Are Video Games Making Us Violent?

As a boy who grew up in the mid-2000s, I have and continue to play a lot of video games, many of which are violent in nature. They help me relieve stress, are a fun way to spend free time, and have overall been a great part of my childhood and beyond. However, some critics, such as disbarred attorney Jack Thompson and former presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, say that violent video games are to blame for many of society’s problems. Mr. Thompson has gone so far as to call violent video games, such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, “murder simulators”. While almost everyone can agree that this is an extreme exaggeration, many do believe that there is at least a minor link between playing video game and violent personality traits. So what’s the truth?


An article from the New York Times gathered together several different experiments that test the effects of violent video games. One study from Iowa State University gathered two groups of students, had one group play 15 minutes of Mortal Kombat and the other do nothing, then asked them to put hot sauce on food for students who did not like spicy food. The consensus was that the students who had played the game had given significantly more hot sauce than the students who had not. Another study found that high school aged boys who played violent games were involved in a higher number of schoolyard fights than those who didn’t. While both of these studies seem to point to video games causing more aggression in adolescents, the real answer is not so clear cut. According to government statistics cited by the Times, violent youth crimes have fallen dramatically during the span in which violent games have risen to prominence. So why do the studies suggest the opposite? The results of those studies could be due to chance or the file drawer problem.


In summary, it cannot be known for sure whether violent video games are causing the youth of today to be more aggressive and predisposed to crime. Many studies have been done and many more will likely be done in the future, but the true answer is anyone’s guess. In my opinion, video games are fine in moderation and when used by people of the appropriate age.

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6 thoughts on “Are Video Games Making Us Violent?

  1. Mya Legend Avant

    I think that something that could support the idea of video games leading to violence is something I learned about in crimonolgy. In one of our class we talked about socia learning theories and if these theories are accurate than it is likely true that vedio games lead to violence. Social learning theories suggest that we are all born with a clean slate and we become deviant or criminal only through learning. Being as though video games have become increasing violent and popular this would lend it self to social learning theory. As young children play these video games and are introduce to violence they are more likely to partake in violence. So while it may not be certain that video games lead to violence, if you believe is social learning theories, it is very likely they do.

  2. Brett Alan Merritt

    I did a post very similar to this one last blog period. I found similar results as well and tend to agree with your stance on video games. In the hot sauce example, do you think that the people who played the video games and added more hot sauce may just be people who would normally do the same thing whether they played the games or not?

  3. Patrick Winch

    When I was in middle school and high school, my mom was always so against Call of Duty. Her main point was that the game series would desensitize me to things like violence and death. I understood where she was coming from, but I told her that honestly the only reason I wanted to play those games in the first place was so that I could talk to my friends online while playing. We would laugh together and even bond over a video game. But as I got older, I learned that there were much better ways to bond with friends than over a violent game. The article I found talks about the effect of video games on the developing brain.

  4. Joshua Righter

    I agree with Arianna in that you should have gone into more detail about the government statistics that were cited by Time. It would have offered more insight on the issue of violent video games making us violent in real life. Also it would have validated your point further in that we do not know for sure that video games do or do not cause us to be violent. I find it really interesting in how scientists come up with ways in which to research topics like this. I would have never thought to involve hot sauce in seeing if violent video games caused us to be violent.

  5. Arianna L Del Valle

    This is a highly debated topic, and for good reason! Maybe aggression in people who play violent video games is just a correlation. There can be third variables woven in as well, such as the environment the person grew up in or momentary actions. The juxtaposition between high violent video game purchases and low crime is interesting as well, I would’ve liked to read a bit more about that on your post. Nice topic choice!

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