The analysis looking at more than 17,000 adolescents across 24 previously conducted studies has found that violent video games cause players to become more physically aggressive.
The "metaanalysis" was published earlier this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looking into video game players aged nine to 19 between the years 2010 to 2017. The analysis covers studies from countries such as the US, Germany, and Japan, with people who had played games of this nature said to be more likely to engage in physical fights at school or hit non-family members.
Jay Hull, lead author of the study, said "Based on our findings, we feel it is clear that violent video game play is associated with subsequent increases in physical aggression". He says that the effect is "relatively small, but statistically reliable. The effect does exist."
The topic of violent games having an obvious impact on a player's real-life actions has been something of a hot topic for a while now, with occasional mumblings within the media or from concerned parents claiming games to be potentially responsible for violent acts or criminal offences, and those who play games being quick to defend their favourite hobby. USA Today reports that "there's not [any] research suggesting violent video games lead to criminal behaviour", although Hull's previous studies have found that "players may practice riskier behaviours"
Of course, all actions, thoughts, and feelings experienced by a player after playing a video game of any sort are completely individual to that specific player - something which the report acknowledges and hopes will be explored further in the future. While playing violent games won't have a negative impact on all players, the study aims to highlight the fact that they can have an influence and that more steps need to be taken.
"We hope these findings will assist the field in moving past the question of whether violent video games increase aggressive behavior, and toward questions regarding why, when, and for whom they have such effects."
With Fortnite currently taking the world by storm, and other violent games such as DOOM and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus gracing Nintendo's platform in recent times, we're surrounded by games of a violent nature on a daily basis. For many of us, this has no obvious effect, and playing these games can be an enjoyable, innocent pastime like no other; for some, however, it would seem that the consequences can be a little more serious.
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