Christian Counseling: What Effect Does Video Game Violence Have On Aggression?

While the psychological community has been claiming a significant research connection between aggression and video game playing and media violence, the Supreme Court (2011 - Brown vs. entertainment Merchants Association) criticized the research studies linking video game playing with increased aggression as flawed and "unpersuasive." The Court also concluded the unconstitutionality of the government regulating sales to minors and affirmed that games have full free speech rights. 

How did the respected psychological community get it wrong? Apparently, researchers and dispensers of psychological information ignored contradictory research evidence and exaggerated findings. I have always been greatly disappointed with some in my profession who fudge and mismanage research findings and more with publishers of research. Typically, research studies that fail to show any statistical significance or fail to confirm research hypotheses are too infrequently published. Yet we, as a community, are bound to follow not only legal requirements but our own self-developed ethical standards. We pledge to promote the truth and practice above reproach. Perhaps this lesson will serve to ensure living out the ethics proclaimed to be held.

Whether or not researchers will conclude from future evidence a connection between violence in media and games with increased aggressive behavior or attitudes is unknown.  In the meantime, adults should self-monitor and parents need to observe their children or teens who use violent games or view media violence to determine if there are any changes in attitudes, speech and other behaviors. In the end, the research question about increased aggression for viewers of violence must be asked of each individual child, teen, and adult, regardless of research study outcomes, which can only apply to the general population. 

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