Violent Video Games Linked to Aggressive Behavior
WebMD News Archive
John Sherry, PhD, an assistant professor of communication at Purdue
University in Illinois, agrees. He analyzed the research on video game violence
while he was a doctoral student, which then included about 20 studies, and says
he found an "equivalent effect to what we get with television." But, he
says, the lack of long-term studies and these studies' failure to account for
individual differences means there is still no definitive answer.
Sherry that even if violent video games gave Klebold and Harris ideas about
carrying out their rampage, they would have probably committed some type of
violent act regardless of whether they had ever played these games.
"Think of what it would have taken to do what they did. For most people
it's unfathomable, so I don't think video games got them there," Sherry
tells WebMD. "So I think some people can play video games and it's a fun
pastime ? and some people are going to become more aggressive, so we really
need to sort out what types of people have what types of reactions."
Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software, the company that made Wolfenstein 3D,
calls the idea that violent video games are dangerous "a popular myth."
He cites an Australian government report that reviewed research on video games
up to 1999 and "failed to find evidence of strong links between play and
behavior, or play and self-concept."
Similarly, Doug Lowenstein, president of the Interactive Digital Software
Association (IDSA), says of the second study by Anderson and Dill, "how
long you blow a horn, I would submit to you, is a far cry from concluding that
that same person leaving a laboratory is likely to commit a physical, violent
act in the real world."
Lowenstein points out that most games are bought by adults and says
so-called "shooter games" make up just 3% of games sold. Further, he
says, some research shows some games may be more "cathartic" than
harmful. He also notes that there is a clearly worded rating system for video
games, which can help parents control what their children see.
Dill, who says she has personally spent "hours" involved in video
games, is not down on the concept, just the violence. "There are some good
video games that try to teach pro-social behaviors," she says. "Video
games themselves just seem to be incredibly engaging. ? I think it's just like
any medium; television can be wonderful or horrible, and so can video