VIDEO GAME VIOLENCE: Will it affect my Child’s Behavior?

Research on Video Games and Aggressive Behavior

There has been a lot of debate about whether or not violence in video games can lead to an increase in maladaptive behaviors in children. As much as parents want to try to keep children and adolescents away from violent games, many children will find a way to play them. One research study revealed that approximately 70 % of American teenage boys between the ages of 13-17 have played the violent videogame Grand Theft Auto, in which the goal of the game is to steal cars and murder people. Another research study indicated that the less exposure that children have to violent games, the less aggressive behavior the children exhibit. Furthermore, a rather large research study concluded that aggressive video games lead to aggressive behaviors in children.

The question remains as to whether or not children who play violent video games are at increased risk to exhibit aggressive behavior; or is it that aggressive children tend to want to engage in aggressive activities? Regardless of the causality of preference for violent games and aggressive behavior, it is important to recognize that the children who play these violent games are at increased risk to be aggressive. 

Regulations on Video Game Violence

The government has already required video games to have a rating (ranging from E for Everyone to A for Adult) Ideally, children and adolescents would not be able to purchase video games with a certain rating scale; however, that has not been the case. The enforcement of this rating scale has been minimal at best and is really dependent upon the individual store employee.

How To Avoid Video Game Violence In Your Home

If we want to curb exposure of violence to children, we have to make sure that these children do not have access to the games. It is also the responsibility of parents to be aware of what games their children are playing. Parents should routinely check in with other parents to see what games their children may be playing at friend’s houses. Parents: have your children show you the games they are playing. Spend time with your children and play the games with them. As research demonstrates, the results of their choices in video games can be critical to their social interactions.

I would love to know:

  • If you allow your child to play violent video games, have you seen increased aggressiveness?

  • What are some great non- violent games that your child plays that is rated E?



3 replies
  1. maureen Evans
    maureen Evans says:

    I think Dr. Greg poses two very interesting questions. Yes, I think that children who constantly play violent video games are more aggressive, sleep less and are at risk for compulsive and addictive behaviors. Every Spring for one week our school district has “TV Tune-out” and this includes video games. Parents report that giving up TV is simple, but giving up the video games is a real struggle. They report that their children seem to be at a loss for activities, act depressed are less socialized in the family unit, and they start to act out! It literally takes days to wean kids off of these games. That’s when the penny drops for most parents! Video games are addictive and promote aggressive behaviors and language, and they can also inhibit language growth as communication stops while kids are engaged in the video game. When did watching grand theft auto and murder become acceptable entertainment? Time to start moderating the use of these games. National Geographic has the best video games of all! Challenging, and the graphics are fantastic!!

    • John
      John says:

      I think that video games have a rating for a reason. If ur child cannot handle the graphic behavior in an m rated game then you as a parent should not buy it for them. Its not the games fault it is the fault of a person not haveing the control or be mature enough to play a game without letting it control there life. so you parents thinking its the video games fault well its your fault for buying the games for your kids. take responsibility.

  2. Robyn
    Robyn says:

    This is great information! Esspecially since games are not only on game consoles any more, but also on cell phones and computers.


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