There exists no relationship between violent tendencies and video games, and attributing the former to the latter only draws attention away from the actual contributing factors, according to the American Psychological Association (APA) on the subject.
While reviewing its 2015 resolution (via GamesIndustry) on the link between violent behavior and violent video games, APA noted that “members of the media or policymakers” have often cited violent video games as evidence to explain violent behavior such as mass shootings. APA reaffirmed its position that such clauses are “not scientifically sound” and no link exists between the two.
Furthermore, APA stated that the updated resolution “should not be misinterpreted or misused by attributing violence, such as mass shootings, to violent video game use.” Research does suggest some association between video games and “aggressive outcomes, such as yelling and pushing” but pinning violent behavior as well on a large scale remains to be identified.
“Violence is a complex social problem that likely stems from many factors that warrant attention from researchers, policymakers and the public,” said APA president Sandra Shullman. “Attributing violence to video gaming is not scientifically sound and draws attention away from other factors, such as a history of violence, which we know from the research is a major predictor of future violence.”
Despite such statements and ongoing research, video games are still blamed whenever a tragedy occurs. When the United States of America was rocked by two different mass shootings last year over the course of a day, President Donald Trump took aim at video games as part of the cause. Before that, Pennsylvania lawmakers proposed a sin tax on violent video games in order to control violent behavior in young individuals. As things stand, video games will continue to be dragged into the spotlight for every violent incident. APA, though, keeps working to bring more awareness on the subject.