A new study was released that connects video game violence with real world violence.
Ohio State University’s Department of Psychology released findings from a year long study on children. Their focus: the effects of video game violence in real world application.
For decades people have been looking at the correlation between the hack, slash, stab, and shoot worlds created in digital games and children’s behavior around actual firearms. This study seeks to prove that the correlation not only exists, but that there is causation.
The study focused on children 8-12 years old. The sample was 220 children and patterns were observed from July 2017 to July 2018. The main findings support the theory that exposure to guns and violence in video games can encourage a child’s dangerous curiosity around firearms.
It becomes a test of the question: Do violent video games create violent children, or are children attracted to violent games because they already have a predisposition to violence? Another issue with this study, after an initial review, is that it takes external factors out of play. There’s no mention of adult intervention or supervision. If a child’s only exposure to a firearm is digital and the use inconsequential, then handling a firearm would simply be an extension of that. It would not be a display of a need for violence. Its simple exploration.
The understanding would be that parents should communicate with their children about violence and firearms. If this takes place, children should be more careful and aware. Firearms are not inherently dangerous, unsafe use of them is.
The one thing this study does shed light on is the need for communication. Allowing young children to play violent video games does pose a dangerous risk if its done without communication. There are ratings on games with intent, and 8-12 does not fall into the Teen or Mature ESRB Rating. Encouraging a child to play a game that is above their age level is simply irresponsible.