Video Games do not cause Violence! Harvard Med School says so!

by Joey Paur

I am a guy that grew up with video games and I loved to play the violent ones. I did not grow up to be a violent person. I grew up and became a harmless geek, that still likes to play violent video games for fun. I always felt it was a cop out for people to blame TV, movies, music and video games for the ways some kids act out in the world. I say if a kid is acting out and going crazy there is something wrong with them in the head, its a phase that all kids pretty much go through anyway; some worse than others, or its just plain bad parenting. But don't point the finger at Video Games! I think most video games that come out these days actually fine tune critical thinking and reflex skills. Here is the article I found on the subject by Ben Silverman:

Penned by Harvard Med School researchers Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olsen, "Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do" refutes common conceptions about the causal relationship between violent video games and violent behavior.

In other words, playing a few hours of GTA IV will not result in your kid stealing a car, careening through traffic and gunning down civilians.

"What I hope people realize is that there is no data to support the simple-minded concerns that video games cause violence," Kutner told Reuters News Service in an interview.

Their findings are a result of a two-year study of over 1,200 middle-school students. Unlike most studies set in sterile lab environments using psychological triggers, much of their data was collected by -- brace yourself -- actually talking to their young subjects.

The researchers did note a link between mature-rated titles and aggressive behavior, as a significant number of both boys and girls who played M-rated titles reported getting into more fights over the past year than kids who didn't play M-rated games.

However, Kutner and Olson point out that this simply demonstrates a correlation between violent games and aggression, not that one causes the other, suggesting the possibility that the kids attracted to mature-rated games were naturally aggressive to begin with.

Ultimately, "Grand Theft Childhood" advises parents concerned about their child's behavior to consider a wider range of factors than just their interest in violent games, including bad grades, too much fighting and, of course, obsessive gaming, so you might want to start trimming down those marathon sessions of Halo 3 when mom's around (or better yet, get her to play along with you).

Of course kids that are already violent are going to want to play the violent video games! Its common sense. 'M' rated video games don't create violent kids, violent kids create 'M' rated video games. See how that works?! In all seriousness though I think the article and study hit what is really going on here. There are so many studies out there that are trying to make the link that video games do cause aggression and violence. If parents are complaining about video games turning their kids into monsters then damn it stop buying the games for them! I was at Target the other day and saw some punk ass little brat about 10 years old hitting his mom because he wanted a video game. Guess what, she bought it for him. Now you tell me, is his violent reaction the video games fault? 

-Dr. Venkman


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