Are aggressive video games making our kids angry?
1 expert and 1 parent have answered
The older my son gets, the more complicated and aggressive the games he plays become. More shooting. More swords. Powerful lightsabers and more realistic figures taking shots at each other. Call of Duty isn’t even on our list yet, but he’s aware of it and has already asked for it. (Our answer: ‘No.’) Yet, still it’s almost impossible to avoid violent video games, and with a new study linking aggressive behavior and aggressive games, my parental red flag has been raised.
According to new Canadian research published in Developmental Psychology, violent video games are influencing our children’s behavior. Beyond that, continued violent video game play was ‘significantly related’ to aggressive behavior over time. Around 1,500 kids (boys and girls) in grades nine to 12 (high school) were surveyed for the study.
Though numerous studies have shown how video games can impact our children positively -early literacy skills, promoting teamwork and advanced hand/eye coordination - it’s impossible not to worry about this kind of implication.
That said, rough or violent play has been around long before gaming. My father, while watching my son play Lego Star Wars for Wii, a relatively simple game where Lego people explode (no blood, no body parts), was initially concerned that the game was too violent. Later, he changed his tune. ‘The pretend gun-fighting I played with friends as a child was not much different from the video game,’ he said.
Here’s the good news. There has never been more choice, or more clear age rating guidance. If you’re concerned about the games your child is playing - be safe and stick with the ‘E’ rated for everyone. And if your child is already at the age of playing violent games - limit their playtime.
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I just want to weigh in and say that many of the studies linking aggression and video gaming are of questionable scientific validity. More and more studies are coming out that make me think there is not a causal link. Here on Pixelkin.org is an infographic that breaks down some of the most recent research. Of course kids shouldn't play games that are too mature, scary, or violent for kids at their age and level of development, any more than they should watch movies or TV programs that are inappropriate for their ages.