By Amanda Kaplowitz ’19
The results of a study conducted by Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire between 2010 and 2017 were published on Oct. 1, 2018, and revealed evidence linking violent video games to physical aggression in teens who frequently play them.
According to USA Today, 24 studies that sampled teens ages nine to 19 were analyzed, and Jay Hull, the lead author of the study and a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth, found that “players may practice riskier behaviors such as reckless driving, binge drinking, smoking and unsafe sex.”
Although the study did not find a direct link between playing violent video games, such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, and actual criminal behavior, it verified that people who play these games are “more likely to exhibit behavior such as being sent to the principal’s office for fighting or hitting a non-family member.”
Chad Knight ’19, a player of the popular video game “Fortnite,” believes that aggressive people tend to play violent video games and can exhibit aggressive behavior regardless of their gaming.
“I think [that] there are aggressive and violent kids who enjoy playing violent video games because they themselves are violent” Knight said. “I don’t think that just because a video game shows a violent act that it will turn into [the player’s] behavior.”
“Call of Duty” and “Fortnite” player Noah Fraas ’22 agreed with Knight and does not think that playing violent video games leads to aggression.
“I don’t think that teens get more aggressive from playing these games. I play them with my friends and they don’t affect us.” Fraas said. “We know that it’s all fake and part of the game.”
There has been a lot of controversy regarding this topic. In 2015 the American Psychological Association reportedly found a link between violent video games and increased aggression in players. However, before the Dartmouth study, there was insufficient research to reach a legitimate conclusion.
Researchers are still searching for answers as to exactly why and for what type of players violent games have these effects, but this research confirms that there is, in fact, a link.