Violence in Video Games and Aggression: a Literature Review


The Swedish Media Council, a government agency that aims to reduce the risk of harmful media influences on minors and empower them as conscious media users, has performed a literature review of all the studies that have been done since 2000 on whether there is a demonstrable relationship between video games with violent content and aggression. Gathering the results of 106 unique empirical studies and various meta-analyses, the Swedish Media Council concludes that there is no evidence that violence in video games cause aggressive behavior. The majority of the research demonstrates a statistical connection, but all included studies indicate as a possible explication that both aggression and the preference to play video games with violent content are affected by underlying factors, such as mental behavioral problems and the type of social interaction within a family.

If we adults stop focusing all our energy on the incidence of violence in computer games, we can instead begin asking ourselves questions that the research will never be able to answer: what values, norms and ideologies do we want to pass on to our children?

A four-page summary of the review in English is available below. The full study can be found on the website of the Swedish Media Council.