Posted on November 19th, 2011 in Media Violence Research, Video Game Violence | Leave a comment

As we touched on in our last blog, the Holidays are right around the corner.  Every year it seems like the trees & lights are going up earlier, Santa Claus is in the malls, and the commercials are on TV prompting kids to make their lists.

And, in spite of what some of our constant detractors might claim about us, we’re not anti-video game, but we do think that violent video games can have adverse consequences in kids.

While we provide you with specific inputs, and reviews around the current crop of top sellers for 2011 Christmas, we also want to give a background on our position on violent video games, with supportive research.

While there are differing opinions on whether violent video games directly lead to violence, what we do know both intuitively and through empirical data is that repeated exposure to graphic acts of violence, especially as video games become increasingly lifelike, has a desensitizing effect on gamers, leading to potential antisocial behavior.

Research at Iowa State by Carnegy, Anderson, and Bushman, titled, “The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence” digs into the data.

The research, using objective data sets, measuring exposure to both non-violent and then violent video games, showed statistically significant less of a response to violence after violent video games were played, than those that had not.  Meaning, physiological response, i.e. heartrate, was higher among those playing non-violent video games, than violent video game players.

Does a reduced heart rate from increased exposure to video violence mean your kids will turn out violent?  There’s no direct correlation.  A more important question, why would you want to desensitize your kids to violence?  We know children have a harder time distinguishing between reality and fantasy, why would you allow a game that would muddy those lines further, in a potentially detrimental fashion?



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