Violence in video games

Playing violent video games can have negative effects in the short term and long term. These effects might include increased aggressiveness.

Here are some questions you can ask if you’re concerned about violence in the video games your child is playing:

  • Does the game involve some characters trying to harm others?
  • Is the harm rewarded in any way?
  • Does harm occur frequently in the game – say, more than 1-2 times in 30 minutes?
  • Does the game show harm as funny?
  • Are non-violent solutions absent or less fun than violent ones?
  • Does the game show what would happen in real life if people behaved in these violent ways?

If the answer to two or more questions is yes, it’s worth considering the messages the games are sending about violence.

Talking with your child about violence and games
You can reduce some of the negative effects of violence in video games by talking with your child about it. Here are some questions you could talk about with your child:

  • Why do video games sometimes have violence, and how is real life different?
  • In real life, how do we cope with anger or people who upset us?
  • How are men and women and people from different ethnic backgrounds portrayed in these games? Are women always victims? How often are they main characters?
  • Is it a good or bad thing to be a bully?