The claim that violent video games can have a harmful effect on our children is nothing new. For years parents and psychologists have stressed the need to censor games and limit how much time our children spend playing them. One question that many parents have is HOW games effect our children and to what extent.
With fifty years of research supporting evidence that violent television and media have an impact on our children’s behavior few people will challenge the claim that violent video games have the same impact, however studies indicate that video games may have an even stronger effect on children’s aggression.
Psychologists Douglas Gentile and Craig Anderson found three traits that lead to this conclusion including;
The games are highly engaging and interactive
The games reward violent behavior
Children repeat these behaviors over and over as they play
Let’s take these traits and apply them to real life. When a child learns to read, his teacher will find a method that is both engaging and interactive in order to have the highest retention of new concepts. Then the teacher will establish a series of rewards for completing goals. Finally, the students repeat the new concepts daily until it becomes second nature, meaning they read without thinking about it.
Any time we teach our children something new we follow the same traits suggested by Drs. Anderson and Gentile. We follow them because it is a proven method of burning a concept onto the brains of our children. From sharing, to telling the truth to learning academic skills our children learn following this pattern.
Suffice it to say if we allow our children to play any game they want and fail to limit that time we are silently encouraging our children to “burn” the concepts of that game onto their brains.
Here’s some food for thought, if you ever doubt this idea let your child spend 3 hours a day 5 days a week playing a game that involves fighting skills of some sort. By the end of that week you will notice your child role playing the game in his off time. In some cases you may even notice your child arguing more when it’s time to get off. That’s all the evidence I would need.