Do violent video games make kids violent ?
For years parents have questioned how virtual violence, or violence seen on TV or through other forms of media, affects children’s brains. The results have been mixed. Researchers have acknowledged at least a slight increase in aggressive behavior when kids are exposed to virtual violence, but those creating violent media say the effect is negligible and can’t be blamed on violence that is only seen or experienced through a video game. Finally, research has been released that breaks down the facts about virtual violence and the effects on children.What Does the Research Say?Over 500 research studies were analyzed, and researchers found that exposure to virtual violence does have an effect on children. In one study, aggressive behavior and thoughts, as well as arousal increased after children viewed or participated in virtual violence.
Though some have pointed out that these studies still point to a moderate amount of children being affected, researchers point out that the connection between lung cancer and smoking is even less proven, but action has been taken to get people to stop smoking. This study should at least give parents and those involved in the welfare of children, such as doctors and caretakers, pause.
There is no way to make sure a child is never exposed to virtual violence. With the increase in video games, tablets, and the common occurrence of televisions in every home, a child will see virtual violence at some point in their lives. However, there are ways to help decrease a child’s exposure and help them understand the consequences of violence.
- View television shows with your children. The same goes with video games. Play games with children or talk to them about scenes in movies that show violent behavior. Be there so kids can ask questions.
- Limit screen time. Don’t let kids stay plugged in to a device for a long period of time. Make sure that when you limit screen time, you also follow tip number one and know what your kids are watching during their time with a screen.
- Talk to kids about violence, virtual and otherwise. Watching the news or scanning an article on a news page may result in a child seeing or reading about violence. Start talking to your kids early about the negative effects of violence. Explain how it hurts individuals and societies, and don’t let it be glorified by the media.