According to Craig Anderson, director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University, video games “change a child’s or adolescent’s personality in some sense, so that they start to see their world in a more aggressive way […] They tend to see aggressive solutions as being more appropriate for solving problems.” However, video games are never the sole cause for a person’s aggressive behaviors or violent actions. Anderson states that “Playing a violent video game isn’t going to take a healthy kid who has few other risk factors and turn him into a school shooter”, but if combined with other factors in their lives, such as abusive parents or growing up in a violent neighborhood, it can lead to greater odds of being aggressive. Alan Mozes, the author of a CBS News article about “Violent video games tied to combative thinking”, talks about a 3 year long study that took place where researchers kept track of the time a group of kids between 8 and 17 spent playing video games and asked them about their feelings towards aggressive behaviors. The study showed that the more kids play, the more they attribute hostile motives to others and were more likely to engage in aggressive behavior. This is true for all age groups.
As the article in the business insider about the effect of video games has on our bodies and brains emphasizes, aggression is not the same as violence. It tells us that there have been studies that show that video games can increase the possibility of someone engaging in aggressive behaviors. However, they do not link video games with violence. It also states that studies do not find a link between the selling of video games and crime rates. A study showed that “in the months after popular violent video games are released, aggravated assault and homicide rates tend to drop”.
In conclusion, the short answer is no, video games do not directly increase youth violence. However, studies have shown that they do contribute to youth aggression, which is also an issue in our time. According to Good Therapy, violence is “the use of physical force with the intent to injure another person or destroy property, while aggression is generally defined as angry or violent feelings or behavior. A person who is aggressive does not necessarily act out with violence”. Therefore, violent video games will not cause people to act with the intent to injure someone, but it will contribute to angry or violent feelings. That, combined with an unstable family background, can lead young adults to act out and therefore perform violent acts. Violent video games don’t directly cause this, but they are a part of the process.