Does exposure to violent movies or video games make kids more aggressive?

Although experts agree that no single factor can cause a nonviolent person to act aggressively, heavy exposure to violent media can be a risk factor for violent behavior. Children who are exposed to multiple risk factors -- including aggression and conflict at home -- are the most likely to behave aggressively.

The good news is that, as parents, we can make a choice to consistently expose our kids to media that reflects our own personal values and say "no" to the stuff that doesn't. There are so many great benefits to media and technology, including the potential to teach valuable skills. Doing research about TV shows, movies, or games before your kids watch, play, and interact with them will go a long way in helping them avoid the bad stuff.

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Comments

Kid, 11 years old

I should think it's probably the games. After all, you do it first person- YOU kill the people, for the most part.
Teen, 16 years old written by Varsus Osvourn

I'll lay it out simply. Violence in video games doesn't contribute to actual violence in reality. It doesn't influence anyone in any way, the only way it possibly could is if you believe it does (as in, you think video game violence influences you, so you tell your brain it does). Also, in response to another review I saw on this topic, no it does NOT depend on the scope of the violence. To me, that's an excuse. The ONLY thing that you need to teach young kids about violent games is; the difference between violence in reality, and violence in video games. If your kids can understand that difference, then they're fine. They're not going to go on a murder spree just because they did in a game, that's absurd. However, if they CANNOT deffrentiate the violence in video games to violence in reality, then that's where you need to be concerned. I have spent a great many years playing violent video games, and not a single one of them has influenced me in any negative way. Also, in response to the review made on march 28th, people can play as many violent games as they want, as long as they know the difference between violence in video games and violence in reality. If they know that, then there are no worries. That concludes my long rant on this subject.
Teen, 15 years old written by SpaciousName

Wow peoples' excuses here for kids playing violent games are pretty pathetic. The thing is, why would you want to see a 8-15 year old gutting his enemy with a knife or riddling him with bullets? It's not the same as watching a western where everything is fake, because in games it's the child doing the killing, not just watching it.
Adult written by chrijeff50

I think you have to consider the scope and quality of the violence. A lot of us on this listserv are probably Baby Boomers. We grew up on, for example, Westerns. Lots of shooting, but never over graphic, the Bad Guy always Got It in the end. And very few of us today are violent people.
Educator and Parent written by RicaS

It seems to me that people need to observe & practice being cooperative, collaborative, friendly, and kind, it's not enough to just be told it's a good idea. Just like people need to learn how to fight well - not many people instinctively do it well enough to be successful at it. The more time a human being spends observing a particular type of interaction, the more they study that and learn from it. I'm concerned that pretend violence not only uses up time that might otherwise be spent learning more creative, productive, collaborative, and kind interactions, but at the same time, it teaches really lousy, unrealistic fighting skills, and builds the habit of passive, predictable behavior - sitting, pushing buttons. If frustration, lack of creativity, and powerlessness make a person act out their feelings of aggression with violence, then giving young people time to practice methods of dealing with strong negative feelings, and developing the intellectual & creative muscle to find solutions to conflict would be the antidote. Does the violent media provide examples or practice in creative, problem-solving negotiation & collaboration? Does it take up so much time, there's no time left to practice other skills? Does it glorify or normalize aggressive responses?
Teen, 14 years old written by LostInPLace

No. You'll know if they can or cannot seperate what is real and what is not. And it really doesn't. The cases you hear about on the news are one in a million things, and they are not normal teens. We treat it like a game, and that's all it is. A game. People get far more worried than they should be. Sheltering kids only leaves them suceptable to things like these in the future.
Kid, 11 years old

I play M+ games more than any other games. I don't get into fights. (Probably mostly because I'm home-schooled) It's not violent media that's changing them, it's you.
Kid, 9 years old

Being 9, I watch lots of Dragon Ball Z. It has a lot of fighting but hasn't changed me. So no.