Does Video Gaming Cause Violence in Children?
Do video games cause violence in children? Lets define violence, "behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something". So we are looking for more aggressive behavior and not any kind of social disorder. As a gamer myself I know how intense games can get. I literally receive a rush when playing certain games. As for being violent, personally i don't react that way but there is evidence that supports both sides of the argument.
There are indeed changes in how your brain and body work while playing video games. Your heart race increases, you become unaware of your surrounding and best of all the dopamine in your brain begins to spread through your brain like a wild fire. The question is though, do these effects lead to violence?
Some people would argue that video games all around promote bad behavior. The well-known games Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat are all about violence. Grand Theft Auto especially has the plays doing drive by's, robbing banks and flat out committing mass murder. This game has been said to be the inspiration in a few child crimes.
The parents also play a big role in the child's development while playing video games. There are rating on them for a reason. If you think your child is going to be susceptible to violent games you may want to prohibit them from playing games with a "T" or above rating. I'm all for children playing games. Mature titles should be introduced to the child when they can separate fantasy from reality.
There have been a plethora of test that have tried to portray gaming in a negative light. The majority of studies found that aggressive behavior and violent games are indeed linked. Unfortunately these studies had little conditions and were based over a short period of time.
Surprisingly once you compare aggressive behavior from non gamers and gamers over a long period of time things change. There is almost no evidence that shows that gamers exhibit more aggression then non games over more then a 6th month period. Infact, it seemed that gamers were using a playing games as a conduit for their anger.
While the evidence is inclusive about exactly how games promote anger in children, there are definitely pros and cons to them playing. Some games have a helpful and friendly community. These type of interactions help children learn communication and team building skills. Having to work together to solve a puzzle or coordinate a play to score a goal are good for children.
On the other hand you have toxic players. There is everything from racism to "yo' momma" jokes in these type of communities. These social setting can have a real negative effect on children from being social awkward to being a complete recluse. Some children hide their personality until they are playing with their friends. This causes children to become uncomfortable talking to anyone they see in person that is new to them.
There is minimal evidence to support the claim that video causes violence in children. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen. It's up to the parent to monitor their children and explore this new realm as a teaching tool between them. It's a extreme grey area when it comes to what to play and what your child can handle. This could be your chance to explain life situations and what deviant behavior is. Only you can prevent forest fir.. no wait thats not right.. Children are like sponges, monkey see monkey do. Be careful and explain the difference between games and life.