"Whenever there is .. mass (violence) in the United States, it doesn't take long before.. (people) suggests violent video games might be to blame. But a new report from the American Psychological Association (APA) found there is insufficient research to support that link. It found that there is evidence showing the games increase aggression but not enough to demonstrate that playing the games lead to criminal behavior or delinquency. "Scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than two decades but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence," said Mark Appelbaum, the task force chair. "However, the link between violence in video games and increased aggression in players is one of the most studied and best established in the field."
In reviewing more than 150 research papers, the task force found a consistent relationship between the games and an increase in "aggressive behavior" as well as a decrease in "pro-social behavior, empathy, and sensitivity to aggression" and that this behavior continued for some time. But the task force also found that the video games alone can't explain this aggression. Rather, it concluded that the "accumulation of risk factors," such as antisocial behavior, depression, trouble at home, delinquency or academic problems, also played a role. "The research reviewed here demonstrates that violent video game use is one such risk factor," the report concluded. The findings are unlikely to put to rest the concerns about violent video games, especially given that over 90 percent of children play video games, with 85 percent of thosegames containing some violence.
..."However, there certainly is a link between playing violent video games and violent criminal behavior, although it is not as strong as the link between playing violent video games and less serious aggressive behavior." In one experiment in which he took part, adolescent boys were given the opportunity to blast an ostensible opponent with loud noise through headphones after being randomly assigned to play a violent or nonviolent video game. The results showed that boys who played a violent game and strongly identified with the violent game character selected noise levels loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage to their partner. But even with the limited evidence of criminal behavior, the APA is calling on the gaming industry to design video games that include increased parental control over the amount of violence the games contain...."