Do Violent Video Games Affect Kids’ Behavior With Real Guns?

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on PsychCentral.

A new lab study finds that children who had recently been exposed to a violent video game were more likely to point and “shoot” a real (disabled) gun toward themselves or another child after discovering it in a cabinet, compared to kids who had played a nonviolent game.

For the study, children ages 8 to 12 were paired up and assigned to one of three versions of the popular video game Minecraft: violent with guns used to kill monsters; violent with swords used to kill monsters ; or nonviolent with no weapons or monsters.

After 20 minutes of game-play, the children played with other toys in separate room that included a cabinet with two disabled handguns.

A total of 220 children had found the gun while playing. The findings show that nearly 62 percent of the 76 children who played the video game with gun violence touched a handgun; about 57 percent of the 74 kids who played the game with sword violence touched a gun, and about 44 percent of 70 kids who played the nonviolent version touched a gun. The differences across these groups were not considered statistically significant.

However, kids who were exposed to violent versions of the video game were more likely to engage in the dangerous behavior of pulling the trigger at themselves or their partner than children exposed to the nonviolent version.

The findings held even after accounting for other mitigating factors (sex, age, trait aggressiveness, exposure to violent media, attitudes toward guns, presence of firearms in the home, interest in firearms and whether the child had taken a firearm safety course).

The other outcomes (time spent holding a gun and total trigger pulls) weren’t statistically significant.

The findings are published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Source: PsychCentral

Back to Top
[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

  • About Azusa Pacific University

    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)