Do violent websites encourage violence?
A team of scientists are pointing to violent content on websites as a cause of violent behaviour amongst youths.
The team from an outfit called Internet Solutions for Kids has published its research in Pediatrics mag.
Dr. Michele L. Ybarra relates: "Our findings add to the growing evidence that violence in the media is related to aggressive behavior, including seriously violent behavior among youths".
"Reduction in youths' exposure to violent media should be viewed as an important aspect of violence prevention."
The team specifically concentrated on links between violence in the media, including on websites, and serious crime such as shooting or stabbing someone, robbing someone, or committing aggravated assault or sexual assault.
They surveyed 1588 young people aged between 10- and 15-years-old, of which 48% were girls.
The results were shocking.
5% admitted having taken part in some type of seriously violent behaviour over the past year, while 38% said they had visited at least one type of violent website.
The team found that the likelihood of violent behaviour increased by 50% with each additional type of violent website a respondent admitted to be viewing.
Violence on websites included "real people fighting, shooting or killing".
Intererestingly, the effects of violent TV, films, games or cartoons were less noticeable than the impact of watching real violence online.