Are violent games impacting really as bad as it sounds? - A short research article by Tanishka Sharma

Name: Tanishka Sharma

Age: 16

We all often think that violence is only  related to blood, gore things, disturbing imagery and videos ...

Well, let's get to some basics to get a deeper understanding of this topic. So what is violence? 

It is the use of physical force to injure,abuse,damage or destroy. Violence has a long life and long lasting consequences and effects both physically and mentally. It can also have other impacts such as social functioning, development and slow economic growth.

Now another aspect to get through is the impact of violence on a young developing brain. 

We all are aware that young brains can be affected quite quickly as that is in their developing stage. This starts from the age of 5 and on. It is also a fact that during the development stage of the brain is when most mental disorders take place and start to develop. 

Now where does video games and their violence level have an effect on the young mind?

Well, you would be surprised how many people think that violent video games don't impact the young brain. In the short term, yes there will be no impact but it does not mean that it won't have a long term effect.

It's just like when plastic products were first introduced, in the short term it had no significant effect on the environment. Now in the long term effect plastic is one of the things that are affecting the environment this being increasing pollution due to its toxins, destruction of marine life and lots more. 

 A research was done by Tom A. Hummer, Ph.D. in  the  Indiana university school of medicine in Indianapolis. In this study there were 45 teenagers that were told to play a violent video game/s for only 30 minutes.

According to  the research, only playing 10 - 20 minutes of violent gaming increased the activity in the region areas of the brain which is associated with anxiety, emotional reactions and arousal.

Due to this increase of the regional areas in the brain, the frontal lobes that are associated with executive control and emotional regulation reduces its activity.The dopamine release that comes from gaming is so powerful, say researchers, it can almost shut the prefrontal regions down. That's why  young people can play games for hours with no break.

According to Dr. Greenfield

"young people  plop themselves in front of a computer or other electronic devices and they'll stay there for 8, 10, 25, 36 hours." 

Due to these changes in brain activities there is a higher risk  for a child or teen with anger, aggression and behavioral issues who finds solace in violent video games.  Whereas the ones who were told to play a non violent game showed more cognizance . 

After the study was conducted Tom A. Hummer stated the following: 

“The prefrontal cortex - the locus of judgment, decision-making, and impulse control undergoes major reorganization during adolescence. That executive control center is essential for weighing risks and rewards and for putting the brakes on the pursuit of immediate rewards (like gaming) in favor of more adaptive longer-term goals (like next week's chemistry test).”

He also explained that since the prefrontal cortex does not reach it full capacity until the age of 25 or even 30, therefore it explains why young people can engage themselves in playing games without taking care of basic necessities eg. Food and sleep.

This can also end up creating harmful behavior like excessive video gaming , thus  impacting the development of the frontal lobe.

So overall after all these points and factors in it vital to understand that playing violent games has long term risks on a developing brain.

Just because we don’t see the impacts at this current time that does not mean it does not exist at all. Especially during this covid 19 situation where young people find it more entertaining to sit in front of the screen playing games for countless hours instead of  physical fitness or spending quality time with family. 


Study reference: 2020. Game Theory: The Effects Of Video Games On The Brain. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 4 October 2020].

Image Source:  Freepik. 2020. Game Over Neon Style Text. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9 October 2020]. 

The image shows the evidence of the study that was conducted. The diagram shows the changes in activity in the important areas of the brain and the attempt to control behaviour between violent game players and non - violent game players.

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