As long as there has been entertainment, there have been those who question the ethics surrounding the different forms of media, and the negative impacts they have on the users, especially to children. Video games have been subjected to that skepticism more than any other medium, as gamers are the ones in control of the actions, as opposed to simply viewing them
Countless studies have been done in regards to these concerns, with different results coming from different studies, all carrying specific variables. Recently Frontiers in Psychology conducted a study to see if “Neural Empathic Responses Are Blunted in Excessive Users of Violent Video Games.” In layman’s terms, the study depicts whether video games do indeed have a correlative effect on the users want to create stir up violent emotions (short and long term) after playing a violent game.
Frontiersin conducted the study using brain scans and psychological questionnaires regarding violence in gaming. The mean age of the study was 23 years old (22.8 rounded) plus or minus approximately four years with every participant in the study being male – the sex most often linked with aggression as a result of gaming. Of the “Violent Video Game” users that were polled, the average age for beginning playing those types of games was 13 years old (13.1 rounded) plus or minus approximately four years.
This is one of the most important stats derived from the study, as it shows that the vast majority of the males polled have been playing video games since they were young children. The most widely touted argument involving this subject matter revolves around how these games will mold impressionable children in the wrong way.
So when the overall study revealed that the levels of aggression and capacity for empathy in people who never play violent games were the same as in those who game for hours each day, it proved the important point that games like Grand Theft Auto won’t make your son a killer, even if he plays at a young age. In regards to previous studies revolving around the issue, Frontiersin points out that may certain variables, such as the timing in which the participants were examined.
“We hope that the study will encourage other research groups to focus their attention on the possible long-term effects of video games on human behavior,” said Lead researcher Dr. Gregor Szycik.
While this is just one of the many video game studies out there, the demographic that was polled reveals important information to further suggest that violent video games aren’t the main issue causing your child’s aggression.