There is a popular belief that violent video games make children more violent and aggressive. There have been studies finding more and more links between video games and children’s behavior. However, longitudinal studies that track children’s behavior over a long period of time found no evidence that kids experience any harm after playing violent video games. In 2017, a new study from the Netherlands proves there is no reason to think that violent video games are linked to the aggressive behavior of your child.
In the study, scientists analyzed the behavior of 194 children from the Netherlands. Children and their parents were surveyed to find their gaming habits and behavioral outcomes including aggressiveness. Children were around 9 years old when they were first surveyed, and they took another survey a year later.
Scientists found that violent video games didn’t have any positive or negative effect on the behavior of children. Gaming isn’t related to any mental health issue but it is linked to anxiety and depression even though scientists said further research in necessary.
So, as the study shows, violent video games aren’t harmful to the mental health of children. There is a link between violent video games and depression and if your child is playing video games all they long, it is the time for you to check in if the child is fine. It doesn’t mean your kid has mental issues or anything like that, but initiating a conversation could be helpful.
Scientists also say that the quantity plays a bigger role than the quality of video games played – therefore, parents should limit the amount of time their kids can spend playing video games.
Of course, the study isn’t perfect and if you feel like your child is getting more violent after playing video games, you should take care of the issue. Besides, the term ‘violent’ can mean different things to different people, and only children at the age of 9 to 10 were analyzed. The study didn’t analyze the behavior of younger or older children. The scientists in the Netherlands didn’t find any link between violent video games and violence in kids, but more studies that can dig deeper into the topic would be necessary.
Besides, the word violent is used bluntly and it doesn’t have a conceptual value. Most of the time, it is used emotionally and when parents hear ‘violent video games’, they unconsciously start to loathe all video games before they even study the topic better. What parents don’t think about, though, is that there are violent books, movies, and even cartoons. There are Grimms’ Fairy Tales, for example, that include violence. Are they fine for children? Of course! Yet video games often got blamed the most.
The term ‘violent video game’ is often used to manipulate the audiences unfamiliar with games but doesn’t have any real value for scientists. In a way, almost all video games are violent, from Pac Man to Grand Theft Auto 5.
Of course, there will be more studies about video games and their influence on children. And since virtual reality and other advanced devices for gaming are here, a whole new bunch of studies is coming. For the most part, however, the news is good and parents shouldn’t worry.
How do you think, how much time should children spend playing video games? Share your opinion in the comments section!