The American Psychological Association (APA) is calling for additional parental control over the inclusion of violent scenes in video game titles after discovering that such portrayals are linked to the development of callous and aggressive behavior.

In its review of close to a decade of research, the APA found that playing video games that depict violent actions served as a factor for an increase in aggression risk. The group, however, clarified that it has not found enough evidence to prove that the influence of popular violent video games, such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, led individuals to commit criminal acts.

"The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in pro-social behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression," the APA stated in its report.

The APA said that its experts were not able to find a single influence by video games that led an individual to act violently or aggressively, but instead it was more of an accumulation of violent risk factors that led to such behavior.

The group mentioned [pdf] in the report that playing video games that show violence is just one risk factor investigated in the study.

APA officials have urged the creators of such violent video games to increase the parental control levels in their titles over the amount of aggressive actions included in their games.

Earlier this month, the American Psychological Association's ruling council called for the establishment of a rating system for video games that pays close attention to the amount of violence featured in game titles, as well as to make these games more appropriate to the psychological development and age of the people that play them.

APA task force chair Dr. Mark Appelbaum said that while scientists have tried to look into the use of video games that feature violence for over two decades, there is not enough research that addresses the possibility that such games can influence the commission of a crime.

He said that the connection between the violence depicted in video games and the increased risk of aggression among players is one of the most investigated and well-established in this particular field.

Appelbaum added that they are aware of a number of risk factors that lead to aggressive acts.

Photo: Derek Bridges | Flickr 

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