Have you ever wondered how games impact children? or why kids love to play them? Well your about to find out and the answer may be surprising. Video games were first introduced in the 1970s. By the end of that decade they had become a preferred childhood leisure activity, and adults responded with concern about the possible ill effects of the games on children. Early research on these effects was inconclusive. However, a resurgence in video game sales that began in the late 1980s after the introduction of the Nintendo system has renewed interest in examining the effects of video games. The increasingly realistic and exciting nature of electronic games has helped to make them enormously popular with children and youth. 79% of American
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Studies measuring prosocial attitudes and behaviors after playing violent video games (compared to non-violent games) have shown that violent games decrease players’ tendencies toward positive behaviors. For example, 7th and 8th grade children who spent more time playing video games were rated as less positively by their classmates than were children who spent less time playing video games (Van Schie & Wiegman, 1997). In a study we are currently conducting with 3rd grade children, we are finding similar results. Children who expose themselves to more media violence (including violent video games, TV, and movies) are rated as more aggressive and less helpful by their peers and by their teachers.
In sum, while there is less research on violent video games than there is on violent television, the effects appear to be similar. Children (and adults) who play more violent video games are more likely to experience aggressive feelings, thoughts, and actions, and are also less likely to behave in positive, helpful ways. This appears to be true for both boys and girls, and surprisingly, also for children who are not naturally aggressive.
In conclusion video and computer games will continue to be an exciting and growing part of children’s media diets. With so many good games available for children and youth, it is