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Effects Of Video Game Playing On Children


1. Video game playing introduces children to computer and information


2. Games can give practice in following directions.

3. Some games provide practice in problem solving and logic.

4. Games can provide practice in use of fine motor and spatial skills.

5. Games can provide occasions for parent and child to play together.

6. Players are introduced to information technology.

7. Some games have therapeutic applications with patients.

8. Games are entertaining and fun.


• 83% of kids, eight to eighteen, have at least one video game player in their
home, 31% have 3 or more video game players, and 49% have video game
systems in their bedrooms (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2005).

• 97% of all teens play video games regularly (Lenhart, 2008).

• The U.S. video game market reached over $21 billion in sales in 2008 (NPD
Group Inc., 2008).

• 63% of Americans have played a video game in the past 6 months, compared
to only 53% of people who have gone out to the movies (NDP Group Inc.,

• Video Games account for one-third of the average monthly core entertainment
spending in the U.S. (NDP Group Inc., 2009).

• 45% of heavy video game players and nearly a third of avid gamers are in the
6 to 17 year old age group (NPD Group Inc., 2006).

• 97% of adolescents play video games (Rainie, 2008).

• One-Third of parents say they play video games with their children some or all
of the time (Lenhart, 2008).

• Young Men randomly assigned to play Grand Theft AutoIII exhibited greater
increases in diastolic blood pressure from a baseline rest period to game play,
greater negative affect, more permissive attitudes toward using alcohol and
marijuana, and more uncooperative behavior (Brady, 2006).
• The most recent (May 2008) mystery shop study conducted by the U.S. Federal
Trade Commission (FTC) found that national retailers enforced their store
policies by refusing to sell M-rated video games to minors 80% of the time
(Federal Trade Commission, 2008).

• Of computer and video games purchased in 2008, as reported by the NPD

Group, 84% were "E" rated games, "E10+" rated games, and "T" rated games
(Entertainment Software Association, 2009).

• A study of over 2,000 8 to 18 year-olds (3rd through 12th graders) found the
83% of them have at least one video game player in their home, 31% have 3
or more video game players in their home, and 49% have video game players
in their bedrooms (Roberts, Foeher, and Rideout, 2005).

• In the same study only 21% of kids reported that their parents set rules about
which video games they can play, 17% reported their parents check warning
labels or ratings on video games, and 12% reported they play video games
they know their parents don't want them playing (Roberts, Foeher, and Rideout,

• 11.9% of video game players fulfill diagnostic criteria of addiction concerning

their gaming behavior (Grusser, 2007).

• Adolescents who play more than one hour of console or Internet video games
have more or more intense symptoms of ADHD or inattention than those who
do not (Chan, 2006).

• The most likely reasons that people play video games excessively are due to
either ineffective time management skills, or as a symptomatic response to
other underlying problems that they are escaping from, rather than any
inherent addictive properties of the actual games (Wood, 2008).

• Online Gaming Addictions display core components of addiction such as

salience, mood modification, tolerance, conflict, withdrawal symptoms,
cravings, and relapse (Chappell, 2006).

• Both novice and expert online game players are subject to time distortion and
have difficulty breaking off from the game without interruption by others in the
real world (Rau, 2006).

• Video game usage may be linked to a lower GPA and SAT score (Vivek, 2007).

• Those who play Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)

report more hours spent playing, worse health, worse sleep quality, and greater
interference in “real-life socializing and academic work versus those playing
other types of video games (Smyth, 2007).

• 8.5% of video-game players ages 8-18 exhibited pathological patterns of play

as defined by exhibiting at least 6 out of 11 symptoms of damage to family,
social, school, or psychological functioning (Gentile, 2009).
• Children burn about three times more calories playing some exercise-oriented
video games than they do just sitting around watching TV (Graf, 2009).

• Kids used about two to 2½ times more energy playing Wii bowling and doing
the beginner level of DDR as they did watching TV. They burned 2 to 2½
calories a minute during the activity (Graf, 2009).


• Over-dependence on video games could foster social isolation, as they are

often played alone.

• Practicing violent acts may contribute more to aggressive behavior than passive
television watching. Studies do find a relationship between violent television
watching and behavior.

• Women are often portrayed as weaker characters that are helpless or sexually

• Game environments are often based on plots of violence, aggression and

gender bias.

• Many games only offer an arena of weapons, killings, kicking, stabbing and

• Playing violent video games may be related to aggressive behavior (Anderson &
Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004). Questions have been raised about
early exposure to violent video games.

• Many games do not offer action that requires independent thought or creativity.

• Games can confuse reality and fantasy.

• In many violent games, players must become more violent to win. In "1st
person" violent video games the player may be more affected because he or
she controls the game and experiences the action through the eyes of his or
her character.

• Academic achievement may be negatively related to over-all time spent playing

video games. (Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004)

Questions to ask: Is the violence rewarded or punished? What are the consequences?
How graphic is the violence? Is the violence against humans or inanimate objects? Is
the violence sexual? Is the time spent playing video games out of balance?

Reasons children give for playing video games:

• It's fun

• Like to feel in control

• Releases tension
• Relieves boredom

• Develops gaming skills

• Feel a sense of mastery

Bottom line

• Many video games are fun and appropriate.

• Violent video games may be linked to an increase in aggressive behavior.

• Out of balance video game playing may lead to symptoms of addiction.

• There are many questions about the cumulative effect of video games,
computers, and television.

• Parents are urged to monitor and limit video game play the same way they
need to monitor television.

What to look for in choosing a game

• Be aware of advertising and marketing to children. Advertising pressure

contributes to impulse buying.

• Check the ESRB rating symbols (on the front of the box) that suggest age
appropriateness for a game and content descriptors (on the back) that indicate
elements in a game that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be
of interest or concern.

• If there are violent and sexual themes in the title and cover picture, you can
assume these themes are also in the game.

• Look for games involving multiple players to encourage group play.

• Pick games that require the player to come up with strategies, and make
decisions in a game environment that is more complex than punch, steal, and

• Go online and check out a game content and description before buying.

• AVOID the "first person shooter", killing-machine games.

Virtually all video games sold at retail in the U.S. and Canada carry one of six rating
symbols that suggest age appropriateness.

Titles rated EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for
ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find
Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for persons
ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon,
fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be
suitable for persons ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain
more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language, and/or minimal
suggestive themes.
Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and
older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes,
crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of
strong language.
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons 17
years and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood
and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.
Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by
persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged
scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.
Title listed as RP (Rating Pending) has been submitted to the ESRB and
is awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a
game's release.)

Games may list content descriptors that describe violence, language, sex, tobacco,
drug, and alcohol use.

Tips for Parents

1. LIMIT game playing time.

2. CHECK the age game ratings and descriptors on the box.

3. USE other content sources and reviews to help you choose a game.

4. Check the ESRB rating symbols (on the front of the box) that suggest age
appropriateness for a game and content descriptors (on the back) that indicate
elements in a game that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be
of interest or concern.

5. AVOID the "first person shooter", killing-machine games.

6. REQUIRE that homework and chores be done before game playing.

7. DO NOT PUT video game consoles or computers in children's bedrooms.

8. PLAY AND ENJOY a game with your child; check in as your child moves into
deeper levels in the game.

9. TALK about the content of the games. Ask your child what's going on in the

10.EXPLAIN to your children why you object to certain games.

11.Most major retailers of games have store policies preventing the sale or rental
of M-rated (Mature) games to children or youth. In the event you notice a store
clerk not complying with this policy, talk to the store manager or contact ESRB

12.Finally, ENCOURAGE your child to play with friends, or other activities away
from the video game set
Children who Identify with Aggressive TV Characters and Perceive the Violence to
be Realistic are Most at Risk for Later Aggression

WASHINGTON - Children's viewing of violent TV shows, their identification with aggressive

same-sex TV characters, and their perceptions that TV violence is realistic are all linked to
later aggression as young adults, for both males and females. That is the conclusion of a 15-
year longitudinal study of 329 youth published in the March issue of Developmental
Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association (APA). These findings hold
true for any child from any family, regardless of the child's initial aggression levels, their
intellectual capabilities, their social status as measured by their parents' education or
occupation, their parents' aggressiveness, or the mother's and father's parenting style.

Psychologists L. Rowell Huesmann, Ph.D., Jessica Moise-Titus, Ph.D., Cheryl-Lynn Podolski,

M.A., and Leonard D. Eron, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan undertook the study as a
follow-up of a 1977 longitudinal study of 557 children, ages 6 - 10, growing up in the Chicago
area. In that study, children identified which violent TV shows they watched most, whether
they identified with the aggressive characters and whether they thought the violent situation
were realistic. Some examples of shows rated as very violent were Starsky and Hutch, The Si
Million Dollar Man and Roadrunner cartoons. The current study re-surveyed 329 of the origina
boys and girls, now in their early 20s. The participants asked about their favorite TV program
as adults and about their aggressive behaviors. The participants' spouses or friends were als
interviewed and were asked to rate the participant's frequency of engaging in aggressive
behavior. The researchers also obtained data on the participants from state archives, which
included criminal conviction records and moving traffic violations.

Results show that men who were high TV-violence viewers as children were significantly mor
likely to have pushed, grabbed or shoved their spouses, to have responded to an insult by
shoving a person, to have been convicted of a crime and to have committed a moving traffic
violation. Such men, for example, had been convicted of crimes at over three times the rate
of other men.

Women who were high TV-violence viewers as children were more likely to have thrown
something at their spouses, to have responded to someone who made them mad by shoving
punching, beating or choking the person, to have committed some type of criminal act, and t
have committed a moving traffic violation. Such women, for example, reported having
punched, beaten or choked another adult at over four times the rate of other women.

Might these results simply be an indication that more aggressive children like to watch violen
TV shows? "It is more plausible that exposure to TV violence increases aggression than that
aggression increases TV-violence viewing," said Dr. Huesmann. "For both boys and girls,
habitual early exposure to TV violence is predictive of more aggression by them later in life
independent of their own initial childhood aggression. Also, the study suggests that being
aggressive in early childhood has no effect on increasing males' exposure to media violence
as adults and only a small effect for females."

Violent films and programs that probably have the most deleterious effects on children are
not always the ones that adults and critics believe are the most violent, the authors point ou
"Violent scenes that children are most likely to model their behavior after are ones in which
they identify with the perpetrator of the violence, the perpetrator is rewarded for the violenc
and in which children perceive the scene as telling about life like it really is," according to the
researchers. "Thus, a violent act by someone like Dirty Harry that results in a criminal being
eliminated and brings glory to Harry is of more concern than a bloodier murder by a
CHILDREN exposed to violence in films, on television, in video games and on
the internet are at significant risk of displaying aggressive or fearful behaviour,
research suggests.

A review of the influence of media violence shows that both “passive viewing” of
television and film and “interactive viewing” of video games have substantial short-
term effects on children’s emotions and increase the likelihood of aggression.
Parents should treat adult media entertainment with the same caution as medications
or chemicals around the home, the authors of the paper, from the University of
Birmingham, conclude. Parents who allowed children to be exposed to some of the
extreme violent and sexual imagery were committing a form of “emotional
maltreatment”, they said.
Kevin Browne, the lead author, said that the study highlighted the need for
government action to curb the influence of violent media on impressionable children,
and the implications that it carried for public health.
Professor Browne called for guidelines to help parents to gauge when and how to
protect their children from the increasingly bloodthirsty, sexually explicit and amoral
content of some video games and films.

He said that critical appraisals of media should also be included on school curriculums
to help pupils to understand what they were experiencing.
Controversial titles such as Natural Born Killers, Oliver Stone’s film of a young
couple’s killing spree, and Manhunt, a computer game that awards players points for
inflicting the most grisly death, gained instant notoriety on their release and became
cult hits among the young. Stone’s film was linked to several killings carried out by
impressionable teenagers, while public outrage forced Manhunt to be withdrawn from
sale last year after it was blamed for the murder of a 14-year-old boy by a teenage
Another British teenager last year confessed to having watched Queen of the
Damned nearly 100 times before killing his best friend. He said that he had been
instructed to carry out the crime by the central character, a female vampire.
Professor Browne said that the causal link between such imagery and violent
behaviour was statistically similar to that between passive smoking and lung cancer.
He said that family and social factors were likely to affect how a child responded to
televisual or computer violence.
“Some children are more vulnerable than others,” he said. “If you have a child who is
vulnerable then you should not allow them access to this sort of material. It is the
same as knowing that your child is depressed and leaving a bottle of paracetamol
around. Media violence just adds to the problem and gives them ideas about how to
express their anger.”
Professor Browne and his co-author, Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, said that media
violence clearly had short-term effects by arousing emotions and increasing the
likelihood of “aggressive or fearful behaviour”. The influence was particularly evident
in boys, they added.
The review, published tomorrow in The Lancet, involved laboratory assessments of
children’s behaviour after they had watched scenes of violence, and investigations in
the community to see whether children who watched lots of violent scenes were more
prone to violence or law-breaking.
“The availability of video film, satellite and cable TV in the home allows children to
access violent media inappropriate to their age, development stage and mental
health,” the paper concludes. “Carelessness with material that contains extreme
violent and sexual imagery might even be regarded as a form of emotional child
Welcoming the review, John Beyer, director of Mediawatch UK, said that film and
television had a part to play if the Government’s aim of reducing antisocial behaviour
was to be reached. There was little point, he said, in having more punitive criminal
sanctions if the culture that contributed to it was left unchecked.