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The influence of game violence in teenage negative behaviors

Fast but Not So Furious Children who observe an adult acting violently tend to follow suit when they are frustrated. Violent games appear to be effective teachers of aggressive attitudes. Research has failed to show a causal relation between playing violent games and perpetrating violent acts. The fighting that kids engage in with video games is more akin to play than violence. Police had found a Garmin GPS unit in Lanza's house, and its records showed that the gunman had driven to the same spot nine times in April, May and June 2012, arriving around midnight each time and staying for hours.

Workers at a movie theater there immediately recognized Lanza from a photograph. He was at the theater constantly, they told Mudry, but never to see movies. He came to the lobby to play an arcade game, the same one, over and over again, sometimes for eight to 10 hours a night.

Witnesses said he would whip himself into a frenzy, and on occasion the theater manager had to unplug the game to get him to leave. Police had been scouring Lanza's home since the shootings, and on his computer hard drive they found information on weapons magazine capacities, images of Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, copies of the violent movies Bloody Wednesday and Rampage, and a list of ingredients for TNT.

And like many teenaged boys, Lanza owned the typical first-person shooter, fighting and action games: But those weren't the games that possessed Lanza at the movie theater.

The title that so consumed the Sandy Hook shooter? Dance Dance Revolution—an arcade staple that has players dance on colored squares to the rhythm of Asian techno-pop. That discovery not only surprised investigators, it also was at odds with overheated speculation in the media and around dinner tables that violent video games had helped turn Lanza into a killer. Yet no one knows how any of these games—Dance Dance Revolution included—might have affected a kid who was clearly struggling.

The truth is that decades of research have turned up no reliable causal link between playing violent video games and perpetrating actual violence. This is not to say that games have no effect. They're built to have an effect. It's just not necessarily the one that most people think. A tradition of worry The implicit connection between violent media and violent behavior is so old that, like a barnacle clinging to a hull, it's not easily dislodged.

The notion dates at least to the Victorian era, when educators, tastemakers and clergymen began criticizing what was then a fairly raucous popular culture.

  1. Each participant played a violent or a non-violent video game and had his or her hostility levels assessed. Oxford University Press; 2012.
  2. The researchers found that boys and girls who played a lot of violent video games changed over the school year, becoming more aggressive.
  3. Register for a free account Sign up for a free Medical News Today account to customize your medical and health news experiences. Brains on Video Games.

Violent, sex-soaked dime novels and penny-dreadful magazines were immensely popular, and upstanding publications such as Harper's and the Atlantic Monthly took delight in denouncing them. In 1936 Catholic scholar John K.

In 1947 critic and actor John Houseman lodged similar complaints about cartoons on television. In a 1961 study, Bandura and his colleagues gathered 72 preschoolers.

Laboratory assistants led the kids, one at a time, into a playroom, where they sat at a small table and received instruction on how to make potato-print pictures. You see where this is going.

Faced with the frustration of having nice new toys suddenly snatched away, the preschoolers who had watched Bobo get mistreated were more likely than the others to take out their aggression on the mini Bobo.

  1. Video games serve a wide range of emotional, social and intellectual needs, according to a survey of 1,254 seventh and eighth graders.
  2. Violent, sex-soaked dime novels and penny-dreadful magazines were immensely popular, and upstanding publications such as Harper's and the Atlantic Monthly took delight in denouncing them.
  3. Harvard University Press, 1997.
  4. He was at the theater constantly, they told Mudry, but never to see movies. Although drawing conclusions about small population subgroups—such as kids at risk of violence—from broad population trends can be dicey, it is still worth noting that as violent video games proliferated in recent years, the number of violent youthful offenders fell—by more than half between 1994 and 2010, according to the U.

Bandura repeated the experiment in 1963, using film and cartoon depictions of Bobo's mistreatment, with similar results. The conclusions seemed clear: The problem is that many of the findings, especially when applied to children's media and play, are misleading at best.

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In an often quoted 1976 study led by Brian Coates at Washington State University, researchers found that preschoolers who watched the famously mild Mister Rogers' Neighborhood were three times more aggressive afterward. It was the 1999 Columbine High School shootings that got many Americans thinking about violent video games.

After the attacks, victims' families sued more than two dozen game makers, saying titles such as Doom, a first-person shooter that the two teen gunmen played, desensitized them to violence. A judge dismissed the lawsuits, but the post-Columbine uproar led more researchers to begin dissecting games, much as Bandura did for TV, in search of the roots of aggression.

Deciphering the data A few studies tried to draw distinctions between good and bad games. Participants who had played the prosocial game were twice as likely to help pick up the pencils as those who played the neutral or aggressive game.

Others have tried to tease out the aftereffects of playing violent games. Inexperienced players who played Grand Theft Auto were more likely to pick out hygienic products than were experienced players or inexperienced players who had played the driving game.

But neither of those studies make the case that these games lead to real-word violence. Although drawing conclusions about small population subgroups—such as kids at risk of violence—from broad population trends can be dicey, it is still worth noting that as violent video games proliferated in recent years, the number of violent youthful offenders fell—by more than half between 1994 and 2010, according to the U.

This trend is not what you would expect if these games had the power to make good boys go bad.

Violence in the Media: What Effects on Behavior?

Indeed, in a 2011 analysis of game sales from 2004 to 2008, A. Ward of the University of Texas at Arlington found that higher rates of violent game sales actually coincided with a drop in crimes, especially violent crimes.

They concluded that any negative behavioral effects playing violent games might have are more than offset because violent people are drawn to such games, and the more they play, the less time they have for crime.

Even if violent video games are not turning people into killers, we might still wonder if they are harming our kids in subtler ways.

Do Video Games Inspire Violent Behavior?

As psychologist Douglas A. Gentile of Iowa State University puts it, whatever we practice repeatedly affects the brain. The greatest worry is the impact on children who are already at risk. Indeed, Jenkins argued in an essay for PBS, a child who responds to a video game the same way he or she does to a real-world trauma could be showing symptoms of an emotional disturbance.

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So used in the right setting, a violent game could actually serve as a diagnostic tool. But beyond such special circumstances, media effects research, with its Bobo dolls as markers of real-world aggression, is problematic.

The fighting kids do in physical games and video games alike is just a simulation. In other words, it is play. When we worry that a violent game is going to turn our kids into killers, aren't we the ones who can't tell fantasy from reality? Kids already know the difference.

The Effect Of Violent Video Games On Teens

Adapted from The Game Believes in You: Harvard University Press, 1997. Violent Video Games as Exemplary Teachers: Brains on Video Games. Daphne Bavelier et al.