Violent Video Games Effects

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Violent Video Games Effects

Violent Video Games Effects

Ferguson, Christopher J. (2010) Blazing angels or resident evil? Can violent video games be a force for good? Review of General Psychology, Vol 14(2), Jun, 2010. pp. 68-81.

The era of the modern video game began in the 1970s with the advent of arcade features such as Space Invaders and Asteroids and the quick launch of the Atari 2600 home game console. Debates immediately emerged about the moral and social implications of video games featuring violent content, as well as their potential positive use in education and other settings. Arguably, from Death Race to Grand Theft Auto, the greater part of the debate has focused on the negative effects of violent content. Such a debate is understandable. Social science has come to understand aggression as primarily socially learned. An overemphasis on the potential deleterious effects of violent games, whether real or imagined, also preempts discussion of the strategic use of violent games as a positive force in cognitive development, education, psychological treatment, and health care. In this article, the author attempts to bridge the gaps in the current discussion of violent video game effects, and open a wider discussion of the potential benefits and risks of video game playing among youth. Before discussing the issue of video game violence, it is important to operationalize relevant terms such as aggression and violence. In this article, aggressive behavior is defined as intentional behavior produced to cause physical harm or humiliation to another person who wishes to avoid the harm.

Anderson, Craig A.; Shibuya, Akiko; Ihori, Nobuko; Swing, Edward L.; Bushman, Brad J.; Sakamoto, Akira; Rothstein, Hannah R.; Saleem, Muniba (2010). Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in Eastern and Western countries: A meta-analytic review . Psychological Bulletin, Vol 136(2), pp. 151-173.

People of all ages in most modern countries get a heavy dose of violent media, especially in TV programs, films, and video games. Potential harmful effects of media violence have been scrutinized for over six decades, and considerable consensus has been reached on several of the most important issues. As stated by a recent panel of experts assembled by the U.S. Surgeon General, “Research on violent television and films, video games, and music reveals unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and long-term contexts”. Numerous reports by professional health associations (e.g., American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, Australian College of Paediatrics, Canadian Paediatric Society) and government health agencies (e.g., U.S. Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) have reached the same conclusion after reviewing the available scientific evidence.

Other multinational research has found considerable variation in access to and content of “violent television” and a few differences in observed effects. For example, within Israel there were significant correlations between TV violence viewing and children's aggression for urban children but not for rural children being raised on a kibbutz, where socialization is conducted in a communal ...
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