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Published on: 16 Nov 2016 by annarich
Today 97% of teens in the U.S. play video games, and sales of games are growing. The domestic video game industry brings in nearly $12 billion a year. This popular form of media has both positive and negative effects on children.The most widely acknowledged "positive" impact is that video games may help children improve their manual dexterity and computer literacy.
Ever-improving technology also provides players with better graphics that give a more "realistic" virtual playing experience.
This quality makes the video game industry a powerful force in many adolescent lives. When a video game is “pro-social” and rewards players for building a town or helping others, children tend to show more empathy and helpfulness in their daily lives, according to a 2014 study by Douglas Gentile, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University. However, studies also show that video games with violent content are linked to more aggressive behavior in teens.
This is a concern because most of the popular video games contain violence. Part of the increase in aggressive behavior is linked to the amount of time children are allowed to play video games—and daily media use by children is increasing significantly. A 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that youth age 8 to 18 devote seven-and-a-half hours a day to entertainment media. Less than half of the kids surveyed said their parents have rules about the shows and games they can watch or play. In interactive video games, players are encouraged to identify with and role play their favorite characters.
Players move up in game levels as their character masters skill and wins. In a video game about stock cars, winning may mean winning the race. But in many of the popular games, players move up levels by winning fights or battles. Players directly benefit from engaging in acts of violence. Gentile & Anderson (2003) state that playing video games may increase aggressive behavior because violent acts are continually repeated throughout the video game.
This method of repetition has long been considered an effective teaching method in reinforcing learning patterns.Research has also found that, controlling for prior aggression, children who played more violent video games during the beginning of the school year showed more aggression than other children later in the school year.