Do video games make you violent?

This question is often posed by the general media, and causes anxiety for the general public, particularly parents. Stories usually involve dramatic acts of extreme violence (hostage taking, killings), often accompanied by suicide of the author. It is often reported that the person is skilled in or "addicted" to violent video games. Furthermore, it is frequently reported that there are relationship difficulties between family members. Research into video games and the Internet shows that exposure to violent games can increase aggressive thoughts. However, these observations should be interpreted with caution. Indeed, choosing to play violent games can provide information about the emotional state of the player. They may choose to play as an attempt to channel feelings of anger. In this circumstance, playing has a protective effect and may reduce the risk of violence rather than increasing it. Moreover, use of video games can be considered as a message to adults to respond, when a young person is looking for affirmation and autonomy. We should highlight that there is no statistical information showing a link between criminality or

suicide and violent video games! Finally, whilst different studies suggest a link between violent behaviour and intensive use of video games, the causality is not understood. Other studies have shown that parents and other family members are sometimes poorly informed of the content of a child`s or spouse`s favourite video games.

bandeau bottom CJE - Centre du jeu excessif UNIGE - Université de Genève IMSP - Institut de Médecine Sociale et Préventive CHUV - Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois

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