The scientific study of media effects has led researchers down the road of video game effects. From both a social and psychological standpoint, video games have the ability to influence their players both on implicit and explicit levels. The popularity of video and computer games has grown exponentially in recent years, yet empirical research is still relatively limited when compared to the study of other media. In 1982, the U.S. Surgeon General lamented the lack of such evidence (Selnow, 1984). But the progress that has been made has been very beneficial to the field thus far and is only the seed of what has already become one of the most controversial media effects topics to date. Current research
Lee and Peng (2006) state that research on both the psychological and social effects of video games currently focuses on three aspects: 1. The testing of negative consequences of violent games will cause behavior issues to young adults or kids. 2. The utility of educational and training games.
3. The general effects of entertainment games.
Negative effects of video games
Research on aggressive behavior as an effect of playing violent video games began in the 1980s and 1990s and still continues to this day. Although under current debate, some researchers claim that these violent games may cause more intense feelings of aggression than nonviolent games, and may trigger feelings of anger and hostility. Several studies have supported such findings. The theoretical explanations for these types of effects can be explained by several different theories; social cognitive theory, excitation transfer theory, priming effect and the General Aggression Model. A 2009 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied a 2006 online survey of 552 people from Washington State. It found the average gamer from this sample was 35, male, overweight, aggressive, introverted and often depressed. Of online gamers aged 8 to 34, nearly 12% showed multiple signs of addiction. Violent video games have been tentatively found to decrease prosocial behaviors. Prosocial behaviors include activities such as giving to charity, volunteering and overall "helping" behaviors. However this has not been supported by research in large populations, as a majority of people who play violent games do not lack prosocial behaviors. It is likely that those who lack prosocial behaviors tend to play violent video games. Other researchers have claimed that exposure to violent video games has predicted alcohol consumption, destruction of school property, and other delinquent behaviors. Not only have video games have been shown to influence self-perception, but they may have a link with body image assessment of the opposite gender. Female video game characters are often hyper sexualized and unrealistic, and have been shown to play a factor in hard-core gamers' perceptions of ideal beauty. Similar to the decrease in prosocial behaviors, studies and articles have also found that frequent use of video games leads to an increase in antisocial behavior. Characteristics of those who exhibit antisocial behaviors include being considerably introverted, aggression, depression or anxiety (said to appear later in life). Antisocial behavior begins to appear in younger ages, typically these children display acts of violence with no consideration for consequences. Many psychiatrists believe that playing computer games can be addictive. This addiction could lead to physical health problems, spending problems, and time displacement leading to missed work or school days. In one example, a 28-year-old South Korean gamer died after 50 hours of StarCraft online gameplay. However, no solid evidence has supported the "game-addiction" hypothesis. In addition, there are many other suggested negative aspects and effects of video games, the most popular and controversial technology. Rowell Huesmann suggests that video games can be very dangerous,...