Study: Violent video games reduce real violence

Diane Alter – AHN News Reporter

Austin, TX, United States (AHN) – Violent video games, those where gamers rack up points for killing and ruthlessly attacking victims, have long been blamed on a spate of crimes ranging from theft to murder.

But a new report, “Effect of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime,” says there is not a link. Instead, researchers suggest that violent video games may actually reduce violent crime because aggressive players are too busy and too engaged in shooting and maiming virtual enemies to go out and commit any real crimes.

The report, by Benjamin Englestatter of the Center for European Economic Research, Scott Cunningham of Baylor University in Texas, and Michael Ward of the University of Texas, acknowledges that few studies before this have examined the impact of violent video games on crimes, but they stand by their findings. They say “time spent gaming cannot be spent on other activities, both legitimate and illicit violent activities.”

The researchers surmise that if new laws are brought in to reduce the violence of video games it could “potentially cause crime to increase in the short term if the marginal player is being drawn out of violent activities.”

The report concluded by stating “Overall, violent video games lead to decrease in violent crimes.”

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