VIDEO GAME VIOLENCE: Will it affect my Child’s Behavior?

Research on Video Games and Aggressive Behavior

There has been a lot of debate about whether or not violence in video games can lead to an increase in maladaptive behaviors in children. As much as parents want to try to keep children and adolescents away from violent games, many children will find a way to play them. One research study revealed that approximately 70 % of American teenage boys between the ages of 13-17 have played the violent videogame Grand Theft Auto, in which the goal of the game is to steal cars and murder people. Another research study indicated that the less exposure that children have to violent games, the less aggressive behavior the children exhibit. Furthermore, a rather large research study concluded that aggressive video games lead to aggressive behaviors in children.

The question remains as to whether or not children who play violent video games are at increased risk to exhibit aggressive behavior; or is it that aggressive children tend to want to engage in aggressive activities? Regardless of the causality of preference for violent games and aggressive behavior, it is important to recognize that the children who play these violent games are at increased risk to be aggressive. 

Regulations on Video Game Violence

The government has already required video games to have a rating (ranging from E for Everyone to A for Adult) http://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.jsp. Ideally, children and adolescents would not be able to purchase video games with a certain rating scale; however, that has not been the case. The enforcement of this rating scale has been minimal at best and is really dependent upon the individual store employee.

How To Avoid Video Game Violence In Your Home

If we want to curb exposure of violence to children, we have to make sure that these children do not have access to the games. It is also the responsibility of parents to be aware of what games their children are playing. Parents should routinely check in with other parents to see what games their children may be playing at friend’s houses. Parents: have your children show you the games they are playing. Spend time with your children and play the games with them. As research demonstrates, the results of their choices in video games can be critical to their social interactions.

I would love to know:

  • If you allow your child to play violent video games, have you seen increased aggressiveness?

  • What are some great non- violent games that your child plays that is rated E?

 

 

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