What’s The Psychological Effect of Violent Video Games on Children?

This week, the United States Supreme Court overturned a California law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. But can a child’s behavior be directly influenced by playing a violent video game? On balance, psychological scientists think so.

According to Brad Bushman, a communications and psychology professor at Ohio State University, the link between video games and aggressive behavior is clear: “Over 130 studies have been conducted on over 130,000 participants around the world.” Bushman says that these studies provide evidence that violent video games can lead to “an increase in aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal, including increased heart rate, and aggressive behavior. They also decrease helping behavior and feelings of empathy for others.”

But Christopher Ferguson, a psychologist at Texas A&M University, is of the opinion that research on media effects and aggression is inconsistent. Ferguson points to research that suggests that playing violent video games may have some positive effects for young adults, such as better stress management. He notes that “this field is really in the midst of a “paradigm shift,” and we’ve been so busy coming to new understandings about violent video games and aggression, we haven’t explored these other areas as much as we should.”

Douglas Gentile, a developmental psychologist at Iowa State University, believes that the psychological science on the relationship between violent video games and behavior still holds up. “What we don’t want is for parents to come away saying ‘Oh, so I don’t need to worry,’” says Gentile. This ruling “doesn’t negate the science and mean that parents don’t need to be involved. The research shows that when parents set limits on children’s media use, it is a powerful protective factor for children.”

Comments

Do you realize all the violent video games with mixer mayhem killing animals? Is M rating for mature which is 18 years old , so all kids thru high school should not be playing this standard level of accepted violence
The court needs to get this message out !!!

Spellcheck said mixer meant to say murder & mayhem with bursting blood , with zero motives for the killing , the violence is taught as pure recreation!!!
All our kids are turned into PTSD. This is what can happen when you see real war & violence, however the simulation of violence in video games can have same effect! The DSM 5 should have video game violence ptsd as it’s own dx! Then people will get treatment !

Have you seen a PTSD victim? I haven’t seen any kid that plays FPS, for example, to resemble the condition. And i have over 20 years of playing all kinds of games.

Don’t you know its the same with Booze? It’s up to the parents to determine whether the kids can play these games or not. There is nothing the court can do anyway, since once the parents purchase the game, it is in their possession and they are able to determine what to do with it.

I think that a child anywhere between the ages of 13-17, should be able to choose whether or not they play the video game. Even if it is rated M for mature meaning 18+. I am at the age of 17 and I’ve played rated M games since I was probably close to 6 years of age. I am a healthy un-“contaminated” child of the video game community. It’s the decision they make to use their knowledge of combat tactics they learn from a game, or make it real life. The worlds not perfect shootings and violent behavior leading from video games will never end.

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