Video games containing violence can be appropriate for children!
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In the study, children ages 8 to 17 who played a lot of violent video games showed an increase in aggressive behavior such as hitting, shoving and pushing three years later, compared to their behavior at the study start.
Meanwhile, those who decreased the amount of time they spent playing violent video games saw a decrease in aggressive behavior, the researchers said. [9 Weird Ways Kids Can Get Hurt]
The reason for the increase in aggressive behavior was that children who played a lot of violent video games had an increase in aggressive thoughts: for instance, they were more likely to interpret an ambiguous act, like someone bumping into them, as hostile, said study researcher Craig Anderson, a psychologist and professor at Iowa State University. They were also more likely to see aggressive behavior as an appropriate way to respond to provocation, Anderson said.
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"If you practice over and over, you have that knowledge in your head. The fact that you haven"t played the piano in years doesn"t mean you can"t still sit down and play something," Gentile said. "It"s the same with violent games " you practice being vigilant for enemies, practice thinking that it"s acceptable to respond aggressively to provocation, and practice becoming desensitized to the consequences of violence."
Researchers found that over time children start to think more aggressively. And when provoked at home, school or in other situations, children will react much like they do when playing a violent video game. Repeated practice of aggressive ways of thinking appears to drive the long-term effect of violent games on aggression.
"Violent video games model physical aggression," said Craig Anderson, Distinguished Professor of psychology and director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State and co-author of the report. "They also reward players for being alert to hostile intentions and for using aggressive behavior to solve conflicts. Practicing such aggressive thinking in these games improves the ability of the players to think aggressively. In turn, this habitual aggressive thinking increases their aggressiveness in real life."
The study followed more than 3,000 children in third, fourth, seventh and eighth grades for three years. Researchers collected data each year to track the amount of time spent playing video games, the violent content of the game and changes in a child"s behavior. The length and size of the study made it possible for researchers to detect and test even small effects.
Boys reported doing more physically aggressive behaviors and spending more time playing violent games than girls. However, even when researchers controlled for gender, the violent video game effects on behavior were the same for girls and boys.
To test whether violent games had a greater effect on children who were more aggressive, researchers compared children with high and low levels of aggression. Much like gender, they did not find a significant difference in terms of the effect from violent games
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