Study links Grand Theft Auto to risky behaviour

A screenshot from Grand Theft Auto V, one of the games US researchers have suggested could lead teens to indulge in more risk taking. Picture: contributed
A screenshot from Grand Theft Auto V, one of the games US researchers have suggested could lead teens to indulge in more risk taking. Picture: contributed
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Video games filled with violence like Edinburgh-designed Grand Theft Auto can lead to more thrill-seeking and risky behaviour among teens, researchers have suggested.

The study by psychologists at Dartmouth University in the USA argued that teenagers who play the games are more likely to drink excessively, smoke, steal, fight or engage in unsafe sex.

Researchers said that over the course of the four-year study, teenagers who didn’t play violent video games did not show the same increase in rebellious behaviour.

Professor James Sargent said: “This study is important because it is the first to suggest possible effects of violent video games go well beyond violence to apply to substance use, risky driving and risk-taking sexual behaviour.”

The study saw 5,000 US teens recruited and surveyed on their behaviour from the ages of 14 to 18.