Do Violent Video Games Result in More Aggressive Teens?
Violent video games have been accused of causing more aggressive behaviors among teenage boys. This has been talked about more lately because the teen boys who were involved in the recent school shootings were also video game players. Parents often disagree about how to react when their sons play war and other aggressive video games. Some parents believe that aggressive games foster violent behavior. Some parents believe that aggressive play is natural for boys and it helps them practice dealing with issues they may face in real life. And finally, some parents believe that playing violent video games provides a boy with an outlet for intense feelings that might otherwise result in destructive acts or fights.
Studying the effects of violent video games on teens is a relatively new idea that began in 1984. Since that time, few studies have found that violent video games result in violent teens. However, parents need to pay close attention to their teens and watch for signs that video games are taking the place of other healthy activities such as sports, clubs and schoolwork. As with other teen activities, parents need to monitor the following: where (home or arcade), when, with whom, and how long their teens play. It would be helpful for parents to actually play the more popular video games and make their own decisions about how violent the games are. This would also foster parent and teen communication.
It is not known if violent games result in violent teens or if violent teens are more interested in violent games. But it will payoff for parents to spend time getting to know this new teen activity in order to be able to make effective rules for their family and to be able to communicate more effectively about these rules with their teens.
Reprinted with the permission of the University of Missouri. © 2008 — Curators of the University of Missouri
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