Negative Effects of Video Games
Most of the bad effects of video games are blamed on the violence they contain. Children who play more violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and decreased prosocial helping, according to a scientific study (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). The effect of video game violence in kids is worsened by the games’ interactive nature. In many games, kids are rewarded for being more violent. The act of violence is done repeatedly. The child is in control of the violence and experiences the violence in his own eyes (killings, kicking, stabbing and shooting). This active participation, repetition and reward are effective tools for learning behavior. Indeed, many studies seem to indicate that violent video games may be related to aggressive behavior (such as Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004). However, the evidence is not consistent and this issue is far from settled. Many experts including Henry Jenkins of Massachusetts Institute of Technology have noted that there is a decreased rate of juvenile crime whch coincides with the popularity of games such as Death Race, Mortal Kombat, Doom and Grand Theft auto. He concludes that teenage players are able to leave the emotional effects of the game behind when the game is over. Indeed there are cases of teenagers who commit violent crimes who also spend great amount of time playing video games such as those involved in the Columbine and Newport cases. It appears that there will always be violent people, and it just so happen that many of them also enjoy playing violent video games. Too much video game playing makes your kid socially isolated. Also, he may spend less time in other activities such as doing homework, reading, sports, and interacting with the family and friends. Some video games teach kids the wrong values. Violent behavior, vengeance and aggression are rewarded. Negotiating and other nonviolent solutions are often not options. Women are often portrayed as weaker characters that are helpless or sexually provocative. Games can confuse reality and fantasy.
Academic achievement may be negatively related to over-all time spent playing video games. Studies have shown that the more time a kid spends playing video games, the poorer is his performance in school. (Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004). A study by Argosy University's Minnesota School on Professional Psychology found that video game addicts argue a lot with their teachers, fight a lot with their friends, and score lower grades than others who play video games less often. Other studies show that many game players routinely skip their homework to play games, and many students admitted that their video game habits are often responsible for poor school grades. Although some studies suggest that playing video games enhances a child’s concentration, other studies, such as a 2012 paper published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture, have found that games can hurt and help children's attention issues — improving the ability to concentrate in short bursts but damaging long-term concentration. Video games may also have bad effects on some children’s health, including obesity, video-induced seizures. and postural, muscular and skeletal disorders, such as tendonitis, nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome. When playing online, your kid can pick up bad language and behavior from other people, and may make your kid vulnerable to online dangers. A study by the Minneapolis-based National Institute for Media and the Family suggests that video games can be addictive for kids, and that the kids' addiction to video games increases their depression and anxiety levels. Addicted kids also exhibit social phobias. Not surprisingly, kids addicted to video games see their school performance suffer. Kids spending too much time playing video games may exhibit impulsive behavior and have attention problems. This is according to a new study published in the February 2012 issue of the Journal of Psychology and Popular Media Culture. For the study, attention problems were defined as difficulty engaging in or sustaining behavior to reach a goal.
Negative Effects of Violent Video Games May Build Over Time
By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on December 11, 2012
A new study suggests a dose-response relationship among playing violent video games and aggressive and hostile behavior, with negative effects accumulating over time. Investigators discovered people who played a violent video game for three consecutive days showed increases in aggressive behavior and hostile expectations each day they played. They also found that those who played nonviolent games showed no meaningful changes in aggression or hostile expectations over that period. Although other experimental studies have shown that a single session of playing a violent video game increased short-term aggression, this is the first study to show long-term effects from playing violent video games, said psychologist Dr. Brad Bushman, co-author of the study. “It’s important to know the long-term causal effects of violent video games, because so many young people regularly play these games,” Bushman said. “Playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes. A single cigarette won’t cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk. In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression.” Study results are published online in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and will appear in a future print edition. In the study, researchers told 70 French university students that they would be participating in a three-day study of the effects of brightness of video games on visual perception. They were then assigned to play a violent or nonviolent video game for 20 minutes on each of three consecutive days. Investigators assigned the violent games “Condemned 2,” “Call of Duty 4″ and then “The Club” on consecutive days (in a random order). Those assigned the nonviolent games played “S3K Superbike,” “Dirt2″ and “Pure” (in a random order). After playing the game each day, participants took part in an exercise that measured their hostile expectations. They were given the beginning of a story, and then asked to list 20 things that the main character will do or say as the story unfolds. For example, in one story another driver crashes into the back of the main character’s car, causing significant damage. The researchers counted how many times the participants listed violent or aggressive actions and words that might occur. Students in the study then participated in a competitive reaction time task, which is used to measure aggression. Each student was told that he or she would compete against an unseen opponent in a 25-trial computer game in which the object was to be the first to respond to a visual cue on the computer screen. The loser of each trial would receive a blast of unpleasant noise through headphones, and the winner would decide how loud and long the blast would be. The noise blasts were a mixture of several sounds that most people find unpleasant (such as fingernails on a chalk board, dentist drills, and sirens). In actuality, there was no opponent and the participants were told they won about half the trials. Researchers discovered that, after each day, those who played the violent games had an increase in their hostile expectations. In other words, after reading the beginning of the stories, they were more likely to think that the characters would react with aggression or violence. “People who have a steady diet of playing these violent games may come to see the world as a hostile and violent place,” Bushman said. “These results suggest there could be a cumulative effect.” Investigators believe this may help explain why players of the violent games also grew more aggressive day by day, agreeing to give their opponents longer and louder noise blasts through the headphones. “Hostile expectations are probably not the only reason that players of violent games are more aggressive, but our study suggests it is certainly one important factor,” Bushman said. “After playing a violent video game, we found that people expect others to behave aggressively. That expectation may make them more defensive and more likely to respond with aggression themselves, as we saw in this study and in other studies we have conducted.” Students who played the nonviolent games showed no changes in either their hostile expectations or their aggression, Bushman noted. He said it is impossible to know for sure how much aggression may increase for those who play video games for months or years, as many people do. “We would know more if we could test players for longer periods of time, but that isn’t practical or ethical,” he said. “I would expect that the increase in aggression would accumulate for more than three days. It may eventually level off. “However, there is no theoretical reason to think that aggression would decrease over time, as long as players are still playing the violent games,” he said. Source: Ohio State Universit