Can violent video games encourage my child to be aggressive?

A recent study from the Royal Society suggests that playing violent video games does not cause teenagers to be aggressive. These findings were also found in a similar study by the University of York. Our expert panellists give insight on what this should mean for parents supporting their children in online gaming.


Although it can seem like common sense that violent video games drive real-world aggression, the facts of the matter tell a different story. This study not only provides robust evidence about the effects of violent video games on behaviour but in sidestepping moral panic, it clears space for us to better support parents and carers of children who love video games.

This is not to say that video games don’t affect young players. Rather, that we are still learning how this relatively new, and complex, pastime functions. The gaming worlds that I see children enjoy them clearly affect them, and trigger their imagination and creativity. For parents to encourage these positive benefits requires a first-hand understanding of games themselves, which comes from having excellent resources and advice on the topic.

The report is not only important in terms of results but also in setting excellent standards of rigour and transparency for further work.”

Dr. Linda Papadopoulos

Psychologist and Internet Matters Ambassador
Expert Website

“The research looks at participation and found that it isn’t the thing that makes a child aggressive. However, there is plenty of research that shows that children seeing things that are age-inappropriate does have an effect.

“It’s interesting to see how participation feeds into this however the important thing for parents to know is whether it’s a game, a book, a film or whatever media they’re seeing – make sure it’s age appropriate so that your child is emotionally mature enough to deal with it.”

Laura Higgins

Director of Community Safety and Digital Civility, Roblox
Expert Website

How important is research in this area?

The internet is constantly evolving and continually under-researched. We welcome reports such as this – which provide valuable insight into the links between the online and offline worlds, and shed light on how we can help shape better online experiences for children, teens, and future generations.

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