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News Article

Violent games make violent kids
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Violent games make violent kids

FamilyVoice Australia                  Media Release                     2 March 2010

Research published yesterday by the American Psychological Association, analysing 130 studies worldwide, has proved conclusively that exposure to violent computer games affects youth behaviour:  http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2010/mar/vvgeffects

The meta-analysis by psychology professor Dr Craig Anderson of Iowa State University was published in the 1 March 2010 edition of the Psychological Bulletin, a journal of the American Psychological Association.

Dr Anderson and his colleagues found that playing violent video/computer games makes kids more aggressive and less caring, regardless of their age, sex or culture.   They found that exposure of youth (of junior primary school age to college undergraduates) to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive thoughts and behaviour, and decreased empathy and pro-social behaviour.

“We can now say with utmost confidence that regardless of research method – that is experimental, correlational, or longitudinal – and regardless of the cultures tested in this study [East and West], you get the same effects,” said Dr Anderson, who is also director of Iowa State University's Center for the Study of Violence.

“And the effects are that exposure to violent video games increases the likelihood of aggressive behaviour in both short-term and long-term contexts.  Such exposure also increases aggressive thinking and aggressive affect, and decreases pro-social behaviour," Dr Anderson said.

R-rated games are an issue in the South Australian elections on 20 March

In 1995, attorneys-general throughout Australia banned R-rated computer or video games because of evidence indicating their dangers – now conclusively confirmed by US research.   R-rated games have a greater impact on the player than R-rated films, because the games force the player to identify with the aggressor and to practise each step of violent acts over and over again.

SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has strongly supported the ban because of this evidence – but is under threat from SA gamers who want the R-rated ban lifted.  They are standing against him in his lower house seat of Croydon and are also hoping to win seats in the upper house.

FamilyVoice Australia has surveyed the major SA parties on their computer game policies:

Labor: supports the current R-rated ban to protect public safety.

FamilyFirst: supports the current R-rated ban to protect public safety.

Liberal: still considering a computer game policy – will decide later (probably after the election).

Greens: still considering a computer game policy – but likely to oppose the current R-rated ban.


  • Government and society

View next article - Julia Gillard, please note: new study shows abstinence education works best


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