Violent video games and Aggression in young children

Violent video games and Aggression in young children


For people of all ages, playing video games is a popular kind of amusement. Four out of five American households own a gaming console, and 174 million Americans are avid gamers (Entertainment Software Association, 2019). In America, more than 34 million gamers play for an average of 22 hours every week (Cooper, 2019). Playing violent video games regularly might have detrimental effects on children, even while they can help with learning, problem-solving, coordination, and fine motor abilities.

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According to Anderson and Carnagey (2014), playing violent video games can serve as a precursor to acting aggressively. Before middle school, a kid would often witness 8,000 murders and 10,000 other violent actions, according to the results of the last comprehensive assessment of on-screen violence, which was completed in 1998 (McCarthy, 2021). Children who watch violent cartoons demonstrate more aggressive attitudes and actions than those who watch peaceful cartoons (Zhang et al., 2019). Because they receive game points for performing violent activities like shooting or murdering, violent video gamers are more likely to identify with violent behaviours and play the game more actively than those who are exposed to other violent media.

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Compulsive digital gaming can make kids more aggressive and have a detrimental impact on their academic achievement. The positive association between playing violent video games and hostility is supported by several studies. Violent video games incite the player and heighten aggressive feelings, ideas, and actions (Hollingdale & Greitemeyer, 2014). According to Shao and Wang (2019), there is a significant positive link between teenage violence and playing violent video games. According to the findings of Engelhardt and colleagues (2011), playing violent video games can alter how the brain reacts to violence, which can lead to an increase in aggression.

Willoughby and colleagues (2012) discovered that teenagers who engage in violent video games regularly started to think more aggressively. They also observed that when teenagers were provoked at home, at school, or in other settings, they reacted in a manner akin to playing violent video games: they used aggression to resolve conflicts in real life. According to Bushman and Anderson (2009), teens who play violent video games are more likely to be hostile because of the recurrent violent actions that occur within the game.

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The American Psychological Association (APA) acknowledged in their updated resolution on violent video games that scientific research has shown a correlation between using violent video games and decreases in prosocial behaviour, empathy, and moral engagement as well as increases in aggressive behaviour, aggressive affect, and aggressive cognitions (APA, 2020). The resolution did, however, also offer the following warning.

Violence is a complicated societal issue that probably has several causes that demand consideration from the public, policymakers, and researchers. It is not supported by science to link violence to violent video games, because doing so ignores other contributing variables.

Repercussions of Harmful Video Games: The Research’s Findings

Douglas Gentile, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State University and a recognized authority on how television affects both adults and children, oversaw the study. It was demonstrated that children who play violent video games regularly develop aggressive thought patterns that may potentially affect their conduct. More than 3,000 kids in the third, fourth, seventh, and eighth grades were followed for three years as part of the study.

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As an illustration, they devote a lot of time hunting down adversaries and responding swiftly to hostility. Both mental and behavioural changes may result from this. For example, a child who plays violent video games and often fantasizes about violence may be more likely to respond rudely or angrily if he bumps into someone in the school hallway.

How to Limit Screen Time?

Establish “Zones Free of Technology”

Set up areas of your home where gadgets of any kind—including computers, mobile phones, and portable video games—are strictly forbidden. One spot in your house that you may set apart for mealtimes and family chats is the kitchen or dining area.

Decide When to Unplug

Allocate specific periods for your family to disconnect from electronic gadgets. Kids & tech parenting advice in the era of technology American Academy of Pediatrics. Two instances are an hour before bedtime or during dinner time. Your family can spend deliberate, meaningful time together when you all agree to put down your electronics.

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Make Use of Parental Controls

You may utilize some techniques to keep your children away from graphic stuff on TV and the internet.5. You can set up parental controls on most routers, online browsers, and TVs to filter or prevent inappropriate information. You may also build content filters using built-in settings on your kids’ devices or by downloading applications. You may ban particular websites, web searches, or even terms on several of them.

Summing Up

In conclusion, youngsters who play violent video games squander time and become more aggressive both physically and mentally. Youngsters are finding it difficult to distinguish between reality and what they see in computer games. Kids end up taking up negative habits and beginning to value behaviours like fighting well or becoming wary of others instead of the games being just for fun. They develop these behaviours in their daily lives, which can be detrimental to their physical and mental health. All things considered, stronger laws governing video games are necessary to safeguard impressionable gamers.

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References +
  • 10 Tips for Limiting Your Child’s Screen Time Amy Morin
  • ProQuest | Better research, better learning, better insights.
  • Violent video games make children more violent
  • Violent video games can increase aggression
  • Violent Video Games and Young People – Harvard Health Publishing
  • Violent Video Game Exposure and Problem Behaviors among Children and Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Deviant Peer Affiliation for Gender and Grade Differences Wei et al.

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