Effect of Exposure to Gun Violence in Video Games on Children’s Dangerous Behavior With Real Guns: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Effect of Exposure to Gun Violence in Video Games on Children’s Dangerous Behavior With Real Guns: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Category: Behavior, Youth|Journal: JAMA Network Open (full text)|Author: B Bushman, J Chang|Year: 2019

Question Does exposure to violent video games cause children to engage in dangerous behavior around real firearms?

Findings In this randomized clinical trial, 220 children aged 8 to 12 years were assigned to play a video game in 1 of 3 conditions: with gun violence, with sword violence, or with no violence. Compared with children who played a game that was nonviolent, children who played a video game that included violence with 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 dangerous behavior around firearms.

Meaning Exposure to violent video games increases children’s dangerous behavior around real firearms.

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