Do violent video games affect kids?

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Video games have become a viral trend amongst children, teenagers, and adults as well. Nowadays, many teenagers spend an average of two hours playing video games on their mobile phones or other gaming devices.

This multibillion-dollar industry has rapidly evolved over the past decade, with the advancement in technology giving rise to new gaming systems.

The quest to make highly sophisticated video games has created competition amongst developers. There are now very realistic video games that are interactive as well. Some of these games are connected to the internet and allows users to play games and interact with people unknown people worldwide.

Although some video games possess educational content for young people, a majority of the most popular games possess materials that emphasize negative themes such as violence, sexual exploitation, criminal acts, and substance abuse, amongst others.

These graphic acts could psychologically impact the behavior of players to an extent; this influence is more effective on children and teenagers than adults. While some parents acknowledge the negative impact, some video games can have on their children, others claim these games do not affect their child.

However, some research has shown that violent video games could have quite a harmful effect on children’s behavior.

Research Works about the Influence of Violent Video Games

1. A Study by the Swinburne University of Technology

The Swinburne University of Technology in a 2007 study revealed that violent video games can have a different aggressive effect on children’s behavior. While some children became more aggressive, other children became less aggressive. However, the level of aggressiveness remained the same for the vast majority did not show any changes in their levels of anger.

2. American Psychological Association

In 2010, The American Psychological Association addressed the issue of vulnerability to violent video games. The study revealed that children with specific personalities could become aggressive due to violent video games. For instance, if a child with high neuroticism and low conscientiousness interacts with violent content,  he is likely to become aggressive.

3. The Center for European Economic Research

 The Center for European Economic Research revealed that violent video games might promote aggressive behaviour in a 2011 study. However, the researchers added that the immense time spent on playing violent video games could help reduce criminal and antisocial activities by teenagers, despite the negative effect it has on their behaviour.

4. The American Psychological Association

Based on a 2005 to 2013 task force’s review research, the American Psychological Association In 2015 statement indicated a clear relationship between aggression and video game violence. It stated further that violent video games could lead to decreased empathy and reduced social behaviour. However, the same statement also revealed that there not enough evidence to prove that violent video games can influence criminal behavior.

5. The 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics’ Report

The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that it is almost impossible to prevent children from viewing any violent media content. In the 2016 report, they urge parents to be proactive about the impact of violent media on their children. Without any guidance or control, children may become more aggressive, violent, and fearful.

How to Help Your Child Play Positive Video Games

One major thing these studies point out is the fact that violent video games can influence children’s and teenager’s aggressive behaviour. If you notice your child exhibits aggressive behaviour, you should consider paying attention to his exposure to violent content.

Watching violent content could make your child less sensitive to violent behaviour. Therefore parents must take necessary actions to guide their children as they interact with these games. By working on the quantity and quality of media, your child consumes.

 Here are a few tips for setting healthy limits on video games:

1. Monitor the games your child is plays

Pay close attention to the type of games your child plays, the gaming systems he uses, as well as websites your child access games from online. Make Provision for child-friendly and age-appropriate websites, games, and gaming systems.

2. Pay close attention apps and video games rating

When purchasing a gaming software or downloading apps for your child, always read the game’s description and reviews, and pay attention to the rating. Don’t let your child play games that are not appropriate for his age, and watch out for extreme graphical or violent contents.

3. Play games with your child

Spending time with your child on video games can give you more insight into the types of games your child is playing. Have conversations about the game with your child, talk about the cool and unhealthy messages the game may be sending. Be a friend and be a good role model for your child.

4. Limit your child’s screen time

If your child spends countless hours playing games, you should consider reducing his screen time. Video game obsession can cause serious harm to your child’s physical and mental health. Set a reasonable standard on-screen time for your child, regardless of the gaming content.

5. Encourage your child to take time off digital devices

Create time for digital detox where you and your child receives time out of all digital devices to engage in other healthy and beneficial activities such as playing sports, making arts, or visiting new places. It would help if you made it an occasional routine like once a week or twice a month, depending on your schedule. Digital detox could help improve the physical and mental health of your child.

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