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Violent video games not linked to aggressive behaviour in teenagers, study says

The violent contents of the games were categorised using official EU and US ratings.

Playing violent video games does not cause teenagers to be aggressive, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Oxford surveyed around 1,000 British 14 and 15-year-olds and their parents or guardians to test the view held by some that there is a link between the games and aggressive behaviour.

They said the results, published in Royal Society Open Science, did not support claims of connection.

The study was led by Professor Andrew Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute.

He told Sky News: “What we found was that there are a lot of things that feed in to aggression.

“There are some effects of gender and some people who are from different life backgrounds have higher or lower ratings, but video game play didn’t really seem to matter here.”

For the study, the teenagers provided reports of their recent gaming experiences.

The violent contents of the games were categorised using official EU and US ratings.

Their parents or guardians then provided accounts of the teens’ “aggressive behaviours” in the previous month.

The researchers then assessed if recent violent game play was positively related to aggressive behaviour in the parents or guardians’ accounts.

Prof Przybylski said: “Violent games don’t seem to drive aggressive behaviour in young people.

“But really we should be looking at other things – maybe it is frustrations, maybe it is family or life circumstance – that we should be spending more time on.”

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