Factors correlated with violent video games use by teenage boys and girls (Olson et al., 2007)

Now at gamepolitics.com, Cheryl K. Olson and colleague Lawrence A. Kutner, had a book that’s going to be published in April and a lot of the commentators seem so excited over news that support their beliefs about violent video game effects. Well, I’m not really excited, just interested to hear what she and her colleagues has to say about the violent media research. You can read some excerpts from their website at grandtheftchildhood.com. By the way, I commented that I read her papers, it turns out to be the wrong person, it was Sheryl L. Olson. Well, they sound similar, so it’s a normal and understandable mistake.


Purpose: To compare the video and computer game play patterns of young adolescent boys and girls, including factors correlated with playing violent games.

Methods: Data collected in November/December, 2004 from children in grades 7 and 8 at two demographically diverse schools in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, using a detailed written self-reported survey.

Results: Of 1254 participants (53% female, 47% male), only 80 reported playing no electronic games in the previous 6 months. Of 1126 children who listed frequently played game titles, almost half (48.8%) played at least one violent (mature-rated) game regularly (67.9% of boys and 29.2% of girls). One third of boys and 10.7% of girls play games nearly every day; only 1 in 20 plays often or always with a parent. Playing M-rated games is positively correlated (p < .001) with being male, frequent game play, playing with strangers over the Internet, having a game system and computer in one’s bedroom, and using games to manage anger.

Conclusions: Most young adolescent boys and many girls routinely play M-rated games. Implications for identifying atypical and potentially harmful patterns of electronic game use are discussed, as well as the need for greater media literacy among parents.

Olson, C. K., Kutner, L. A., Warner, D. E., Almerigi, J. B., Baer, L., Nicholi, A. M.,II, et al. (2007). Factors correlated with violent video game use by adolescent boys and girls. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(1), 77-83.


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