Thirteen-year-old Darren and a half dozen of his video game-playing friends are sitting around a table at the Boys and Girls Club in a working-class section of Boston. We're talking about the games, especially the violent ones. They've all played them.
Darren had a tough time in school earlier this week. On Monday, a teacher said something that embarrassed him in front of his classmates. When he went home that afternoon, he plugged in his video game console, loaded Grand Theft Auto III, blew up a few cars and shot a half-dozen people, including a young blond woman. When asked, Darren admits that the woman he killed in the game looked a lot like his teacher.
If you listen to the politicians and the pundits, the relationship is blindingly clear: playing violent video games leads children to engage in real-world violence or, at the very least, to become more aggressive.