Home Gaming Violent games could hinder moral development in teens

Violent games could hinder moral development in teens

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The debate over whether or not violent videogames are bad for children, turning them in to rage-filled homicidal maniacs rages ever on. A study from last year by Canada’s Brock University and recently  published in peer review journal Educational Media International says that violent games could indeed skew young folks’ moral compasses.

In a rather small-sample study of 109 boys and girls aged 13 and 14, they actually found that in general, long-term videogame playing has no discernible effect on children’s development. That said, games that were particularly violent led to a lower sense of empathy within the children who played them.

Games that reward players for killing, maiming, decapitating, torturing, and otherwise inflicting harm on another “human” NPC’s could hinder moral development. You know, the sort of games that are rated 18+ and shouldn’t be played by children anyway.

“Spending too much time within the virtual world of violence may prevent gamers from getting involved in different, positive social experiences in real life, and in developing a positive sense of what is right and wrong,” said lead researcher Mirjana Bajovic.

“Exposure to violence in video games may influence the development of moral reasoning because violence is not only presented as acceptable but is also justified and rewarded.”

Here’s the thing though. The study acknowledges that it’s not cut-and-dry – and that not all children who played violent games had a slower morality development.

“However, not all adolescents who played violent video games demonstrated lower level of sociomoral maturity,” the study says, adding that it was only those who completely lost themselves in games for hours upon hours every day. Yes, the sort of anti-social person who’d be troubled whether they were playing games, or outside bashing rodents’ heads in with bricks.

The key here is that it’s not videogames, but guidance – or a lack thereof – that ultimately determines whether your children grow up to be amoral, inconsiderate jerks or not.

“As an educator, I strongly believe that positive guidance and help in deconstructing the real meaning of messages delivered through different forms of media, places students on the path to becoming positive, democratic citizens of the world,” says Ms Bajovic.

As parents, it’s your job to see what you’re children are playing. Hell, play games with them and make sure they’re able to separate fantasy from reality. And banning games isn’t a solution to anything.

“There should be no desire to stop children from playing video games, but opportunities can be created in and out of school to enhance their ability to become tolerant and compassionate in helping others and themselves,” concludes the study

Last Updated: February 11, 2014

49 Comments

  1. CAE9872

    February 11, 2014 at 11:09

    As you said pretty pointless study! Don’t make children play 18+ games when they were never designed for them. I don’t let my son anywhere near pure violence. Admittedly there is simulated violence as in Mario, Mini Ninjas, etc. No blood and guts per se but probably not far from cartoons either.

    The difference though – I have always supervised his playing and can explain “its not real, don’t do this at school” to emphasise it’s not real.

    But games can help education – he can do numbers easily simply because games require such knowledge. So for example last night he was watching me play Project Gotham Racing 3 and shouting out my kudos score which gets into thousands on occassion (I call it homework personally :)) His language could improve though.

    Reply

  2. Umar Reborn

    February 11, 2014 at 11:15

    Thing is, as a parent you should know your child as well, see what influences them, how they deal with things. I played violent video games when I was younger, but it’s still your duty to monitor your kid

    Reply

  3. Werner Morris

    February 11, 2014 at 11:18

    Give the kids Doom, Duke Nukem and Carmageddon. I played those as a kid and I turned out fine…you know besides the random outbursts of rage and insanity.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      February 11, 2014 at 11:19

      I tend to suffer from road rage. Personally I blame the absence of corporal punishment

      Reply

      • TiMsTeR1033

        February 11, 2014 at 11:21

        So you saying you should of been smacked as a child to correct this?

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          February 11, 2014 at 11:22

          If had had driven at that age yes.

          Reply

        • RinceThis2014

          February 11, 2014 at 11:27

          You mean you weren’t?

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            February 11, 2014 at 11:29

            Dude I was smacked as a kid, hell still remember my mother going ape shit with a wooden spoon saying “wait till your father gets home” and to be honest it did me a world of good, but there is a big difference from some much needed smacking and physical abuse, unfortunately some parents take it too far.

          • RinceThis2014

            February 11, 2014 at 11:31

            Agreed man. I remember the wooden spoon, the plastic spoon, the metal spoon! LOL OVG was messed up at boarding school too! Explains a lot 😉

          • TiMsTeR1033

            February 11, 2014 at 11:33

            They should of done this study to check alot of other things at the same time, home life, how they behave at school ect. The video games won’t do this to a child alone its a multitude of things that turn people into “monsters” as they say serial killers are not born, they are made.

          • RinceThis2014

            February 11, 2014 at 11:34

            Totally. Though sometimes there is an element of nature involved. Some people are in fact born missing certain elements that would otherwise allow them to feel compassion etc.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            February 11, 2014 at 11:36

            I agree in someways but at the same time don’t I haven’t seen studies done so I have no leg to stand on, but I think if a child is brought up in a loving home and is treated fairly at school ect 9 out 10 time the kid turns out okay, but you make a point. Some kids regardless of good life ect still turn out to be terrible people.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            February 11, 2014 at 11:49

            Everyone tries to find one factor that causes people to go off the rails, but it’s never that simple. People are far too complicated & there’s too many factors that go into determining how a person behaves or learns to behave to determine one overriding thing. Never mind that some people are just born with faulty wiring.

          • General JJ the ashamed

            February 11, 2014 at 12:30

            Anything that was in reach at that moment.

          • RinceThis2014

            February 11, 2014 at 12:45

            Oh I know what you mean man…

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            February 11, 2014 at 11:33

            Heh, I remember the good old wooden spoon. It taught me valuable life lessons, like not being caught.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            February 11, 2014 at 11:34

            hahaha, it taught me many things too except it never taught me not to set my parents garden on fire during winter.

          • RinceThis2014

            February 11, 2014 at 11:35

            And always make sure you wash the thing before cooking? 0-O

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            February 11, 2014 at 11:36

            Well seeing as I was 6 & didn’t do the cooking, no ;P

          • RinceThis2014

            February 11, 2014 at 11:39

            Ahhh, so you were one of those kids born with a silver spoon shoved right… In his mouth:P

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            February 11, 2014 at 11:41

            Yes grandpa, tell me again how you used to walk 10 miles to school every day, even when it was pouring with rain.

          • RinceThis2014

            February 11, 2014 at 11:44

            Yes! I would wake up 10 minutes before I went to be too!

    • Admiral Chief in Vegas

      February 11, 2014 at 20:21

      You sir, need more upvotes for that gem of a comment!

      Reply

  4. RinceThis2014

    February 11, 2014 at 11:22

    Man, this is STILL something going on out there? What about books then? So tired of the same ol crap.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      February 11, 2014 at 11:23

      Or music, or TV, or the conditions you grow up in?

      Reply

      • TiMsTeR1033

        February 11, 2014 at 11:24

        and damn Miley on a wrecking ball

        Reply

        • General JJ the ashamed

          February 11, 2014 at 12:32

          Fuck Miley.

          Reply

          • Rock789

            February 11, 2014 at 14:40

            Hey… This is a discussion, not some place to let your fantasies be known to the world… 😉 :p 🙂

          • General JJ the ashamed

            February 11, 2014 at 15:26

            Oh no. Nightmares!

      • RinceThis2014

        February 11, 2014 at 11:26

        Bunch of bunny hugging, fair fucking liberals man.

        Reply

        • TiMsTeR1033

          February 11, 2014 at 11:27

          well said

          Reply

        • Rock789

          February 11, 2014 at 14:40

          o_O

          Reply

          • RinceandLeSIGH

            February 11, 2014 at 14:43

            Tehehehe

    • General JJ the ashamed

      February 11, 2014 at 12:31

      Yes. The same that goes for movies, apply to games and books. AGE RESTRICTIONS. I want to have a shit fit when I see someone reading Fifty Shades of Grey in public. O_O

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        February 11, 2014 at 12:47

        Because you’re thinking of the children who might see it, or because they’re reading utter trash?

        Reply

        • General JJ the ashamed

          February 11, 2014 at 13:04

          Well. Both.

          Reply

      • Rock789

        February 11, 2014 at 14:42

        But are you upset because it’s a kid reading it, or because it’s such a bloody awful piece of literature that all copies should be burned and the author locked up? Just asking… 😉 🙂

        Reply

        • General JJ the ashamed

          February 11, 2014 at 15:25

          Burn!!! Burn them all!!

          Reply

  5. TiMsTeR1033

    February 11, 2014 at 11:23

    The old video games turns kids into anti social and prone to violence discussion.. Seriously its simple you buy the games that is the correct age restriction for your child, if you buy your 10 year old say GTAV don’t be surprised by bad language and behaviour to follow its as simple as that.

    Reply

  6. Devourer of Small Bunnies

    February 11, 2014 at 11:29

    So if youre introverted and its your only comfortable means of interaction, youre actually broken and not like all the other ‘normal’ kids. Argh. Peer reviewed with a sample of 109? Thats not a scientific result, thats cherry picking your test cases.

    How many of the test subjects were given psychological evaluations to determine personality types? Introversion? Aggressive behaviour? Impacts of home life?

    These guys need to get out of legislation and politics. Nevermind the audacity of using science as your political crutch. Disgusting.

    Reply

  7. Alien Emperor Trevor

    February 11, 2014 at 11:32

    Games? Please, we all know it’s that goddamn Elvis & his rock music that’s really warping society!

    Reply

    • Rock789

      February 11, 2014 at 14:43

      Hey! Don’t mess with the king! 🙂

      Reply

  8. Unavengedavo

    February 11, 2014 at 12:06

    Pff… I have been playing violent games all my life and I am living proof that it did not affect me in any way

    Reply

  9. Kromas

    February 11, 2014 at 12:11

    MAKE THEM ALL PLAY MASS EFFECT!!!!

    Reply

  10. Unavengedavo

    February 11, 2014 at 12:12

    I blame CoD

    Reply

    • General JJ the ashamed

      February 11, 2014 at 12:35

      Yes. Seeing the same thing year after year can really screw someone up.

      Reply

  11. General JJ the ashamed

    February 11, 2014 at 12:28

    Oh please man. Just compare the cartoons we grew up with, with the ones from today. They will NEVER allow such things in today’s cartoons anymore. They’re just trying to find excuses for bad parenting.

    Reply

  12. Anon A Mouse

    February 11, 2014 at 12:48

    What I like about this study though is that the “researchers” themselves seems not to be able to make up their mind about what their study found. On one hand they try and say video games are bad but on the other hand they give a long list of caveats about the findings. They could just as well have spent their research money on beers and pizza and then said “Well you know, live”.

    Reply

  13. anonymous123

    February 14, 2014 at 04:29

    smoke em if you got em

    Reply

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