The effect of violent video games on children

Can violent video games incite violence? The suspicion that this issue in video games may have negative consequences on the behavior and behavior of children and adolescents has been the subject of study and research. The short and long term consequences range from a decrease in emotion to an increase in aggressive behavior.

Violent behavior

Are violent video games related to violent behavior? To answer this question, Dr. Vincent Matthews and his colleagues at Indiana University conducted a study on violence in video games and after analyzing what was going on in the brains of 28 young students, they concluded that after 2 weeks of playing violent video games, exhibited less activation in the brain areas related to emotion.


In this same line, it has also been expressed American Psychological Association.This association cConsider that "immediately after being exposed to violence in the media (including video games), a trend of increased aggressive behavior develops." Some of the reasons that this association argues are the following:

1. Violent thoughts increase. This makes the minimum provocation interpreted as something hostile.

2. There is a state of general excitement (for example: the adrenaline rises, the pulse accelerates). This causes them to increase dominant behavior or trends.


3. Aggressive feelings increase.

4. Violent behaviors are occasionally imitated that have just been observed.

However, when it is repeatedly exposed throughout life to violence in the media, experts believe that aggressive behavior is generated because:

1. Create expectations, attitudes and beliefs that the way to solve things is using aggression.

2. Create patterns and scripts of aggressive behavior that become familiar.

3. Decrease the normal negative reaction to the conflict, aggression and violence.

The discredited violent video games

Video games have become another element with which our children play regularly. From graphic adventures to interactive applications, the fact is that it is increasingly common for children to use this type of entertainment from an early age.


There are many varieties and themes, and while it is true that sometimes it is a highly criticized sector, as parents we must not oppose their use completely. These are games that can be enjoyed in moderation, and above all, choosing at each time the most appropriate for the age and development of our little one.

Among the most discredited are violent video games. There are studies that have shown that children are more aggressive after playing games of this type, especially because it generates a climate of fantasy in which the child is not able to see that these behaviors can generate any negative consequences. For example, they may think that it is okay to hit other children. On the other hand, there have been cases of adults who showed a more aggressive behavior having been educated without responsibilities or obligations, as some of these virtual plots show.

How can we choose the best video game?

First of all, it is important to know that the Spanish Pediatric Association, among other organizations, recommends limiting the time that children spend in front of a screen (whether playing or simply watching television). In this way:

- Between 0 and 2 years old, it is recommended that children do not have any contact with this type of devices.

- From 2 years and up to 4, It is best to spend a maximum of one hour throughout the day.

- As they grow It can increase the time, but should never be more than 2 hours a day, in order to encourage sport and physical activity.

Secondly, the market known as the ERSB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) classification system, the agency in charge of assigning the recommended age of use based on the content of the game in particular. According to this classification, each video game is assigned an appropriate age of use. The responsibility will then be of the parents, who must choose the most appropriate for their child.

Also, the threshold of approval is also important, because despite age recommendations parents must discern what kind of game they want for their children. Although appropriate for their age, it is possible that the theme does not like them or is not linked to any of the values ​​they try to transmit from home.

It is important, therefore, to help children find the appropriate game. This has to satisfy their need for leisure and entertainment, while enhancing their psychological and emotional development.To do this, we must take into account recommendations such as those of the ERSB before making the purchase. In addition, while children play, we must follow up in order to ensure that the content is appropriate.

Following these recommendations we will be able to control the use and theme of video games among the youngest ones, getting their education and knowledge to be in line with their development.

Deanna Marie Mason, expert in education and family health. Blog author Dr. Deanna Marie Mason. Proactive fatherhood Professional support for the modern family.

It may interest you:

- Video games: educate playing

- 5 keys to explain the violence in the world to children

- 4 benefits of video games for children

Video: How do video games affect behavior?


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