What is the psychological effect violent video games have on teenage youth’s behavior?

[ By on December 17, 2014 ]

In this New York Times article Shooting In the Dark,  the effect (or lack thereof) of video game violence on behavior is questioned.   Written by the well-known writer Benedict Carey in 2013, the article pinpoints a great amount of scientific uncertainty regarding the idea that teenage violence is directly correlated to engaging in animated violence. Although it has been proven that “playing the games can and does stir hostile urges and mildly aggressive behavior in the short term” and that, “youngsters who develop a gaming habit can become slightly more aggressive,” it is not at all clear whether, over longer periods, such habits continue.  Carey further discusses the disparity between three common research categories:  short-term laboratory experiments, longer-term studies, and correlation studies (for example, between playing time and aggression).  Carey argues that although many psychologists say, “violent video games ‘socialize’ children over time, prompting them to imitate the behavior of the game’s characters, the cartoonish machismo, the hair-trigger rage, the dismissive brutality,” some studies show otherwise.  For example, Dr. Ward from the University of Texas at Arlington was able to conclude through an experiment (read more to find out) that higher rates of violent video game sales related to a decrease in violent crimes.  The “duality” of the research begs the question— are there more studies that can prove a direct correlation between violent video games and hostility (Is this a texas sharpshooter case? Does Dr. Ward have the credentials as a worker in the department of economics?) or do parents simply need to accept and adapt to the behavioral skills taught by the violent games they allow their children to play? What do you think?


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2 Comments on “What is the psychological effect violent video games have on teenage youth’s behavior?”

  1. kaylawaterman

    Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

    [ December 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm ]

    Kayla – great to see you include different types of sources and evaluate their credibility. What if the correlation turns out to be true? Does it turn into a “right versus wrong” scenario? Or if there is reasonable certainty that video games increase violent thoughts or behavior, is there still a moral dilemma?

  2. kaylawaterman

    Hi, What about thinking whether other sorts of activities promote violence – and do we outlaw our kids from those? (I wonder about sports, for example. Are there studies that suggest football players or boxers are inured to violence and more prone to commit violent acts? Why would it just be in the ‘digital’ realm that it’s problematic?)

Hi Stranger, reply with your thoughts:

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