violent video games
Despite their huge popularity among young and adult players, video games continue to remain a controversial aspect in people's lives. One element researchers are most interested in when it comes to video games is the impact they have on children, namely how increasingly aggressive they become as they experience violent content.

A recent study by Iowa State University Researchers revealed that violent video games affect children no matter the culture. In order to prove that, they conducted a study on the effects of violent video games on the level of aggression in children from the United States and Japan over a 3 to 6 month period. The results have been published in detail in the November issue of Pediatrics.

The researchers, who based their findings on both American and Japanese children studies, concluded that violent video game play early in a school year leads to higher levels of aggression during the school year, as ISU Distinguished Professor of Psychology Craig Anderson, director of the Center for the Study of Violence, explained.

The researchers also dismissed a theory according to which the cultural differences between children in America and children in Japan also mean less overall violence in Japanese children who play video games, if we look at the difference in violence rates between the two countries. The conclusion was that Japanese children are just as effected by playing violent video games as American children.

"It is important to realize that violent video games do not create schools shooters," said ISU Assistant Professor of Psychology Douglas Gentile. "They create opportunities to be vigilant for enemies, to practice aggressive ways of responding to conflict and to see aggression as acceptable. In practical terms, that means that when bumped in the hallway, children begin to see it as hostile and react more aggressively in response to it."

This study however is just one side of the story in the quest of finding out how much power of influence video games have on children. In a study conducted by Australian researcher Grant Devilly last year, he found no evidence to link violence and video games.

Devilly found that children predisposed to violence, and who were more reactive to their environments, were also likely to change behavior after playing a violent video game. However, while some of them became aggressive, others did not.

Even Stephen King reacted to a Massachusetts bill according to which videogames depicting violence should not be sold to under-18 buyers, arguing that while some believe video games exist for one purpose only, "so kids can experience the vicarious thrill of killing," and children should not be under a constant barrage of violence and think it is all right, it is not the games that alter their minds, "as games are mere reflections of what goes around them in reality."