This paper provides a research plan to study how violent video gamers can be moderated to reduce school shootings in America. It is based on the identification that a strong link exists between school shootings and over-indulgence in violent video games. The proposed study will involve a positivist framework that will be based on hypothesis testing. The actual data collection will be done in three phases which include literature review, interviews, and case study. This will involve the collection of information about the link between violent behavior, violent video game indulgence and school shootings. The literature review will involve the identification of dominant findings about the general links. This will be confirmed in an interview session with experts. After that, a case study of how related jurisdictions control gun violence will be undertaken. The actual work is to be done over a 12-month period and a Gantt Chart is provided to explain the stages of the actual research.

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Introduction and Background

Gun violence in the United States has increased significantly in the past few years. In 2021, approximately 21,000 people were killed by firearms in America (Ogasa, 2022). This marked a 33% increase in gun violence in 2017. In less than six months of 2022, there have been over 212 mass shootings in America (Diaz, 2022). This involved cases where people with guns moved to specific locations and started shooting at random people. Of the 212 mass shootings in these five months of 2022, 27 were reported in schools throughout America (Diaz, 2022). This meant that ordinary American children in schools were simply slaughtered for being in school by someone who was angry and had access to arms.

Evidence from decades of effects on media violence indicates that there is a strong connection between people’s exposure to violence in the media and aggressive behavior in real life. Longitudinal studies have shown that violent video games play a role in the increase in gun violence (Coyne, Warburton, Essig, & Stockdale, 2018). Thus, an apparent link exists between young people’s continuous engagement with video games and the increased school shootings. These days, video games are an essential part of human life. Young children aged 5-8 years spend an average of 19 minutes a day playing video games and 21 minutes on mobile games (Boston Children’s Hospital, 2022). Teenagers spend 55 minutes a day on video games and 34 minutes on mobile games (Boston Children’s Hospital, 2022). This means violent games shape the minds and thoughts of people in their orientation towards violence.

“The increasing trend of mass shootings, which were associated with excessive use of violent video games, fueled the debate of possible effects violent video games may have on adolescents and young adults.” (Kimmig, Andringa, & Derntl, 2018, p. 3). This is because there are various confounding lifestyle factors that affect people who play violent video games. The effect of this is that they tilt toward violent acts like mass shootings which lead to the elimination of many human lives. There is a lot of evidence that shows that violent video games increase aggression in players (Greitemeyer, 2019). The study showed that video game aggression is internalized by players who tend to carry out actions that are consistent with what they see in the games.

Some scholars argue that video games eliminate the humanness of others and gets players to think of them as nothing but objects they see in the games they play (Greitemeyer & McLatchie, 2011). Many young people tend to lose their ability to judge people as different from the characters they see in games. Thus, young people tend to develop aggressive behaviors that lack empathic tendencies necessary to moderate people’s application of violence to other human beings. Therefore, gun violence is popular and common in a society where violent games are not limited or inhibited.

What is the exact connection between violent video games and mass shootings? How are these risks triggered in people who engage in mass shootings? How can these high-risk factors be controlled? How can mass shooting caused by addiction to violent video games be stopped? These fundamental research questions will be used to model a research proposal to gather data, evaluate it and draw reasonable conclusions on the subject matter.

Research Aims and Objectives

The purpose of the proposed study is to critically analyze the link between violent video games and school shootings and how to end the problem. This will involve the evaluation of how violent video games incite violence in shooters and how this can be controlled to prevent school shootings. The core objectives of achieving this end include:

  1. An evaluation of the relationship between school shootings and violent video games among children.
  2. An analysis of the risks that lead to violence after a person plays violent video games.
  3. Identification of the key red flags in people who play violent video games and
  4. Assessment of the key pointers that can be used to reduce risks of school shootings by controlling violent video games.

Research Approach / Methods

The research will be conducted through a positivist framework. Positivism is about identifying and documenting what a researcher identifies in an actual study (Thomas, 2021). This is an independent way of recording what exists in space and time. Thus, the research will gather information and data about important trends and scholarly findings from other studies to document the realities on the ground.

A deductive research method will also be applied. This will include the identification of a hypothesis that will be proved to be right or wrong. Deductive research examines possible solutions or answers to a given situation to find whether they are true or not. This will help draw conclusions from the preliminary findings on how to control school shootings by limiting the adverse impacts of video games on students’ violence.

The research strategy will be undertaken in three key stages:

  1. Evaluation of the relationship between violent video games and school shootings (literature review)
  2. Evaluation of the risks and red flags of violent video game addiction in relation to school shootings (interviews)
  3. Formulation of recommendations on how to reduce school shootings by limiting violent video games (case study).

Data for the study will be collected in ways that parallel the three stages identified in the research strategy.

In the first stage, there will be a literature review of scholarly and other relevant secondary sources about the relationship between video games and school shootings. This will include general scholarly research projects on how the mind is influenced by violent video games and how this will inevitably affect and influence students. This will then move to more specific writings about the lives of actual school shooters and how they were influenced by violent video games. The findings of this section will lead to the formulation of hypotheses on how violent video games can be controlled and limited.

In the second stage, the research will commence the evaluation of the hypothesis. This will include a series of interviews with experts in psychology and criminology. A sample of experts will be interviewed to gather their insights into the risk factors and red flags that show the link between violent video games and school shootings. The focus will be on how to tell if a person has lost their ability to think normally and avoid violent acts after playing so many violent video games. This will be used to justify or refute the hypothesis.

In the third and final stage, a case study will be undertaken on how other countries have controlled violent video games and school shootings at the same time. The recommendations will be used to explain how the control of video games in other countries has worked in preventing gun violence among teenage school children and how it also improved their quality of life – like sleep time, studies and others which enabled them to overcome risks that could have led to violent behaviors and other socio-emotional adjustment needs or desires.

The research will end by proving the hypothesis or refuting it. This will provide a clear path on how to improve the mental health, worldview, and quality of life of teenagers and school children.

Expected Contribution

The research will provide a stronger and more insightful understanding of the nature of school shootings and gun violence among young people by examining the main impacts of violent video games on these young adults. This will help promote the explanations of how violent video games affect people and get them to move towards actions that prevent them from controlling their emotions and sentiments.

The research will also explain the key areas of high risk and how parents can be encouraged to improve their quality of life through better controls of their children’s lives and also identify behavior or character flaws. Through this, children can be guided, and high-risk activities and processes can be spotted for action to be taken by parents to prevent their children from falling into the trap of engaging in mass shootings or similar hostile acts.

This research will help apply methods and processes that have worked in places like Japan, South Korea and China to prevent young adults from indulging too much in games. These pointers can be adapted to the US and help deal with the gun culture problem and its related issues. Through this, some practical solutions can be identified and invoked to help prevent gun violence and other forms of conduct that are problematic and could destroy or damage many lives.

Activity Plan

The research will be conducted over a 12-month period. This will cover the modelling of the research, preliminary literature reviews and analysis, fieldwork/data collection, documentation of findings, and presentation of the conclusions in the first and final drafts of the study. This is presented in the Gantt Chart below:

Commence preliminary research            
Literature Review and Hypothesis            
Conduct Interviews            
Conduct Case Study            
Gather fieldwork findings            
Compilation of all findings            
Complete first draft            
Complete final project            

In the first month, the emphasis will be placed on the preliminary research, which will involve the finalization of the proposal and its operationalization. This will also include the gathering of relevant literature to complete the first phase of the study. The literature compilation and hypothesis will move into the second month. Once the literature review is completed, interviews will begin.

The interviews will be conducted over a three-month period. This will include the presentation of questions to experts from different backgrounds. Their inputs will be summarized and prepared for the actual collection of the fieldwork’s findings which will begin in Month 7. Before that, there will be a case study which will compare the way video games are controlled to prevent violence in related jurisdictions. This will be done through months 5-7.

The findings of all the fieldwork activities will be compiled in Month 9. By the tenth month, the research will be ready to be put together as a first draft. This will be edited further in Months 11 and 12 for the final draft to be made available for submission.


Boston Children’s Hospital. (2022, January 19). Video Games. Retrieved from BCH: https://digitalwellnesslab.org/parents/video-games

Coyne, S. M., Warburton, W. A., Essig, L. W., & Stockdale, L. A. (2018). Violent video games, externalizing behavior, and prosocial behavior: A five-year longitudinal study during adolescence. Developmental Psychology 54 (10), 1868-1880.

Diaz, J. (2022, May 26). 27 school shootings have taken place so far this year. Retrieved from NPR: https://www.npr.org/2022/05/24/1101050970/2022-school-shootings-so-far

Greitemeyer, T. (2019). The contagious impact of playing violent video games on aggression: Longitudinal evidence. Aggressive Behavior 45 (6), 635-642.

Greitemeyer, T., & McLatchie, N. (2011). Denying Humanness to Others: A Newly Discovered Mechanism by Which Violent Video Games Increase Aggressive Behavior. Psychological Science 22(5).

Kimmig, A.-C., Andringa, G., & Derntl, B. (2018). Potential Adverse Effects of Violent Video Gaming: Interpersonal- Affective Traits Are Rather Impaired Than Disinhibition in Young Adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 1-18.

Ogasa, N. (2022, May 26). Mass shootings and gun violence in the United States are increasing. Retrieved from Science News: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/gun-violence-mass-shootings-increase-united-states-data-uvalde-buffalo

Thomas, G. (2021). Experimental Research. Research Methodology and Scientific Writing, 93-133.