Admittedly, this blog title may be considered click-bait, but I hope you’ll forgive me and continue to read….
Back in the 80s and 90s there was a prevailing wind that blew quite strong suggesting that violent video games led to violent behavior in real life. These theories only grew when the tragic shooting at Columbine happened in 1999. Video games were the scape goat for that shooting and several others.
In facrt, there were several studies done that concluded vviolent video games led to violent behavior. Several years later however, those studies were debunked by other scientists. Those initial studies showed that people who had never played video games exhibited anxiety, anger and other negative feelings after just 30 minutes of game play. However, many questioned the validity of the studies themselves.
A few years later the study was redone and modified and looked at two different sets of people. The subjects in Group A were first trained for 30 minutes on how to play the video game and then measured for an hour of game play. The subjects in Group B were not trained in advance. The subjects in Group B exhibited the same emotional reactions as those observed in earlier studies. However, the subjects in Group A who had some basic training exhibited signs of elation, excitement and happiness after playing the video game. When questioned after the experiment, those in Group B were frustrated because they were not able to figure out the game, they were never successful at it and they felt helpless. Those in Group A however, found the game very enjoyable as they had a basic understanding of how to play and performed much better at completing the objectives of the game, leading them to feel like they had succeeded at something.
PBS News Hour has a great article from 2019 about violence and video games which explores more of the myths. The author looked at over 100 individual studies in drawing his conclusions. I encourage you to take a look: Analysis: Why it’s time to stop blaming video games for real-world violence