Video games do not make kids violent

Yet another study into the effects of playing video games indicates that being human is mostly the cause of agression.

The report was penned by Dr Christopher Ferguson of Texas A&M International University. He recruited 302, mainly Hispanic youths ages 10-14 from a small Hispanic-majority city population on the border of Mexico, as part of a larger study of youth violence.

They were interviewed at the start of the study and again 12 months later to see what exposure to violence both in video games and on television had on them.

The study looked at neighbourhood problems, negative relationships with adults, anti-social personality, family attachment, delinquent peers, exposure to domestic violence, depressive symptoms, serious aggression, bullying and delinquent behaviour.

Published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, the study found 75 percent of the youths played video games within the past month on computers, consoles or other devices and 40 percent played games with violent content. Boys were more likely than girls to play violent games.

No surprises there. During the year seven percent reported at least one criminally violent act, while 19 percent reported at least one non-violent crime during the same period.

What Ferguson found was that violent video games were less likely to feature in the lives of people who were involved in criminal activity. However symptoms of depression were almost certainly involved.

Depressive symptoms stand out as particularly strong predictors of youth violence and aggression, Ferguson concluded.

So in other words if a teen is depressed and perhaps comes from a troubled family, they are more likely to commit crimes than those who do not. Computer games are not a factor – they just happen to be on the scene of the crime saying “it is not my fault the bloke was broke when I got there.”

If the study is right, and it seems perfectly logical, it paints a picture of humanity frantically trying to blame technology for faults that it creates all by itself. A hundred years ago it was cinema, 30 years ago it was television, and now it is computer games. One day humanity will wake up and realise that it is stuffed up and does not really need much help from gizmos.