Video games and violence among children and adolescents in the Arab world: A systematic review Video games and violence in Arab world

Main Article Content

Shahad A. AlHazzaa
Rawaa N. Alwohaibi
Latifah I. AlMusailet
Afnan J. Alshrefy
Reema A. Almaimoni
Ritesh G. Menezes


video games, violence, aggression, social psychology, Arab world


Background and aim: Video gaming has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years. Video games have been associated with various negative effects on players, such as aggressive behavior and reduced apathy. The present review aims to investigate the association between video games and violence among children and adolescents in the Arab world, while highlighting the influence of the type of video games played, time spent playing, and other possible associated factors.Methods: A literature search was performed on PubMed and Web of Science electronic databases. All studies assessing video games and violence among children and adolescents written in English were eligible for inclusion in the review. A total of 9 studies were included in this systematic review. Results: Six studies investigated the relationship between video games and aggression, five of which found a significant association. Several factors have been studied to assess their role in mediating the association between the two. A statistically significant association was found between aggression and age and sex of the players, with a predominance among early adolescents and males. Longer durations spent playing video games were found in three studies to be significantly associated with a greater risk of aggression. Conclusions: In the Arab world, studies addressing this subject are limited. The discrepancy of reported results between video games and amount of violence could be attributed to the lack of standardization across studies. Therefore, it becomes imperative to further explore the association through conclusive studies with standardized measures.(


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 101 | PDF Downloads 67


1. Quwaider M, Alabed A, Duwairi R. The mpact of video games on the players behaviors: a survey. Procedia Comput Sci. 2019 May 2;151:575-82. doi:
2. Lee JH, Karlova N, Clarke RI, Thornton K, Perti A. Facet analysis of video game genres. Proceedings of iConference 2014; 2014 March 4-7; Berlin, Germany.
3. Newzoo. Key Numbers | Games, Esports, Mobile [Internet]. [place unknown]:Newzoo; 2021[cited 2021 Nov 29]. Available from:
4. Limelight. The State of Online Gaming – 2020 [Internet]. Arizone: Limelight; 2020 (cited 2021 Nov 29). Available from:
5. Tejeiro Salguero RA, Morán RM. Measuring problem video game playing in adolescents. Addiction. 2002 Dec 11; 97(12):1601-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.2002.00218.x.
6. Hastings EC, Karas TL, Winsler A, Way E, Madigan A, Tyler S. Young children's video/computer game use: relations with school performance and behavior. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2009 Sep 15;30(10): 638-49. doi: 10.1080/01612840903050414
7. World Health Organization. Violence, injuries and disability [Internet]. Geneva; WHO. [cited 2021 Dec 2]. Available from:
8. Brockmyer JF. Playing violent video games and desensitization to violence. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2015 Jan 1;24(1):65-77. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2014.08.001.
9. Entertainment Software Association. Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry [Internet]. Washington D.C.:ESA; 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 29]. Available from: industry/
10. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Defining and Understanding Violent Video Games [Internet]. New Jersey; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. [2010 Oct 26; cited 2021 Dec 2]. Available from: .html
11. Anderson CA, Shibuya A, Ihori N, Swing EL, Bushman BJ, Sakamoto A, Rothstein HR, Saleem M. Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in eastern and western countries: a meta-analytic review. Psychol Bull. 2010 Mar;136(2):151-73. doi: 10.1037/a0018251.
12. Ferguson CJ. Do Angry Birds Make for Angry Children? A Meta-Analysis of Video Game Influences on Children's and Adolescents' Aggression, Mental Health, Prosocial Behavior, and Academic Performance. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2015 Sep;10(5):646-66. doi: 10.1177/1745691615592234.
13. Gentile DA, Lynch PJ, Linder JR, Walsh DA. The effects of violent video game habits on adolescent hostility, aggressive behaviors, and school performance. J Adolesc. 2004 Feb;27(1):5-22. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2003.10.002.
14. Möller I, Krahé B. Exposure to violent video games and aggression in German adolescents: a longitudinal analysis. Aggress Behav. 2009 Jan-Feb;35(1):75-89. doi: 10.1002/ab.20290.
15. Allahverdipour H, Bazargan M, Farhadinasab A, Moeini B. Correlates of video games playing among adolescents in an Islamic country. BMC Public Health. 2010 May 27;10:286. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-286.
16. Anderson CA, Bushman BJ. Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: a meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychol Sci. 2001 Sep;12(5):353-9. doi: 10.1111/1467-9280.00366.
17. Anderson CA, Sakamoto A, Gentile DA, et al. Longitudinal effects of violent video games on aggression in Japan and the United States. Pediatrics. 2008 Nov;122(5): e1067- 72. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-1425.
18. Huesmann LR, Dubow EF, Boxer P. Continuity of aggression from childhood to early adulthood as a predictor of life outcomes: implications for the adolescent‐limited and life‐course‐persistent models. Aggress Behav. 2009 Mar-Apr;35(2):136-49. doi:10.1002/ab.20300.
19. Alamri M. The relationship between digital gaming and behaviors, thoughts, and feelings among Saudi college students [dissertation]. Kansas: University of Kansas; 2018.
20. Awadalla N, Hadram M, Alshahrani A, Hadram Y. Association of video gaming with some risky behavior of secondary school adolescents in Abha, Southwestern Saudi Arabia. J Egypt. Public Health Assoc. 2017 Mar 1;92(1):18-28. doi: 10.21608/epx.2017.7006.
21. Salih E, Alghamdi A, Alzahrani A, Alghamdi H, Alghamdi F, Alzubaidy A. Prevalence and negative impact of videogames among children and adolescents in Albaha city. Med Sci. 2020 Oct;24(106):4001-9
22. Dhafar Y, Algarni A, Mubarak A, Aljuaid E, Zafar H. Impact of media violence on aggressive and criminal behavior of young population in Taif city, Saudi Arabia. Int J Pharm Res Allied Sci. 2018;7(3):91-100.
23. Al-Harbi A. Video games and their relationship to the aggressive behavior of intermediate school students in Saudi Arabia. Br J Educ. 2019 Feb;7(2):1-18.
24. Felemban O, Al-Zahrani A, Alhazmi A, Alahmadi R, Alsalhi A, Alahmadi R. The effect on playing violent video games among school going children. Int J Clin Ski. 2021;15(9):518-24. doi: 10.37532/1753-0431.2021.15(9).200.
25. Yousef S, Eapen V, Zoubeidi T, Mabrouk A. Behavioral correlation with television watching and videogame playing among children in the United Arab Emirates. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2014 Aug;18(3):203-7. doi: 10.3109/13651501.2013.874442.
26. Tarabah A, Badr LK, Usta J, Doyle J. Exposure to violence and children's desensitization attitudes in Lebanon. J Interpers Violence. 2016 Nov;31(18):3017-38. doi: 10.1177/0886260515584337.
27. Al-Ali NM, Yaghy HS, Shattnawi KK, Al-Shdayfat NM. Parents' knowledge and beliefs about the impact of exposure to media violence on children's aggression. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2018 Jul;39(7):592-9. doi: 10.1080/01612840.2017.1422201.
28. Ez-Elarab HS, Sabbour SM, Gadallah MA, Asaad TA. Prevalence and risk factors of violence among elementary school children in Cairo. J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 2007;82(1-2):127-46.
29. Zhang Q, Cao Y, Tian J. Effects of violent video games on aggressive cognition and aggressive behavior. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2021 Jan;24(1):5-10. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2019.0676.
30. Shao R, Wang Y. The relation of violent video games to adolescent aggression: an examination of moderated mediation effect. Front Psychol. 2019 Feb 21;10:384. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00384
31. Ferguson CJ, Wang JCK. Aggressive video games are not a risk factor for future aggression in youth: a longitudinal study. J Youth Adolesc. 2019 Aug;48(8):1439-51. doi: 10.1007/s10964-019-01069-0.
32. Ferguson CJ. Video games and youth violence: a prospective analysis in adolescents. J Youth Adolesc. 2011 Apr;40(4):377-91. doi: 10.1007/s10964-010-9610-x.
33. Burkhardt J, Lenhard W. A Meta-Analysis on the longitudinal, age-dependent effects of violent video games on aggression. Media Psychol. 2021 Sep;25(3):499-512. doi: 10.1080/15213269.2021.1980729.
34. Willoughby T, Adachi PJ, Good M. A longitudinal study of the association between violent video game play and aggression among adolescents. Dev Psychol. 2012 Jul;48(4):1044-57. doi: 10.1037/a0026046.
35. Chang JH, Bushman BJ. Effect of exposure to gun violence in video games on children’s
dangerous behavior with real guns: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 May;2(5):e194319. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.4319.

Most read articles by the same author(s)