Parents have often been warned about the dangers their kids are facing if they spend endless hours playing video games. Boys in particular, but not only them, have a preference for violent video games because they just love the adrenaline that comes with it and it’s very hard to keep them away from this activity once they’ve become addicted.
Although the theory is not new, a team of researchers have recently published a study which links the tendency to become aggressive to violent video games.
In order to reach such conclusions, the researchers looked at more than three hundred studies that tested various players both during longer periods of time and during a shorter time span to see what effects video games had upon them.
“The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in pro-social behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression,” wrote the researchers.
Obviously, the study also had its opponents, belonging to different pro-gaming groups. The most important counter-argument referred to the fact that the psychologists who carried out the study were against playing video games in general.
According to a representative of the Heart of Gaming arcade in London , Mark Starkey, even if games have become more violent in time and the inclination towards a violent behavior has also increased over the past few years, games are not necessarily the only ones responsible for this. There are also a lot of violent movies that people usually watch. Moreover, games employ the same ratings system as movies do.
Even so, there are examples of extremely violent behavior that has been linked to movies. For instance, the Sandy Hook massacre on December 14, 2012, where twenty children were killed in an elementary school by 20-year-old Adam Lanza was linked to excessive violent video games playing.
Even if more research needs to be carried out to determine whether there is a clear association between video games and violent behavior, some psychologists support the theory, saying that this activity overstimulates people, especially the young ones:
“They don’t have such an easy cut off as older people because their brains aren’t quite fully developed. Their ‘off-pedal’ isn’t quite developed so it’s harder for them to switch off and come back to reality,” said psychologist Dr. Jane McCartney.
The results of the study were published in the American Psychological Association journal.
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