The lives of some myths are longer than the combined lives of cats and Mario. We all feel the same way when we see someone blaming video games for everything that shocks the world. Video games are easy targets. It’s easier to blame them for someone acting violently than to deal with the mess of interrelated reasons and terrible gun control policies that contributed to the incident. This doesn’t mean we should let go of our critical thinking just because we want easy answers.
Some parents are always concerned about their kids playing video games, but new research indicates that violent video games do not trigger actual violence in kids. According to a reanalysis of data collected from more than 21,000 young people worldwide, video games do not lead to violence or aggression. Aaron Drummond, a research scientist from Massey University in New Zealand, led the analysis of 28 studies that looked at aggression and video gaming in previous years, a method known as meta-analysis. The studies included in the research dated back to 2008 and reported a range of effects, including a slight positive correlation between violence and video-game use in around one-quarter of them and no overall conclusion in most of the rest, with one study in 2011 finding a negative correlation. The argument that gaming has a negative effect is that small harms can accumulate over time. If a player ends every game slightly more aggressively, this would cause a significant shift in temperament over time. The study, however, finds no evidence for such an accumulation, and in fact, it finds evidence that points in the opposite direction. Researchers consistently find that violent video games have no long-term impact on youth aggression.
Previous studies also found no correlation between violent video games and real-life violence. A possible link with violent video games is often brought up after mass shootings where the perpetrators were interested in the games. However, some experts argue that other factors, such as mental illness and easy access to guns, are more likely explanations for mass shootings. Donald Trump and several other politicians have blamed video games for mass shootings. In 2013, former President Barack Obama called for more government funding for video games and violence research.
Here are some hilarious memes that prove video games don’t cause actual violence. There are several other causes of violent behavior in gamers.