Academic Master


Annotated Bibliography of Literature on Video Games

Thesis Statement: We’ll look at the different literature to assess the claim of whether violent video games induce violent psychological behavior among children or is just a myth.


Table of Contents (2018). [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Mar. 2018].

The UK parliament commissioned a panel of experts to study how the internet and violent video games are affecting children. The experts recommended different measures to reduce violent behavior in children. One of the suggestions put forward by it approved the changing of the rating systems so that younger children cannot access violent video games. It also called for parents to do more and keep an eye on their children. The report mentioned studies that concluded that violence was more prevalent among children who played more violent games.

Gentile, D., Li, D., Khoo, A., Prot, S. and Anderson, C. (2018). Mediators and Moderators of Long-term Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Mar. 2018].

This research was published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal. This study is one of the defining investigations in this field and helped to serve as one of the most influential arguments in my research essay. The experiment was conducted among 3034 children over three years. The study concluded that violent games increase violent behavior in children. The increase in aggression was reported while keeping all other factors constant. Parental guidance was not a defining factor in child aggression. Furthermore, the scans revealed that the brains of children playing violent video games also changed slightly, which shows prolonged exposure can permanently change our personality.

Brad Bushman Professor of Communication and Psychology, The Ohio State University. “Violent video games and real violence: there’s a link, but it’s not so simple.” The Conversation, 7 Dec. 2017,

This article gave a very different viewpoint on whether video games tend to increase violent behavior among children or not. It highlights how difficult it is to study this kind of causal relationship in laboratory experiments. Experiments were conducted in the field using different ways to measure aggression. The argument concluded by saying that violent games do increase violent behavior among children. This article served as a basis for one of the cases in favor of restricting the sale of video games to children.

Griffiths, Mark. “Video Games and Health.” The BMJ, 16 July 2005, pp. 122–123., doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7509.122.

Ferguson, Christopher J. “Blazing Angels or Resident Evil? Can Violent Video Games Be a Force for Good?” Review of General Psychology, vol. 14, no. 2, 10 June 2010, pp. 68–81., doi:10.1037/a0018941.

The author criticizes the way sociologists and psychologists have approached video games. He argues that much of the controversy surrounding video games is a result of propaganda by non-researchers who have no expertise in the field. He argues that many of society’s problems, like teenage delinquency, rising crime, mass shootings, etc., are a result of other factors. It is wrong to blame video games for such affairs. He goes on to say that video games are an important avenue for releasing tension and frustration for students nowadays. He terms video games as a “valuable tool” for promoting human welfare.

Squire, Kurt. “From Content to Context: Videogames as Designed Experience.” Educational Researcher, vol. 35, no. 8, 2006, pp. 19–29., doi:10.3102/0013189×035008019.

Squire argues that video games should not be seen as problem-creating but rather problem-solving. He posits that innovations in design and technology have drastically reshaped video games. They should no longer be seen as a menace but rather as powerful tools for schooling. Video games can enhance the learning capabilities of students to develop situated understandings, to learn through failure, and to develop identities as expert problem solvers. Since students are now accessing the computer-based world outside of schools, it is time to impart computer-based learning in schools as well. As video games mature, we will surely see them playing a greater role in schools, as is now evident.

Adachi, Paul J. C., and Teena Willoughby. “Do Video Games Promote Positive Youth Development?” Journal of Adolescent Research, vol. 28, no. 2, Feb. 2012, pp. 155–165., doi:10.1177/0743558412464522.

The authors argue that research has only focused on the negative aspects of video games. They downplay the positive role that video games play in the development of the youth. They postulate that video games are a new way of socializing and help children learn skills like effective decision-making. They argue that certain games are a better way of teaching kids about history, while games some games teach critical thinking, planning, and communicating effectively. They put forward evidence in their research of positive youth development while opening up the avenue for future research on the topic.

Durkin, Kevin, and Bonnie Barber. “Not so Doomed: Computer Game Play and Positive Adolescent Development.” Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, vol. 23, no. 4, 2002, pp. 373–392., doi:10.1016/s0193-3973(02)00124-7.

The authors start off by mentioning that video games face unnecessary criticism. Adults are naturally biased against video games and tend to ignore the positive outcomes of video games. A study was conducted on 346 schoolchildren in the Netherlands. The study found no negative outcomes of video games. They found no increased aggressiveness in children. On the contrary, players who did play video games scored higher on certain measures than those who did not. The measures included family closeness, social ability, participation in outdoor and extracurricular activities, mental health, etc. On the basis of these results, the authors rightly concluded that video games do lead to positive adolescent development.



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