The U.S. Department of Justice has funded research at the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital to better determine what impact video games have on young people. Although it is still in the preliminary stages, this research and several other studies suggest that a subset of youths may become more aggressive after playing violent video games. However, in the vast majority of cases, use of violent video games may be part of normal development, especially in boys — and a legitimate source of fun too. Given the likelihood of individual variability, it may be useful to consider the impact of video games within three broad domains: personality, situation, and motivation.§Personality:After reviewing the research, they concluded that the combination of three personality traits might be most likely to make an individual act and think aggressively after playing a violent video game. The three traits they identified were high neuroticism (prone to anger and depression, highly emotional, and easily upset), disagreeableness (cold, indifferent to other people), and low levels of conscientiousness (prone to acting without thinking, failing to deliver on promises, breaking rules).
§ Situation:The researchers found that certain situations increased exposure to violent video games — such as locating game consoles and computers in children's bedrooms, and allowing older siblings to share games with younger ones. In this study, children who played video games often with older siblings were twice as likely as other children to play mature-rated games (considered suitable for ages 17 and older)
§Motivation:Video games offer one more outlet for the competition for status or to establish a pecking order. Although it is sometimes considered as a natural way of development, The researchers concluded that video game play and other online activities have become so ubiquitous among young people that they have altered how young people socialize and learn.