic violent activities in video games, but this is not the case.

There are a number of examples of violent video games and majority of them have come under some sort of fire. The Grand Theft Auto series has perhaps become the most controversial in recent years as it is of the most violent video game series to date. Grand Theft Auto is by no means a game for the underage or the soft of heart. It allows players to commit some pretty extreme acts of violence for no reason at all and it plays heavily around gang violence. In fact there have been a lot of research over the years to link video game violence to violent behavior. Zoe Kleinman wrote an article for BBC which talks about the research of the American Psychological Association whom reviewed various researches conducted between 2003 and 2013.

Video Games and Violent Behavior: Is There a Link?

All forms of media (film and video games) have one their own rating system that dictate who can view or play a particular film and game, and to that end it is the responsibility of the person purchasing the media to be informed as to what they are getting into either for themselves or for whomever it is they're buying it for. More often than not it is parents that are foaming at the mouth about the violence in video games after blindly going out and buying whatever their child wants. Parents need to know what it is that they are buying their children or they have no one to blame but themselves when they began complaining that their child is turning into some sort of hooligan-which can probably be attributed more to their own parenting than some fictional video game.

In an article written by Brad J. Bushman, “The effects of violent video games. Do they affect our behavior?” He offers his thoughts on certain research that would seem to suggest that video games lead to violent or anti-social behavior. However he also offers counter claims to such evidence saying that “It is difficult to know the direct cause of the assault. Was it playing violent video games for hours on end, or was it something else?” basically saying that while violent video games may be a risk factor that it is difficult to say if it was the direct cause for the behavior being observed.

Video Games and Violent Behavior: Is There a Link?

Greg Toppo also weighed in on the discussion in his article, “Do Video Games inspire Violent Behavior?” In his article he talks about the origins of the claims themselves and how recent horrible acts of violence such as the Sandy Hook incident sparked a lot of high emotions, and some aimed their emotions at video games. In a section titled “In Brief” he states that “Research has failed to show a casual relation between playing violent games and perpetrating violent acts”. There is truly no concrete evidence for anyone to assume that violence in video games is worse than violence in movies or T.V. It is also worth noting that majority of research that may suggest that video games lead to violent behavior have been discredited by academic peers for stacking the odds or using methods which could not fully substantiate the validity of it's own results.


Kleinman, Zoe, “Do video games make people violent?” BBC News (2015). Web.

Toppo, Greg, “Do video games inspire violent behavior?” Web. (2015)

Burshman J. Brad, “The effects of violence video games. Do they effect our behavior?” Web. (2014)

Video Games and Violent Behavior: Is There a Link?
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Most Helpful Girl

  • Jehovahkiin
    There is some empirical evidence suggesting a correlative relationship between violent behaviour and playing violent video games, however a causative relationship has yet to be established. Usually, when a minor commits a crime (under the assumption that they play video games), there is already a susceptibility to violent behaviour, as well as other environmental factors which could range from a dysfunctional home life to social difficulties.

    A common argument is for video games causing violent behaviour would be the “Bobo Doll Experiment”. In short, the experiment produced results which pointed to the social learning theory phenomena, which implies that children learn behaviour from what they observe in adults around them. There have been replications since then which further contribute to the notion that children have the tendency to act more violent, if adults around them are more violent.

    With that in mind, I stress again the lack of any causative relationship between violent video games and violent behaviour. It’s true that children are easily impressionable, but applying such a correlation is totally different when dealing with adults or adolescents, as children are inherently malleable to pretty much anything.
    However, social influences and genetic susceptibility play a much significant role than video games in influencing their behaviour. Video games MAY contribute to violent behaviour, but as of know, it isn’t conclusive and even if it were, the role it plays is essentially negligible.

    Source: Psychology minor
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Guy

  • madhatters4
    there is certainly a like between exposure to violence and violent behavior. whether that violence is seen in the real world, tv, movies, music, theater or video games, exposure to violence can have a causal effect on violent behavior.

    but there is also a lot of evidence that decent parenting can thwart the influence of video games. so parents having conversations to explain the difference between media and real life can do everything to combat potential violent behavior based on what a persons sees in society and media
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • DreamConfections
    Is There a Link?
    I think yes:

    But it is always "depends" on person, like many other things.
  • Phoenix98
    No there is no direct link between violent games and shows or movies and violent behavior this has been proven quite a few times. If there is any link at all there has to be a undying problem that exists with the person beforehand like a mental disorder.

    But violent games and shows will not make a sane, mentally sound person become violent.

    With that being said it can and will desensitize you from the violence but it won't actually cause you to become violent.
  • anonman32
    well if people that play violent video games are violent then people who recreate military scenarios with paintball and airsoft guns are murder machines. they use actual military equipment soldiers also use. and various armies across the world recently became interested in training with airsoft guns due to its realism.
    Like 1 Person
  • aficionado
    I have played INSANELY violent video games for almost 2 decades now, but I'm among the most gentle people you'll ever come across! ;)
  • SnowHearth
    There is no relation between violence and video games.
    Somone made a reseach about violence and media, but it was later debunked.
  • Centerino
    There may well be some correlation on certain individuals, but I have played video games for twenty one years and in the last act of violence I was involved in was in 2001 aged 12 when I was physically attacked first and tried to defend myself.

    It's funny how governments and people constantly need scapegoats isn't it? I remember when music was the #1 enemy and movies. Now it's video games, then it's pornography, next it'll be something else.

    People must start taking responsibility for their actions.
    • bilove

      Oh? I've only ever heard faint things about the porn industry, whats the story behind that one?

  • Shakespear420
    I think that a healthy individual will be no more inclined to violence than one who doesn't play violent games, but that unstable individuals conditions can be exacerbated by such displays. Those who do become violent are not violent because of video games but rather vice versa, they seek out games with violence because they like it. it's seen as "cool" to get the latest game where you can pay a hooker and shoot her too. I think for a game to have any affect on an individual they must be innatly inclined toward belligerant behavior.
  • KittieCat
    I was violent to begin with so I doubt it. If anything it had the reverse effect
  • Fathoms77
    Having worked as a journalist in the game industry for years, I'm familiar with the argument. It stretches all the way back to Mortal Kombat and the advent of the rating system.

    I've done a lot of research on it myself and I've interviewed everyone from therapists and psychologists to various mental health professionals, and my takeaway is that we absolutely should have a rating system, and all violent media can be extremely jading and desensitizing, which has already been proven a dozen times over. As for directly causing violent behavior... no, there needs to be something else wrong first, like a disability or emotional disorder of some kind.
  • Chocofied
    Everything is exposed nowadays including porn
  • Supersonic_Sex_Ninja
    Leave video games alone.
  • Anonymous
    i truly do not believe there is any link between the 2..

    people in america are playing violent video games and america has mass shootings seemingly every day..

    Canadians are playing the same violent video games and watching the same violent movies as americans and i dont see all the violence there