A new study conducted by the Department of Psychology at Ohio State University claims that children who play violent video games are more likely to engage with real guns. The new study wanted to explore whether or not exposure to violent video games cause children to engage in dangerous behavior around real firearms. And according to the study's findings, yes, exposure to violent video games increases children's dangerous behavior around real firearms.
For the purpose of the study, Ohio State University researchers ran a randomized clinical trial featuring 220 children aged 8-12 years old. Each child was assigned to play a video game in one of three conditions: with gun violence, with sword violence, and with no violence. And according to the study's findings, children who played a video game that included guns or swords were more likely to touch a real, disabled handgun, handle a handgun longer, and pull the trigger more times, including at themselves or their partner. Reported habitual exposure to violent media was also a risk factor for said uptick in dangerous behavior.
The trial ran from July 2017 to July 2018, and took place in the United States, which among resource-rich countries, has the highest rate of child mortality by unintentional firearm use.
"It is well established that consumption of violent media increases aggression in children in both the short and long term," reads the concluding paragraph of the study. "The danger of violent media exposure has been compared with the danger of exposure to real-world violence, and some studies found effect sizes large enough to consider media violence a public health threat. Our study highlights another danger of violent media exposure: it increases dangerous behavior around firearms. Specifically, exposure to violent video games can increase a child's interest in firearms, including shooting a handgun at themselves or others. In addition, habitual exposure to violent media was a risk factor for dangerous behavior around real guns. As such, parents and guardians should be cognizant of the risk associated with exposure to violent media. Most importantly, gun owners should secure their firearms."
For the finer details of the trial and its findings, be sure to check it out in its entirety by clicking right here.