A new study has found there are no strong, long-term links between violent video games and youth aggression.
Study co-author and University of Tasmania School of Psychological Sciences researcher Jim Sauer said while the link had been long debated in other research, the latest study found there was no strong link between gaming and aggression in youth.
"Debate over whether exposure to violent video game content might increase aggression, especially over the long term, is common in scientific literature and popular media," Dr Sauer said.
"However, we found no evidence to support this relationship."
The researchers found this relationship was weaker in high-quality studies and further diluted the longer a game was played.
"We found no significant relationship between violent gameplay and aggression in the highest quality studies," Dr Sauer said.
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"And when looking at how any effects might accumulate over long-term playing, we found that longer time periods were associated with smaller changes in aggression.
"Contrary to previous suggestions, violent gameplay does not cumulatively increase aggression over time."
The study said any past findings that violent video games substantially caused aggression in people may reflect methodological choices or weaknesses and researcher expectations, rather than real world effects.
"A meta-analytic examination, the research pooled 28 studies containing approximately 21,000 participants to investigate whether people who played violent video games longer than three months would experience increases in their aggressiveness," Dr Sauer said.
Researchers also coded the quality of previous studies on this topic.
They called for greater use of preregistration of practices in future work on violent video games, which requires researchers to specify in advance what questions they will ask and how they will analyse their data, to help increase the quality of research in this area.