Violent video games: Now the good news?

People who cooperate when playing violent video games are unlikely to act aggressively as a result of becoming immersed in the titles. This is according to new research from Ohio State University, which suggested it may not be fair to describe such games as always being bad for a person's behaviour.

In two different studies, it was demonstrated that college students who form a team in order to succeed on the platforms became more cooperative as a result and displayed fewer signs of aggression than those who played in a purely competitive guise.

David Ewoldsen, Professor of Communication at the learning institute, said established connections between violent games and aggression can paint an incomplete picture.

Professor Ewoldsen went on to note: "Most of the studies finding links between violent games and aggression were done with people playing alone. The social aspect of today's video games can change things quite a bit."

Chartered Psychologist Ged Balies comments:

"An interesting study and idea, to look at co-operation in the context of playing violent video games with others. The impact of violent imagery in films and games is well-known and we need to be aware of the effects on both young and old, for example at home, in schools, in clinical and criminal justice contexts. We also need to consider positive strategies for managing this issue and providing alternative messages and ideas. 

However, the assumption (often seen in media reports) that a violent film or video game can act as some sort of on/off switch is both simplistic and mistaken. Violent (and sexual) imagery can of course be a factor, but there are many other complex variables involved. Family background and early life experiences, development of self-image and self-esteem, interpersonal and emotional regulation difficulties, limited coping strategies, stress, life events, context and situation.

As Professor David Ewolsden states, 'video games aren’t controlling who we are'.”