New research reveals kids who don’t play videogames at all are more at risk of violent tendencies

PS3- Xbox 360 - Wii - Image 1The ongoing question of whether or not violent videogames do affect kids may finally have been answered. Through years of exhaustive, dedicated research, Lawrence Kutner, PhD and wife Cheryl K. Olson, ScD, have found out that while violent videogames can be considered something of a risk for those who play it all day, it’s the kids who don’t play videogames that are more liable to act on their aggressive tendencies. All the details you want are in the full article.

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In the history of videogames, no greater argument has ever surfaced than the argument that violence in videogames have a direct correlation with actual, real-life violence involving kids or teenagers.

Now, it seems that the matter can be settled with the results of a study that not only went on for several years and interviewed hundreds of individuals, but was also funded by the government AND headed by a husband-and-wife team that co-founded the Harvard School Medical Center of Mental Health and Media.

If that isn’t something that even videogame critics can recognize as credible, we don’t know what would.

In any case, what did the husband-and-wife team – namely Lawrence Kutner, PhD, and Cheryl K. Olson, ScD, find in the years of extensive research? Simply put – there is absolutely NO evidence linking violent games to real-life violence.

In fact, they found out through their interviews that the kids who didn’t play any sort of game at all, even the violence-free ones, were more at risk of developing violent behavior in their lifetime.

Why is this, you ask? Because it seems that for boys, playing video games is a marker of social confidence. And that makes sense – you can easily make more friends and be treated as an individual if you can relate to the videogames other people are talking about. You develop relationships with those who you play with, and that builds up confidence.

Of course, they also found that gamers who only play violent videogames for fifteen hours a day straight are also at risk, but Kutner and Olson call this a risk marker rather than an actual cause.

They also discuss the short-term and long-term aggression effects of media. Here’s an example from Kutner himself:

If you go to the local Cineplex and see a Jackie Chan or Jet Li movie and you watch a bunch of teenagers come out of that, of course they’re going to be sort of hitting each other and kicking; you know, they’re excited. But that goes away very quickly.

And so there’s this leap of faith that if a child or teenager or even a young adult is exposed to this and they have a short term response, then that means it’s going to change their behavior. We found it to be actually quite the opposite.

Well, that’s certainly something for everyone to think about, right? So before parents and teachers cart off their kids for psychiatric evaluation just because they’ve been playing Mortal Kombat, they should probably give this study a look.

The results having been published in Kutner and Olson’s latest book, “Grand Theft Childhood.” Updates about this as we get them, and you can check out the video of their interview in the via link below.

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