The video games industry is worth billions of dollars, and over the years, it has rapidly expanded to include updated technology and new games. Today, there is stiff competition among video game companies to build more interactive and realistic games.
From car theft to war games, most of the video of the games contain mature content that always includes physical aggression. Over 90% of the children play these violent games.
Most of these games, like Grand theft auto and Fortnite, contain graphic acts of violence, including the gruesome killing of humans and animals.
Other things like sexual exploitation, criminal behavior, and drug abuse are often depicted in the games.
Even though some parents believe that playing violent video games does not affect their children, many studies say that video games might cause physical aggression and other harmful effects on kids.
Research on Violent Video Games
Studies testing the relation between aggressive behavior in children and video games fall into two categories.
The first category shows that children who participate in violent video games do not show any increased physical aggression. The second category shows that violent games do affect the child’s behavior and overall well-being:
In 2007, Swinburne University of Technology conducted a study and found out that while some kids might develop aggressive thoughts from playing the games, others become less aggressive. However, many remained normal- their anger levels remain unchanged.
In 2010, a study concluded that violent media results in aggression in children with specific traits. For example, kids with low conscientiousness and high neuroticism can easily experience increased physical aggressiveness after viewing graphic content or playing violent video games.
In 2011, a study suggested that an aggressive child is more likely to select a violent video game. However, there’s no sufficient evidence to back this up.
Another 2011 study stated that even though violent gaming habits might promote increased physical aggression in kids, they downgrade crime. Researchers say a kid who spends most of his time playing video games has little time to participate in social activities.
The Effects of Violent Video Games on Young People
Leads to Decreased Empathy and Reduced Prosocial Behavior
In 2015 Researchers from the American Psychological Association said that there’s a link between video game violence and aggression. This statement was based on a study conducted between 2005 and 2013. However, the study acknowledges the lack of enough evidence to link violent video games and criminal or violent behavior.
Makes Young People More Aggressive, Fearful and Violent
According to a statement made by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2016, it nearly possible to stop kids from viewing any violent media. It continues to say that parents must be proactive on the impact video games have on children.
Also, the statement states that research has shown that without proper guidance or control, a violent video game can make a kid more aggressive, fearful, or even violent.
Do Violent Videos Games Increase Violence?
Although the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about violence is physical aggression, not all aggressive behaviors are violent. There are very few studies that have looked for a link between violent video games and criminal behavior. This is because conducting such research is difficult and requires many children.
As much as it makes sense that playing violent games boosts the level of physical aggression, which might result in more lethal violence, we can’t find enough evidence to support this claim.
Setting Clear Limits On Video Games
When children play video games, their brains receive a real workout. In many video games, the tactics, and skills needed to win involve a high level of thinking. Some skills are not even taught at school.
The skills include problem-solving and logic, multitasking, quick thinking, memory, mapping, and perseverance.
But according to child and adolescent psychiatry, violent video game exposure is one of the risk factors of aggressive behaviors in young people, apart from mental illness and adverse environment.
So if you let your kids play violent games, monitor their video gameplay. And if they display signs of physical aggression, limit their exposure to violent material. Always remember that the right media for children is about the quality of content they consume.
The following tips will help you set clear limits:
- Monitor and control the type of game your kid plays. Always know which website your kid visits to play or download games.
- Provide them with health information on how violent games might affect them mentally. Make sure you talk about the unhealthy messages the games might be portraying.
- Reduce your kid’s screen video game playtime or total screen time to prevent harmful mental and physical health issues that might arise from spending countless hours on consoles or computer monitors.
- Look at the ratings of the games and app. Only allow your kids to play games rated for their age (not too violent or graphic).
- Agreeing to play the games with them. This way, you can monitor and get insights into what type of games they like.
It highly unlikely that playing games will transform your kid into a serial killer. However, there are some adolescent psychiatry concerns about video games that parents should be aware of.
If you permit your kid to play a violent video game, make sure you monitor how often your kid plays. A little playing might not affect your kid, but excessive playing might lead to a negative side effect.
The effects of video games can be negative but also positive. It’s hard to argue about one and forget about the other. What’s important is you understand how the different aspect of games impacts your kid’s mental health and behavior- You are the only one who knows what fuels your kid.