Do you know the effects of video game violence? We’ve compiled studies & research on video game violence statistics to frame the debate in an educational way.
Video games have long been labeled as the enemy in a coalition of childhood psychologists, anxious parents and frustrated teachers.
Many childhood developmental experts have pinned the increase in school and home violence on the video game industry.
Teachers blame violent video games for poor school performance and decreased socialization among students. Parents blame video games for bad attitudes, failing grades, and general laziness in their children.
Are these accusations founded in reality? Are video games really the underlying culprit in an increase in school violence amongst pre-teen and teenaged students in the United States?
Are the negative effects of video games overstated, understated or something entirely different?
There are varying statistics compiled from thousands of sources that seem to exist in conflict with one another. While many do blame the violence featured in video games, others suggest that pinning the problems of children solely on the video game industry is a gross misinterpretation of fact.
Video Game Violence Statistics
To begin with, one must examine the statistics regarding just how many children today are playing video games.
Unfortunately, that number doesn’t help the case of video game companies.
In a recent survey, over 97% of children between the ages of 13 and 18 stated that they had played video games.
Half of this number stated that they had played a video game with the past 24-hour period. Video games are, inarguably, a huge element in the average teenager’s life today.
But Are Video Games to Blame for Violence?
A prevalence of video games in teens’ lives does not necessarily mean that the fault for increased aggression and violence lies with the video game industry.
Other significant forces may be at work in American children and teenagers. Movies and books, for example, often depict very violent scenes and scenarios.
Certainly, if absorbed images are responsible for increased aggression in children, the film industry and the publishing industry must share some of the burden of guilt.
However, simply explaining away the violence in children by pushing the blame onto the media is a lazy and irresponsible course of action.
Recent Video Game Violence Studies
Recent studies by childhood psychologists have revealed that over half of the boys who have played video games admit to playing a game with a mature audience rating.
These games are not sold to underage children. A video game with a mature rating must be purchased by an adult.
If a child owns a violent video game with a mature rating, the fault must be placed on the parent, guardian or other adult who purchased the game for the child.
Over a third of parents interviewed in a recent study said that they rarely, if ever, check the ratings on the video games their children are playing.
This type of laissez-faire parenting strategy is more to blame for misbehavior in children than the media that is being produced.
Mature Video Games and Children
Mature video games are created for young adults. These games feature realistic depictions of war violence, murder, grisly crime, and other inappropriate scenes for young children.
The parent must assume some responsibility in regulating what his or her child views.
If the parent does not purchase a mature video game for his or her child, there still is a risk that that child will be exposed to inappropriately violent video games.
Parents must check with other parents to be sure there is clarity regarding what a child is allowed to see. This includes video games, movies and even music.
A child who is exposed to violent images before he or she has matured is definitely at risk for:
- Physically violent behavior
- Verbal violence
- Relational violence including inappropriate sexual relationships
- Poor school performance
- Greater risk of involvement in criminal activity
- Increased exposure to gang violence and activity