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News Article

New study sparks call for revised games guidelines
Thursday, December 13, 2012

A study to be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology has found that playing violent video games is linked to long-term aggressive behaviour – suggesting that Australia’s new softer games guidelines are a mistake, says FamilyVoice Australia research officer Ros Phillips. 

Researchers from the US, France, Germany and the Netherlands collaborated in the study, which is entitled: “The more you play, the more aggressive you become: A long-term experimental study of cumulative violent video game effects on hostile expectations and aggressive behavior”.  See http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103112002259 

Study co-author Dr Brad Bushman says: “Playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes.  A single cigarette won't cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk.”

Ros Phillips said that new games guidelines come into effect throughout Australia on 1 January 2013.  They include an additional R18+ category which allows more violence, sex, foul language and nudity than previous guidelines – despite an earlier promise by the nation’s attorneys general that this would not happen.

“Authoritative research increasingly shows that violent video games are bad news for the community,” Mrs Phillips said.  “Unlike films, games are interactive – and in violent games, the player ‘becomes’ the aggressor, repeating the violent acts again and again.  

“It is not rocket science to conclude that we need more violent games like we need a hole in the head,” she said.

“When parents called for an R18+ category last year, they wanted the more violent games already in the MA15+ category moved into an adults-only category.  They didn’t want Australia to allow adult games with more violence, sexual violence and foul language than ever before.  But that’s what we have ended up with.

“All state, territory and federal attorneys-general need to get together and insist on a guidelines rewrite,” Ros Phillips said.


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