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Violence in Video Games: A Few Facts to Consider

Video games are now a prime form of entertainment among Americas youth. An estimated 70 percent of children ages 2 to 18 have access to video games at home, with a third playing games in their bedrooms, according to recent surveys. Here are some facts about them gleaned from a recent study: 

  • Boys aged 8 18 surveyed in this research spent 40 minutes a day playing computer or video games. The number of violent interactions in a 10-minute play period ranged from 2 to 124.
  • Boys who play Teen or Mature-rated games for a minimum of 40 minutes a day may witness over 180 incidents of aggression per day, or 5,400 incidents per month.
  • In 98 percent of the games surveyed, aggression went unpunished.  In fact, in more than half the video games the perpetrators were rewarded for their aggressive actions.
  • The basic prototype for aggression in Mature-rated video games involves human perpetrators who engage in repeated acts of justified violence involving weapons.
  • 78 percent of all violent interactions in the first ten minutes of game play featured lethal violence.
  • In almost a quarter of the violent interaction in mature games, players perceived themselves as stalkers.
  • 78 percent of the violent action was shown up close.
  • Almost half of all violent video game segments featured humor.
  • Only 10 percent of all video game perpetrators possessed good or prosocial qualities.


Smith, S.L., Lachlan, K.A., & Tamborini, R. (2003). Popular Video Games: Quantifying the Presentation of Violence and its Context. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 47 (1).

The Lion & Lamb Project

The Lion & Lamb Project is an initiative of the Tides Center.