Research Professor Sherry Hamby was interviewed this morning on Wisconsin Public Radio concerning the recently released research report of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Violent Media. The APA Review confirms a link between playing violent video games and aggression. Both a news release and a 27-page Technical Report are available.
Dr. Hamby is one of seven members of APA’s Task Force on Violent Media. She is also the founding editor of APA’s Psychology of Violence journal. At Sewanee she is Director of the Life Paths Research Program; many years she offers a 200-level course on the Psychology of Violence.
Dr. Hamby’s 42-minute interview on The Joy Cardin Show is available. (During the first 17 minutes she is asked about the basic findings by the host; then the radio audience was given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments.) Dr. Hamby noted that four meta-analyses, covering the empirical literature through 2009, had earlier found a statistically significant link between violent video games and aggressive behavior. The just released study by the Task Force confirms that link, updating the review to include almost 200 published studies through 2013.
The take-away for parents and others who work with children is that there are troubling findings here … that suggest one should give serious consideration as to how much exposure children should have to violent video games. The parental role is very important – but Dr. Hamby also suggests that there is a Public Health role, including protocols of accessibility of violent video games. One challenge for parents is that the voluntary information currently provided is not as clear-cut as it should be; she suggests that violence should be indicated separately rather than lumped with other “adult content.”