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Violent video games and child aggression

Survey finds 75 percent of parents think violent video games contribute to actual violence.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Jan 16, 2013 9:40PM

Little more than one month has passed since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and the world still grieves for the 26 lives lost.

As the community of Newtown and the nation struggle to make sense of the devastation, gun control, mental health issues and violent video games have all been called into question. Groups like Sandy Hook Promise call for a ‘national conversation’ and President Obama is rolling out plans to curb gun violence, but the search for solutions on how to avoid a repeat incident remains.

Photo: Image Source/Getty ImagesIn the days following the shooting, details unfolded surrounding Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old Newtown shooter, his “strange” behavior and “obsession” with violent video games kept surfacing. Lanza lived at his mother's colonial-style mansion, where he had two of the house's four bedrooms – one for himself and the other for the computer where he played violent video games, reports the The Telegraph.
According to express.co.uk, Lanza's favorite video game was said to be a shockingly violent fantasy war game called Dynasty Warriors. Was it a game or easy access to a deadly arsenal of guns – he reportedly learned how to shoot after his mother took him to local ranges - that inspired Lanza to carry out the deadly massacre?

 

The topic of virtual violence resulting in real life aggression has long been controversial. Are these games simply a fun hobby, or for children who may already be mentally or emotionally unstable, do these games have the ability to push someone over the edge?

More from MSN Living: The top 10 worst moments in mom judgment

A new survey from Common Sense Media found that 75 percent of parents think violent video games contribute to actual violence. 1,050 people were surveyed, and 89 percent of them say violence in video games is a problem. (45 percent say it's a major problem; 44 percent say it's a minor problem.)

News: In letters, kids ask Obama to change gun laws

"There is a real harm in children having exposure to violence, such as playing violent video games," says Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Debra Kissen, Ph.D., M.H.S.A. of Chicago, IL. "By playing violent video games, children (and adults) become desensitized to this content and therefore experience less of an emotional reaction to violence," says Kissen. "Therefore, violent behavior becomes normalized and becomes a more reasonable alternative when experiencing a conflict."

News: Gun group: Our industry didn't cause Newtown

Jason Schreier, Editor of Kotaku, the Gamer's Guide challenges the Common Sense Media survey findings and the association between violent video game use and violence.

Bing: How to tell if your child is emotionally disturbed

“There have been no scientific studies that connect violent video games to violence,” he wrote on the site.  “There have been studies that connect violent video games to aggression (more on that in the near future), but there is absolutely zero evidence, according to leading researchers in this field, that links violent video games to violent crime in any way.”

Tell us on Facebook: Are you ok with your kids playing violent video games?

More from MSN Living:
12 violent video games to avoid
50 ways to stay bonded to your kids
How to help your kids feel safe
Is homework really necessary?
Districts look to beef up school safety with panic buttons

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Photo: Image Source/Getty Images

794Comments
Jan 17, 2013 6:24PM
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Advertising does not bring in customers.  Adventure Sports are never tried at home. Video games do not affect children.  Which on of these statements in not true?

Jan 17, 2013 6:23PM
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I would say yes on video games, movies, music and TV all do add to violent behavior. Couple these items with the environment one may live within and absolutely all these items contribute to violent behavior and more so than lack of "gun laws".
Jan 17, 2013 6:23PM
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LOL! Lawmakers propose tax on violent games! That's always the solution huh, just tax whatever might be "morally objective". Why doesn't the article address the fact that many of these violent video games are created and commissioned by the department of defense?  And that drone pilots are nothing more than arcade nerds blowing up innocent women and children over seas using XBOX CONTROLLERS! And why is it that the most violent people alive (the government) are the ones who have a problem with "violent video games?" What, it's not real enough? Funny how Obama says we don't need guns but he's surrounded by secret servicemen who are armed to the teeth! It's all a bunch of BS to take your money and liberty ladies and gentlemen, don't fall for it! It's called "problem, reaction solution". Create the problem, have people beg for a reaction, then introduce your pre-planned solution.

Jan 17, 2013 6:23PM
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LOL! Lawmakers propose tax on violent games! That's always the solution huh, just tax whatever might be "morally objective". Why doesn't the article address the fact that many of these violent video games are created and commissioned by the department of defense?  And that drone pilots are nothing more than arcade nerds blowing up innocent women and children over seas using XBOX CONTROLLERS! And why is it that the most violent people alive (the government) are the ones who have a problem with "violent video games?" What, it's not real enough? Funny how Obama says we don't need guns but he's surrounded by secret servicemen who are armed to the teeth! It's all a bunch of BS to take your money and liberty ladies and gentlemen, don't fall for it! It's called "problem, reaction solution". Create the problem, have people beg for a reaction, then introduce your pre-planned solution.

Jan 17, 2013 6:22PM
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VIolence is not entertaining, but video games, apps, tv, movies, etc. have glamourized violence.  Get with it!  Sure, parents can share some of the responsibility for not controllig what their children watch; but it is so pervasive in our culture.  Just as with sexually explicit programs during regular time slots.  There are no more boundaries.  Nothing is left to the imagination.  Cliche as that may sound it has become our reality.  Sadly, what children are exposed to is far from positive.  ME TV is the last age of innocent television programming.  Critics said that Beaver's family was too idealistic, but isn't it better to strive for a positive existence and then fall a tad short than to strive low and nose dive into what?   
Jan 17, 2013 6:22PM
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start blaming the person there self where was this kids mind at I mean how many people play violent video games and do not kill people billions thats how many just because of a few people who have no conscience they want to blame video games and guns blame the person who did it that person if the only person responsible for what happened not guns not video games not tv not the parents just him each person is responsible for them self and their decision I am sick and tired of all you people blaming other things for some **** who wanted to kill a bunch of people because he did not know right form wrong it is HIS fault not anyone or anything else start making people learn morals and have a good conscience you people need to stop blaming other people and things and look in the mirror and see if you have a good conscience because it all comes down to what kind of person you are not how you were raised not what games you play or tv shows you watch 
Jan 17, 2013 6:22PM
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Wait on ****ing second, sandy hook was started becuase of violente video games, the guy had problems, also what ****ing parent lets there kid play these games, ITS ****ING RATED M FOR ADULTS NOT KIDS< just like gun control, just becuase you own a gun doesnt mean you wanna kill someone.  Am i right or not.
Jan 17, 2013 6:22PM
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As a mother of 14 & 18 year old boys that play Call of Duty online, it is not the game that makes your children violent and evil and it is my responsibility to see to it they are speaking and acting like the adults they suppose to grow up to be.  This is not a gaming issue.  It is a parental issue, and if your child is not mature enough to handle or know the difference between make believe and the real world they do not need to play those types of games.
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