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RDS Occasional Paper No 72
The Research, Development and Statistics Directorate
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I would like to express my thanks to Professor Jack Sanger of the Anglia Polytechnic University for his advice and assistance in undertaking this review. I am also very grateful to my work colleague David Brown for his helpful advice and comments on the report. Jessica Harris
Page Summary 1. 2. Introduction Methodology 2.1. 3. Weaknesses of studies v 1 3 4 7 7 10 11 11 12 13 13 17
A review of the research ﬁndings 3.1. 3.2 3.3. 3.4. 3.5. Aggression Aggression and self-esteem Addiction Crime Academic achievement
Discussion Figure 4.1: The positive and negative effects of computer games on young children
Appendix A. Table of all studies reviewed: • • • • • Aggression Self-esteem Addiction Crime Academic achievement
17 18 18 18 18 19
Bibliography and references
Little research has been carried out into non-arcade electronic game playing as this was originally perceived as a harmless and enjoyable pastime. However, with the ever-increasing interest and participation of young children in this activity, much concern has been expressed about the effects of these games on children. At the centre of the debate is the question of whether they are detrimental to a young person’s healthy development. There are speciﬁc concerns about the implications for aggression, addiction, criminal activity and reduced academic achievement. This review examines the research on the effects of computer games on young children. It covers studies conducted between 1985 and 1994. (Relatively little recent research has been carried out.)
The review uncovered some negative and some positive consequences for young children of playing computer games: • some studies suggest that the playing or observing of violent games does affect young children negatively as they show increased levels of aggressive behaviour – at least in the short term • • • • other studies suggest that computer games have little or no...