Playing video games does not turn children into killers


Kutner and Olson, a husband-and-wife team at Harvard Medical School, detail their views in “Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do“. “What I hope people realize is that there is no data to support the simple-minded concerns that video games cause violence,” Kutner told Reuters.

The pair reached that conclusion after conducting a two-year study of more than 1,200 middle-school children about their attitudes towards video games. It was a different approach than most other studies, which have focused on laboratory experiments that attempt to use actions like ringing a loud buzzer as a measure of aggression.

“What we did that had rarely been done by other researchers was actually talk to the kids. It sounds bizarre but it hadn’t been done,” Kutner said. They found that playing video games was a near-universal activity among children, and was often intensely social… “It’s still a minority of kids who play violent video games a lot and get into fights. If you want a good description of 13-year-old kids who play violent video games, it’s your local soccer team,” Olson said. …

The book urges a common-sense approach that takes stock of the entire range of a child’s behavior. Frequent fighting, bad grades, and obsessive gaming can be signs for trouble. “If you have, for example, a girl who plays 15 hours a week of exclusively violent video games, I’d be very concerned because it’s very unusual,” Kutner said. “But for boys (the danger sign) is not playing video games at all, because it looks like for this generation, video games are a measure of social competence for boys.”

Source: Reuters, Edited by TFW

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