Video games do trigger increased aggression in youngsters, researchers claim.
The assertion comes after an international study looked at more than 17,000 adolescents, ages nine to 19, from 2010 to 2017.
Together, the data produced a correlation between titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and Manhunt and increased physical aggression with pro-longed use.
Specifically, youngsters were more inclined to be physically aggressive with their peers and find themselves scolded by authority figures at school.
Game over: Experts found correlation between game consumption and adverse behaviour
The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, were concluded from 24 studies across Canada, Germany, Japan and the USA.
‘Although no single research project is definitive, our research aims to provide the most current and compelling responses to key criticisms on this topic,’ said lead author of the study, Jay Hull, associate dean of faculty for the social sciences at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
‘Based on our findings, we feel it is clear that violent video game play is associated with subsequent increases in physical aggression.’
However, Hull also mooted the possibility that games could be a symptom of inherent aggression – rather than a cause.
‘The other possibility is that it’s a really bad sign,’ he said. ‘If your kids are playing these games, either these games are having a warping effect on right and wrong or they have a warped sense of right or wrong and that’s why they are attracted to these games. Either way you should be concerned about it.’
Previously, Hull conduced research which suggested that violent video games could also cause reckless driving, binge drinking and even unsafe sex.
International: Data was collected from 24 studies across Canada, Germany, Japan and the USA
Meanwhile, a study from last year found playing violent ‘shooter’ games can also damage the brain and may even increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at the University of Montreal got around 100 people to play a range of popular ‘shooter’ games such as Call Of Duty, Killzone and Borderlands 2 for a total of 90 hours. They also gave them copies of non-violent games from the Super Mario series.
By the end of the study, they found that people who habitually played action games had fewer neurons in their hippocampus, a key memory centre in the brain.
However, those who played non-violent games ended the study with more essential gray matter in their brains.
The discovery challenges previous findings that all video games have the capacity to enhance some aspects of mental processing and boost short-term memory.