Online Sense is ICDL Arabia's philanthropic arm aimed at raising public awareness on Cyber Safety.

Gulf News recently reported that “addiction to violent video games” led to a 14-year-old girl being taken to the hospital for psychological assessment and treatment. According to the report, the Arab teenage girl would play violent games on Play Station, and with time her parents began to see a change in her behaviour as she started to exhibit signs of aggression in her speech and behaviour. Alarmed at her conduct, her family took her to the hospital which asked for more backup and contacted Dubai Police.

“She used to treat her family and friends violently. When our experts sat with her, she showed annoyance and started talking in an aggressive way,” Lieutenant Colonel Rashid Bin Dhabwi Al Felasi, director of Criminal Control in Criminal Investigation Department in Dubai Police said. Influenced by what she saw, the teenager began to take her cues from the violent culture of the games and at one time, even brandished a knife at her father.

Did the girl become violent only due to the effect of violent games? Researchers in the US have experimented on this topic, and suggest that the answer might be ‘yes’.

Violent games might make player more violent over time – an experiment

Psychologist Dr. Brad Bushman, a faculty at Ohio University conducted a research that aimed at understanding the impact of violent video games. As it turns out, the study that involved 70 subjects (students) showed that the ones who played violent games tended to build more hostile expectations than the ones who didn’t play violent games. Hostile expectation bias refers to the tendency to assume that people will react to potential conflicts with aggression.

The participating students were told incomplete stories and asked to predict the concluding portion of the story. Students who played violent games predicted more violent conclusions to the story compared to the ones who played non-violent games.

In another task, students were asked to participate play simple games, and were given the freedom to make their losing opponents hear unpleasant sounds and choose the volume they wanted. Students who had played violent games earlier chose to play more harsh sounds at higher volumes for opponents.

Researchers discovered that, after each day, those who played the violent games had an increase in their hostile expectations. “People who have a steady diet of playing these violent games may come to see the world as a hostile and violent place,” Bushman said. “These results suggest there could be a cumulative effect.”

Other studies conducted in the US also suggest that playing violent games might lead to children becoming over, but the authors of those studies claim that their findings don’t essentially make a conclusive claim on this topic.

Do you think playing violent games makes children more violent? Comment below to let us know!