Violent Video Games Do NOT Contribute to Youth Violence

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Although violent video games are thought to encourage real world violence, they actually help to prevent it. I am focusing on violent video games and how they affect juveniles because I feel that this issue needs to be looked at in the criminal justice community. It is an unnecessary distraction to blame the actions of a disturbed youth on a form of entertainment that has been used by millions of people without incident. A review article published in The Psychiatric Quarterly found that many studies which claim to indicate an increase in aggression due to video games are, in fact, biased! Once the bias is taken into account, the studies no longer find any correlation between youths who play violent video games and youths who demonstate aggression and violent behavior. (Ferguson, 2014)

There are those who believe that playing video games that are violent cause a reduction in brain response to real life violence. This is because the violent game affects a part of the brain hypothesized to cause desensitization. It is then thought that this “desensitization” to violence predicts that those who play these games will become violent themselves later. (Bartholow, Bushman, Sestir, 2006) This is a blanket assumption based on an affect seen on a part of the brain that is not yet proven to control “desensitization.” Admittedly I am not a scientist, but I find it difficult to make the leap from “proven desensitization” to predicted future violence.


The debate about media violence has been going on for hundreds of years. The newest form of media being scrutinized is videogames. I will be taking you through this debate and sharing with you some things that you may find surprising. This is not a new topic and has ...

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Ferguson, C.J., Olson, C.K. Video game use among “vulnerable” populations: The impact of violent games on delinquency and bullying among children with clinically elevated depression or attention deficit symptoms. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 2014.

Olson, C.K., Kutner, L.A., & Warner, D.E. The role of violent video game content in adolescent development: Boys’ perspectives. Journal of Adolescent Research, January 2008, pages 55-75.

ScienceDaily, "Could Violent Video Games Reduce Rather Than Increase Violence?" 2009

Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

Snyder, Howard N., and Sickmund, Melissa. 2006. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.

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