Research Shows Violent Video Games May Reduce Real Life Violent Crime Rate

For about as long as video games have existed, so too have the folks that have tried very hard to pin the blame of any increased violence on them. That's despite the fact that there's never been documented proof of such trends - but for some, reason isn't exactly their forte.

Nonetheless, researchers at Villanova University and Rutgers University have jointly published a report that gives evidence of the opposite: That video games have greater potential to decrease violence. To help understand the data better, take a look at the charts below; the top represents video game sales, while the bottom two represent the number of homicides and cases of aggravated assault. It seems that whenever video game sales spike, most notably due to games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, violence outright decreases.

Credit: Interpersonal Research Laboratory

As damning as this data might seem, one researcher is clear to state that, "Correlation doesn't mean causation.". There are a couple of reasons why we might see the data that we do. For some, violent video games might act as a catharsis - the tendancy to be violent in real-life could be lessened by using video games as your outlet (I wish watching the food network had a similar effect on me). For others, it could be the simple fact that they're engrossed in a video game that's preventing them from becoming involved in violent acts.

The researchers further note that whenever video game sale spikes occur, and violence decreases, it's a trend that lasts about three months. It's important to note that the researchers involved in this study removed spikes that happen for other reasons, such as the fact that more homocides are committed in the summer. In the end, the goal here was to be fair, and after taking all of that into account, it was still seen that video games can decrease violent acts, and definitely not increase them.

After perusing the data, it seems that there's one solution that might help: We need a lot more games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty to be constantly released. It's hard to commit crimes when you're addicted to a video game.

Tags:  Gaming