Christopher Ferguson of Stetson University and independent researcher Cheryl Olson from the US in a study published in Springer’s Journal of Youth and Adolescence which found that violent video games such as ‘Mortal Kombat,’ ‘Halo’ and ‘Grand Theft Auto’ do not act as violent triggers.
It had been thought that teenagers with symptoms of depression or attention deficit disorder could become aggressive bullies or delinquents, but the study found playing of such games actually had a very slight calming effect on youths with attention deficit symptoms and reduced their aggressive and bullying behaviour.
Ferguson and Olson studied 377 American children, on average 13 years of age, from various ethnic groups who had clinically elevated attention deficit or depressive symptoms. The children were part of an existing large federally funded project that examines the effect of video game violence on youths.
It is surprising that no one thought of this before. Ancient Romans worked out that if people were exposed to violence in the arena, they were less likely to riot, so the wealthy used to sponsor games so that they would not be burgled.