Does it sometimes feel like today’s teens are getting ruder and more aggressive? You might want to blame violent videogames!

That’s the upshot of a huge 3-year study that found teens that regularly play violent videogames get progressively more aggressive and hostile toward others. It affects girls and boys equally - and the longer and more frequently they play, the more aggressive they get.

Why? Experts believe it’s because gamers are learning how to deal with anger and conflict with aggression, as opposed to kindness or tolerance. They’re even more likely to lash out when someone unintentionally provokes them, say, by accidentally stepping on their foot.

Researchers had students fill out multiple questionnaires throughout high school that were designed to rate levels of aggression. Questions asked whether they tended to kick or punch people who made them angry, as well as whether they played action or fighting videogames. And how frequently they played - going from never, all the way to 5 hours a day. The result? The more hours a teen played violent games, and the more years they played, the more aggressive they got. While teens who regularly played non-violent videogames stayed at the same level of aggression for the entire study.

Experts are concerned about the connection between violent videogames and aggression, because so many teens spend so much time playing them. And they point to high-profile violence connected to game playing, like the Norwegian mass murderer who killed 77 campers. He admitted that he played “Call of Duty” for hours on end to train himself for the massacre.

What do you think? Do you think violent videogames are to blame for teen aggression?