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What do violent video games teach children?

The amount of violence depicted in video games is representative of the amount of violence experienced in the real world. Children could begin to believe that the world is a cold and hostile place, which may cause them to be fearful of interacting with others.

The American Psychological Association says that playing violent games correlates to children being less caring and helpful toward their peers. Children may learn that the best way to solve conflict is through aggression and that there are no consequences to their aggressive behaviors.

Violent video games teach children to externalize their anxiety. Instead of calming themselves or expressing their concern or pain to others, they externalize anxiety and may act aggressively toward others in the same way that they have been taught to act aggressively when playing violent video games.

Do playing violent video games cause aggression?

Researchers have found evidence to suggest that video games cause aggression. Researchers used MRI brain scans of players who played at least five hours of violent video games each week. The MRI indicated that there was aggressive brain activity while the players were playing; the players’ brains showed a pattern of activation similar to as if they were actually engaging in the actions they were simulating in the violent video games. Half of the most popular video games contain violence. This could suggest that your child has a one-in-two chance of experiencing aggressive thought patterns.

Source: Act Against Violence "www.actagainstviolence.org"; David Walsh, Ph.D. is the president and founder of the National Institute on Media and the Family. He has written nine books including the national best sellers Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen (Free Press, 2004) and No. Why Kids-of All Ages-Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It (Free Press, 2007).