Playing violent video games has no link to teenage aggression
When looking for someone to blame as a result of a mass shooting or acts of extreme violence, there is always one topic that happens to rear its head and that is gaming.
But a new study conducted over at Oxford University has found no links between video games and aggressive behaviour.
Sarah-Jane Mee spoke to Dr Amanda Gummer this morning on Sky’s Sunrise show to discuss the study’s findings and what parents can learn from this.
Is this going to be a sigh of relief for parents?
“I think that it will be, but parents still need to help children manage their screen time and monitor what games they’re playing. On the face it, the findings tell us that for teenagers, there is no obvious link between them playing violent video games and aggression. But, what it isn’t saying is that it is harmless to play as much video games as you like and that it won’t have any impact.
I would argue that if your teenager is currently enjoying a happy and healthy childhood with a balanced range of activities that see them getting involved in the active play as well as playing violent video games occasionally, then it these findings are reassuring and you don’t need to worry unnecessarily.
However, if they happen to already be showing violent tendencies, then you should look into where that is coming from and why they are exhibiting them.”
What this study didn’t give a green light to is other issues surrounding gaming such as addiction and trolling?
“These issues are a part of a wider parenting issue, it’s not about the games themselves being innately bad and children playing those types of games becoming violent, but it’s about what else is going on in their lives. If they are getting addicted to a game and it’s interfering with eating, sleeping and their normal behaviour then there needs to something done about it.
If they’re being bullied or feeling upset when playing these games, then absolutely you would need to intervene as a parent. It’s seeing gaming and digital life as part of normal life and it very often requires normal parenting solutions – from stranger danger right through to ‘if you wouldn’t say it face to face, then don’t say it at all’. Those kind of messages are the types of things we need to translate into digital spaces too.”
What would be your advice to parents when it comes to gaming?
“First of all, have a conversation with your children about what’s reasonable and agree on how much time they are allowed to play video games or be online.
It’s important that children and young people are spending time being social, active, imaginative and if your child is already doing all that, then fine – even if that’s on a screen playing with friends, then that’s great.
But if it is solitary, sedentary and passive, then that needs to be regulated and the best way to do this is by having a conversation with your children to agree on certain things such as time limits. It is crucial to get the kids involved in making those decisions so they’re more bought into it and more inclined to stick to it.
It’s also important to make sure that there is a mix of the things that they are doing. Ensure that they’re not just spending four hours solid glued to one particular game and that they’re doing other things such as spending time with their friends.”
Watch the Full-Length Discussion on Sky News below
Tags: child development, gaming, play diet, Screen Time, video games
This post was written by Oomar Mauthoor