TOP psychologists have come out in defence of violent video games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto.
A huge survey of 21,000 youngsters around the world found that games – even those considered violent – do not lead to violence or aggression.
Politicians have long blamed blood, gore and drug-use in games for radicalising "disturbed minds" and promoting "sinister ideologies".
Dozens of violent crimes, including mass shootings in the US, have been linked to the sick perpetrators' gaming habits.
However, those views are not backed by science, according to a new study penned by an international team of researchers.
Experts trawled through data collected during dozens of studies into the possible link between violent video games and aggressive behaviour.
They found no significant evidence that games are a trigger for real-life violence.
“For decades, people have wondered if playing violent video games would have a long-term impact on aggression among players,” Professor Chris Ferguson, a psychologist at Stetson University in Florida, who led the study, told The Times.
"We found that, overall, the long-term relationship between playing aggressive games and players’ aggressive behaviour was very small and largely explained by poor practices in some studies rather than ‘real’ effects.
"For those studies with the best controlled methods, the effects of playing aggressive games were statistically indistinguishable from no effect at all."
His team analysed 28 studies over the years involving around 21,000 young participants.
They looked at whether those who played video games for longer than three months experienced a rise in their aggressiveness.
The research also assessed how aggressiveness was rated in previous research to find out whether flaws in those papers led to infated results.
Study author Dr Aaron Drummond of Massey University in New Zealand said the results were clear.
"High-quality studies typically had effect sizes which were statistically indistinguishable from zero, implying no significant relationship between violent gameplay and aggression in the highest quality studies," he said.
"Longer time periods were associated with smaller changes in aggression suggesting that, contrary to previous suggestions, violent gameplay does not cumulatively increase aggression over time."
Dr Drummond called for greater use of pre-registration practices in future work on video games to help boost the quality of research in the area.
The study promises to finally put to rest the acrimonious debate on violent video games and qualm the fears of parents across the globe.
Xbox Series X games
Here's a confirmed list…
- Assassins Creed Valhalla
- Bright Memory Infinite
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Call of the Sea
- The Ascent
- The Medium
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second extinction: Reclaim Earth
- Yakuza: Like A Dragon
- Madden 21
"This study shows that young people are not likely to become more violent because of the computer games they play," study author Dr Simon McCallum, of Victoria University in Australia, said.
"Parents can be reassured that they are not terrible parents if their children have played violent video games. What we as parents should do is play games with our kids and explain fantasy versus reality.
"Having conversations about content is far more important than shielding them from content.
"Children will model the behaviours they see from people they trust, our job as parents is to be the people they trust and model the behaviours we want for our children."
The research was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
In other news, the PlayStation 5 has finally been unveiled – and there are two PS5 models.
The design is already proving controversial, with loads of hilarious PS5 memes circulating online.
And here's the full list of 25 PS5 games revealed during last week's Sony 'The Future of Gaming' event.
Do you play video games? Let us know in the comments!
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