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R Rated Computer Game Classification Review Finds Evidence Inconclusive that Violent Computer Games Cause Aggression

Canberra, ACT (News4us.com) December 2, 2010

R Rated Computer Game Classification Review Finds Evidence Inconclusive that Violent Computer Games Cause Aggression

R Rated Computer Game Classification Review Finds Evidence Inconclusive that Violent Computer Games Cause Aggression

Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor today released a review of existing research into whether people who play violent computer games are at greater risk of being aggressive.

“The review found that evidence about the effect of violent computer games on the aggression displayed by those who play them is inconclusive,” Mr O’Connor said.

“From time to time people claim that there is a strong link between violent crime or aggressive behaviour and the popularity of violent computer games.

“This review shows that there’s little evidence to support any claim of a strong link, though there is some evidence of short term effects on gamers,” Mr O’Connor said.

This analysis of the available literature shows that:

  • there is no conclusive evidence that violent computer games have a greater impact on players than other violent media, such as movies or music videos
  • there is stronger evidence of short-term effects from violent computer games, than long-term effects
  • some research finds that violent computer games are a small risk factor in aggressive behaviour over the short term, but these studies do not thoroughly explore other factors such as aggressive personality, family and peer influence and socio-economic status.

“We need a classification system that protects young minds from any possible adverse affect, while also ensuring that adults are free to make their own decisions about what they play, within the bounds of the law,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Classification Ministers across Australia are carefully considering the pros and cons of introducing an R18+ classification for computer games – restricting the viewing of these games to people aged 18 and above,” Mr O’Connor said.

“As part of their decision making, Ministers requested this literature review and other documents to assist them in making a well informed decision.

“I’m keen to proceed with making this important decision, based on solid and robust evidence. This comprehensive review adds to the material Ministers can rely on to make their decision.”

The introduction of an R18+ classification for video games will be discussed at the Standing Committee of Attorneys General meeting in Canberra on Friday 10 December.

The literature review is available at www.ag.gov.au/gamesclassification


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