Despite what ill-informed authorities and certain fringe politicians looking for a scapegoat have tried to claim numerous times in the past, absolutely no link between video games and real-world violence has ever been found. The debate, despite being put to rest several years ago, has reemerged in recent years under the Trump administration in the wake of several tragic shootings in a thinly-veiled attempt to distract from the real issue.
Politics aside, common knowledge has a habit of being forgotten, and it’s left to academics to remind people of the truth. Sarah M. Coyne and Laura Stockdale are two such individuals, having just recently published their findings from a decade-long period of research.
Growing up with Grand Theft Auto: A 10-year study of longitudinal growth of violent video game play in adolescents followed a focus group of 500 participants with an average age of 14, with researches measuring the impact of games such as Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto to gauge whether they had any effect on behavior over prolonged periods of time.
Participants were divided into three distinct groups after being analyzed for aggressive behavior via a questionnaire as well as playing habits, with no discernible difference in antisocial tendencies found following the study’s conclusion. Conversely, Coyne and Stockdale note that some children may have used games as a coping mechanism for anxiety and other mental health issues.
Of course, it’s worth noting, as always, that this is but one investigation into the effects of immersive entertainment on psychological tendencies. Considering the outcome of this particular examination effectively yielding the same results as many others before it, however, I’m inclined to believe the pattern is far beyond the point of coincidental.
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