In a clinical trial carried out by Ohio State University to monitor the effects of video games on the actions of kids, it was found that violent video games influenced the behavior of the kids in the study. Researchers experimented with 220 kids aged 8 to 12. They were assigned to play one video game from a selection of three categories: (1) video games with gun violence; (2) video games with sword violence; or (3) video games with no violence.
After spending a designated amount of time with the video games, the kids were then taken to a separate room full of toys. They were then told they could play with any toy of their choice for 20 minutes before the adult in charge left the room and closed the door. Included in the room was a cabinet containing two disabled 9-mm handguns whose triggers were substituted with a counting device to measure the number of times the “trigger” was pulled. The kids who played the video games with guns and swords had a significantly higher rate of touching the guns and pointing it at themselves while pulling the trigger or pointing it at another kid in the room and pulling the trigger.
The study concluded that children do indeed imitate the behaviors they are exposed to in video games. The researchers also suggested that “parents and guardians should be cognizant of the risk associated with exposure to violent media. Most importantly, gun owners should secure their firearms.” For more information on this study, such as the control factors and the statistics measured, see the sources below.
Study links gun violence to aggressive video games, WRAL.com (video), June 5, 2019.
Justin H. Chang, Brad J. Bushman, Effect of Exposure to Gun Violence in Video Games on Children’s Dangerous Behavior With Real Guns: A Randomized Clinical Trial, JAMA Network, May 31, 2019.