Support Our Work File an FCC Complaint Movie Reviews Join Us Family Guide to Primetime Television Home
Parents Television Council - Because Our Children Are Watching


1%-5% of your purchase will help support the PTC.

Violent Video Game Campaign

Are you worried about the increasingly violent and graphic content in video games?


Study: Violent Video Game Play Makes More Aggressive Kids

Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of Psychology Craig Anderson has made much of his life's work studying how violent video game play affects youth behavior. And he says a new study he led, analyzing 130 research reports on more than 130,000 subjects worldwide, proves conclusively that exposure to violent video games makes more aggressive, less caring kids -- regardless of their age, sex or culture. more

How do violent video games affect children?

In first person shooter video games, the player assumes the role of the shooter and sees the world through the character's eyes. thus, the game puts weapons in the hands of the player. Players become emotionally involved with their character and take great joy in killing. It is one thing to watch the terminator kill people. It is another thing to BE the terminator and kill people.

As a result:

  • Players form positive attitudes toward violence and believe others feel the same.

  • Players form expectations that others behave aggressively.

  • Players learn that using violence is an appropriate way to solve problems.

Playing violent video games is a way of rehearsing violent behaviors, thus making it easier to imitate that behavior in real life. Killing your own kind is unnatural (http://www.killology.com/art_trained_killing.htm) and violent first person shooters make it easier to overcome this instinct. the army uses simulators that are similar to first person shooter video games to desensitize soldiers to violence and mentally prepare them to kill. (http://www.killology.com/art_onkilling_overcoming.htm)

Violent video games are also quite addictive. Players receive constant and immediate reinforcement for aggressive performance in the form of visual and auditory stimulation. this positive stimulation is reinforced during a kill with special effects such as exploding body parts, blood, and gore. It provides an excellent training ground to learn aggression. the more realistic the game is, the stronger the negative impact. For example, killing cartoon-like creatures may have less of a negative impact than killing realistic looking humans. Also, not all games only reward you for killing "bad" guys. For example, Grand theft Auto Vice City rewards you for killing innocent pedestrians.

If you witness your child becoming increasingly aggressive towards others, you may need to examine his/her consumption of video games and other forms of entertainment.

Scientists explore how violent video games are exemplary aggression teachers

Like other fathers and sons, Douglas Gentile and his father have spent many hours arguing about video games. What makes them different is that Douglas, an Iowa State University assistant professor of psychology, is one of the country's top researchers on the effects of media on children. His father, J. Ronald Gentile, is a leading researcher on effective teaching and a distinguished teaching professor emeritus of educational psychology at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York. more

You should know…

the American Psychological Association has once again gone on record regarding the negative effects of video game violence on children's health. the APA released a statement calling on the industry to reduce violent depictions in video games, citing research that correlates virtual violence with increased aggressiveness in thinking and behavior. the statement also noted that perpetrators of violence in video games go unpunished 73% of the time. Psychologist Elizabeth Carll, co-chair of the APA Committee on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media, said, "Showing violent acts without consequences teaches youth that violence is an effective means of resolving conflict. Whereas, seeing pain and suffering as a consequence can inhibit aggressive behavior."  [AP, 5/17/05 stats]

  • 90% of teenagers say that their parents never check the video game ratings before allowing them to rent or buy computer or video games. (Walsh, et al.)

  • ~65% of gamers are over 18  and the average age of a game player is 30 years old (ESA) thus videogames aren't made just for kids anymore. Be sure to check the rating before buying/renting a game for your child.

  • Of all games sold in 2004:
    53% were rated Everyone (E).
    30% were rated teen (t).
    16% were rated Mature (M).

  • Videogame sales topped a record 7.3 billion in 2004. the two top top selling games were Grand theft Auto: San Andreas and Halo 2 which are both rated M. 20% of the top selling 20 games were rated M.

  • two studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology on April 23, 2000 confirmed that violent video games negatively affect behavior. One study demonstrated that graphically violent video games produce an immediate increase in aggressive thoughts and behavior. the other study found that violent game play not only increased aggressive behavior, but produced a long-term, real-life impact on the behavior and relationships of the players. >> more

Parenting and Video Games: One dad's tips

Video Games Boost Visual Skills

Video Game Violence- YouthAndViolence.com

Grand theft Auto: San Andreas: What Can a Parent Do?

Game Mocks Real tragedy, Gang Experts Say

Video Game Report Card 2005

Review of Research Shows that Playing Violent Video Games can Heighten Aggression (American Psychological Association)

Psychologists Push for Less Violence in Games

Can A Video Game Lead to Murder?

Do Games Prime Brain for Violence?

Video Games and Public Health - Video Game Violence Impacts Kids More than Movie Violence

Ratings of teen-Rated Video Games Do Not Always Fully Describe Content

One in Seven teen Video Game Players is Addicted

Violent Videos and Violent Video Games: Why do they cause violence and why do they sell?

Children and Violent Video Games: Are there "High Risk" Players?

Video Game Violence: A Review of the Empirical Literature

Video Games and the Elusive Search for their Effects on Children: An Assessment of twenty Years of Research

Video Game Report Card 2004


TAKE ACTION Voice your support for adult video game LEGISLATION.












JOIN US ON:          .

Parents Television Council, www.parentstv.org, PTC, Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting children against sex, violence and profanity in entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval, and Family Guide to Prime Time Television are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.