The discussion is back. Do Violent games make violent kids? In a recent study by the American Psychological Association the myths (as they perceive them) are refuted.
My concern, as a Wired Mom, is that there does not seem to be any coorelation in the study with the intervention of the family. How are these young young children having access to violent games? Is the family “modeling” violent behavior at home?
We know that we are all affected by advertising and by what we see on TV – if it weren’t true then companies would not spend millions of dollars for a 15 – 30 second spot during the Super Bowl. Studies are clear that these images have an impact.
There is also another tried and true statement – Garbage in Garbage out. At our house it is important to me that the kids read one classic novel between the vampire books that they seem drawn to.
One point in the APA report that I absolutely do agree with is that often times parents are lulled into a sense of security allowing their kids to play much more violent games if the violence is “fakey” or comic.
But in general the report does not convince me that Violent video games are the source of all evil. I have way more concerns about the report exactly for the social component that seems to be left out.
In my limited experience I have seen many otherwise violent youth have an outlet for their aggression by taking it out by killing zombies – additionally, those same kids develop confidence and social skills from working together with other people to solve these problems they are facing in the zombie game.
The kids who I have seen who are most violent after playing violent video games are the kids who have troubles they are dealing with in the real world – not just the virtual world.
The key to this report is clear: We need more parents playing video games with their kids! And because kids like playing video games with their friends, we need more parents playing video games with their kids and their kids friends.
We are not trying to be our kids “best friend” by playing video games with them. We are being responsible parents.
Finally, because our kids are exposed to very mature content on TV / movies / Internet much earlier these days we tend to think our kids are much more mature / precocious than ever before. But it is my opinion that there is a fine balance because kids really do want to be kids and at the same time they seek the approval of their friends and their parents and so lots of times they will pretend to understand alot more about what they are looking at and hearing than they really do. We need to protect our kids and preserve their childhood with a vigilence that a mother bear provides her cubs.
So YES – violent images affect our kids and ourselves. There is no doubt. Is this the ultimate cause for violent behavior? The jury is still out for me. For me what there is NO doubt about is the need for more parents to get involved with their kids lives by playing video games.