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Teen Violence and Video Games
The correlation between teen violence and video games is often debated. Learn possible effects of video gamess on children and teens, statistics on teen video game use, and tips for parents to help reduce the effects of violent video games on teenagers.
The connection between teen violence and video games is a hotly debated topic, with ongoing research not yet able to answer many questions. So far research does indicate that parents should be cautious about what games and other media their teens are exposed to and should watch for concerning signs of violence in teen gamers.
Violent media, including computer and video games, has long been believed to have some impact on teen violence. What researchers do not yet know is how much of an impact it has and what the long term impacts of video games on teen violence will be.
The number of violent video games and the realism of their violence has increased dramatically in the last two decades, while violent teenage crime has declined. Some say that this is evidence that violent games do not cause teen violence. There have been disturbing connections, however, between school shootings, teen violence and video games that are violent which may show that some individuals who are predisposed to violence are drawn to violent video games.
Not every teen who plays violent video games is going to commit a violent crime, but there may be less obvious effects of violent games on teens. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry warns of possible correlation of teen violence and video games in both children and teens:
Studies have shown mixed or incomplete information about teen violence and video games:
Parents may be concerned about violent video games, but they often do not monitor their teens' video game playing. Several studies reported by Iowa State University researchers found that:
Some things parents can do to help reduce the effects of violent games on teens include:
Not enough is known yet about the effects of video games to know how they impact teen behavior, but they may increase violence in some teens, and may have more subtle negative effects on others. Video games should not take up too much of a teen's time or attention; teens should be focused on other, positive activities in addition to any time they spend with video or computer games. Parents have to make determinations about what they consider acceptable in a teen’s video game playing, and if it has any negative impacts on their behavior.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Facts for Families, "Children and Video Games: Playing with Violence" [online]
Kristin Kalning, MSNBC, "Does game violence make teens aggressive?" [online]
Henry Jenkins, PBS, The Video Game Revolution, "Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked" [online]
Andrea Lynn, University of Illinois, News Bureau, "No strong link seen between violent video games and aggression" [online]
Craig A. Anderson and Brad J. Bushman, Iowa State University, Psychological Science, "Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Scientific Literature" [online]
Related Article: Media and Teen Violence >>