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The study by Granic, Lobel, and Engels (2014) discusses the influence of video games on those who play them. It is stressed that video games have been a controversial issue lately and that the popular media constantly write about the dangers of these games and their connection to violence (Granic et al., 2014, p. 66). In this respect, it should be noted that, for instance, President Trump often asserts that video games are the reason for mass shootings in schools, whereas it is argued that he is wrong (Kain, 2018; Salam & Stack, 2018).
Granic et al. (2014) also stress that most studies explore the potential adverse impacts of video gaming on individuals, such as possible increases in depression and violence (Granic et al., 2014). In contrast, these authors focus on the positive effects of video gaming, investigating them in four key areas: motivational, cognitive, social, and emotional (Granic et al., 2014). They also propose designing games for specific purposes and using them for goals such as education (Granic et al., 2014).
The central question of the article is whether video games provide players with various benefits. The authors support this claim; in particular, they note that “these games hold [potential] for interventions that promote well-being, including the prevention and treatment of mental health problems in youth,” even though few games were developed to meet that particular goal (Granic et al., 2014, p. 76). This opinion is contrasted to the approach found in most psychological studies on video games, which stress their “negative impact: the potential harm related to aggression, addiction, and depression” (Granic et al., 2014, p. 66).
The study by Granic et al. (2014) is based on a literature review, and discusses a multitude of potential benefits of video games; all of these cannot be assessed in a single study. Thus, because the mentioned controversy is related to the alleged impact of video games on aggression and violence in schools (Kain, 2018; Salam & Stack, 2018), it is possible to assess whether video games are indeed associated with increased levels of aggression. To conduct such a study, an instrument for assessing the levels of aggression should be developed or selected. It is recommended that the instrument should use descriptions of actions rather than terms (e.g. not “I am often aggressive with my classmates,” but “I often want to hit my classmates”) to avoid discrepancies in the interpretation of items across respondents. It is possible to use, e.g., the Physical and Verbal Aggression Scale (PVAS) utilized by Mestre, Vidal, and García (2017).
An instrument for assessing how much respondents play video games and how violent the latter is will also need to be developed. Finally, it will be pivotal to include into the questionnaire a variety of other questions, such as ones about gender, age, socioeconomic status, and any other factors that may affect the aggressiveness of children, for it is possible that these factors, rather than gaming, impact the level of aggression of children. For instance, gender should be included because males may be more aggressive than girls, and if gender is not included in the analysis, the variance in aggression which is due to gender may be attributed to gaming. It is also possible that children who are more aggressive due to other causes choose to play more violent games, in which case if these causes are not included in the analysis, the tests will show a strong correlation between aggression and gaming.
The data should be collected by surveying schoolchildren of a certain age range. The survey will comprise the instruments mentioned above. The data will be analyzed using multiple regression (Field, 2013). The dependent variable will be the level of aggressiveness of children. The independent variables will include the time of video gameplay per week or month, the level of violence in those games, the respondents’ gender, socioeconomic status, and other factors that may impact the level of children’s aggressiveness.
It is paramount to stress that the proposed study will be correlational, and will not allow for causal inference.
Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. M. E. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66-78.
Kain, E. (2018). Trump blames violent video games for school shootings – Here’s why he’s wrong. Forbes. Web.
Mestre, A. L., Vidal, E. M., & García, P. S. (2017). Depression and aggressive behavior in adolescents offenders and non-offenders. Psicothema, 29(2), 197-203.
Salam, M., & Stack, L. (2018). Trump blames video games for mass shootings. Researchers disagree. The New York Times. Web.