Video games are often seen as harmless fun, but a new study may make you re-think which games you let your children play.
The study, by researchers from Ohio State University, has revealed that children who play violent video games are more likely to engage with guns in real life.
In the study, 220 children aged 8-12 were split into pairs, and assigned to play different versions of Minecraft.
The first version was violent and required players to kill monsters with guns, while the second required players to kill monsters with swords.
Finally, the third version was non-violent, with no weapons or monsters.
After 20 minutes of gameplay, the children were invited to play in another room with various toys, including two disabled handguns.
The researchers found that 62% of the children who played the video game with gun violence touched the handgun, while about 54% of those who had played the game with sword violence touched the gun.
Meanwhile, only 44% of the children who played the non-violent version touched the gun.
In their study, published in JAMA Network Open, the researchers, led by Dr Brad J. Bushman, wrote: “Children exposed to violent versions of the video game were more likely to engage in the dangerous behaviour of pulling the trigger at themselves or their partner than children exposed to the nonviolent version.”
While the findings indicate that violent video games could have an effect on children’s violence in the real world, it’s important to note several limitations.
The study was set in the artificial setting of a university laboratory, meaning the effect could be different in the real world. Minecraft also is not a very violent game with no blood and gore (although the researchers were limited by age-restrictions).
However, the researchers added: “The authors encourage gun owners to secure their firearms and reduce children’s exposure to violent video games
Source: The Mirror