The debate on video games and violence has been raging for many years. A new report from the Swedish Media Council has summarized the research so far and concludes that there is no proof that violent games lead to aggressive behavior.
The reports ”våldsamma datorspel och aggression” [violent games and aggression] was published earlier today by the Swedish Media Council and goes through the research on the subject over the last decade, from 2000 to 2011. Among others the Swedish Media Council has gathered reports and studies published in International research magazines, relating to violent games and the effects on children’s aggression .
The Swedish Media Council has concluded that many of the 161 articles had problems in the execution and procedure. For example, they used different methods for measurement of aggression before and after the gaming session, when you need to use the exact same methods to be able to draw any kind of serious conclusion. Only 5 of all studies had used the same methods before and after the gaming session.
There were many lacks in other areas of the studies and surveys that have been made through the years, including laboratory test that cannot be extrapolated to real-life situations. Or simply ignored external aspects as the background and family situation of the subjects.
The conclusion according to the Swedish Media Council is that there is no proof that violent video games lead to aggressive behavior. Measuring raised opinions and feelings of aggression after gaming cannot be directly connected to violent actions, while at the same time the aggression that does arise may very well have a deeper foundation and cause.
”If the research can’t give us an easy answer as to whether games make children aggressive then perhaps we, the adults, should stop judging the games children play from the point if they are violent or not. Instead we should ask the questions that the research never will be able to answer: which values, norms and ideas do we want to impose on our children”, says Ulf Dalquist, Head of research at the Swedish Media Council.
Instead it has found that aggressive persons often turn to violent games. It can’t be excluded that there is no connection between aggressive behavior and violent games, but if there is a connection it is a very weak effect compared to other factors that affect the coming of violent behavior in children and adults.