Do video games make you violent? What the science says

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Do video games make you violent? This question has been asked for several decades without any precise answer being able to be given. A study by the City University of London, for example, found that children were more likely to destroy objects after playing violent video games. However, these results should be taken with caution.

1% of gamers suffer from video game disorder

Joanne Orlando, a researcher at Western University of Sydney, has just published a fascinating article on the subject on the site The Conversation. The scientist first looks back on a tragic news item that occurred in Australia in 2019. A schoolboy in the Victoria state region died and his problematic gambling behavior would have caused a mood disorder in him which would be the cause of his death.

The opportunity for the researcher to go through the scientific literature and see if there is indeed a link between excessive gambling and disorders such as depression and aggression. In particular, she recalls that video game disorder as defined by the World Health Organization only occurs when gaming interferes with the functioning of a person in their daily life: major difficulties at work, at school , or in personal life in particular. According to her, only 1% of the 2 billion players suffer from this problem.

Regarding the links between violence in games and violence in real life, the answer is again very clear: no formal proof of this link has been established to date. A certain correlation could be observed, as in the case of the London study which we spoke to you about above. Only, we note that it is rather gamers who already suffer from mental health problems who are the most sensitive to violence in games. For the others, no link could be identified.

Joanne Orlando also points out that life circumstances can push a person to adopt more problematic behavior. She explains thus: People who already have feelings of guilt, loss of control over their lives, or social disengagement are more likely to turn to video games as a coping mechanism — much like some may turn to drugs, alcohol or gambling “.

In these situations of addiction, and if video games are withdrawn overnight, feelings of great despair or loss have been observed among gamers.

Ultimately, the researcher believes that there is no consensus on how problem gambling should be classified, or even if it is really a disorder. And if parents are worried about the behavior of their children, it is best to talk directly with them, without judgment, to see how to help them.

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