Violent Video Games are Good for Kids, New Study Shows

Updated H. B. Duran 2 Tallied Votes 2K Views Share

Today, theEntertainment Software Association released findings from two studies by Dr. Christopher Ferguson of Texas A&M University. In an interesting twist, Dr. Ferguson's findings suggest that not only are violent video games okay to give to children, they may actually be beneficial.

Video games are often blamed for violent outbursts, as are movies, television and Catcher in the Rye. I lived in the same neighborhood as Columbine High School when the massacre took place. This particular tragedy was the first time I had heard video games being blamed for someone's behavior. Harris and Klebold reportedly liked playing Doom - as did my husband and I. We have yet to go on a homicidal rampage, and so it was hard for me to relate to such a simple connection. I distinctly remember looking from the News to our Playstation with perplexity at such a claim.

In Dr. Ferguson's study entitled, Blazing Angels or Resident Evil? Can Violent Video Games be a Force for Good? he conducted an in-depth analysis of so-called "proof" that violent video games lead to aggressive behavior. What he found was that many of these studies were based on inconsistent findings. In fact, as he took a broader approach to verifying such an impact, Dr. Ferguson noted that violent crime has dropped dramatically during the same periods in which video games have gained popularity. The study goes on to say that violent video games are associated with improved visual and spatial cognition, not to mention the fact that shy children (or adults) tend to feel empowered by playing such a game, particularly in a multiplayer setting. This study was published in June by the Review of General Psychology.

I, for one, after playing first person shooters and mystery games, have better map-reading skills, problem-solving skills, nunchaku skills and the ability to focus my eyes on a small, moving target from a far distance. (Okay, not nunchaku, I might have made that one up, but you get the point.)

Gamers know that they can vent a lot of frustration by picking up a controller. This theory was proven in The Hitman Study: Violent Video Games Exposure Effects on Aggressive Behavior, Hostile Feelings and Depression. Teaming up with Stephanie Rueda (also of Texas A&M University), Dr. Ferguson gave 103 young adults a "frustration task." These subjects were then separated into four experimental groups: playing no video game, playing a non-violent game, one that played a violent game as the "good guy" and another group playing a violent game as a "bad guy." Their results showed that subjects who played violent games were "less hostile and depressed." suggesting that such games "reduce depression and hostile feelings in players through mood management."

(See my article on Jedi Mind, Inc. to see how a game can sense your mood and help you manage it through brain waves.)

Armed with such research, the Entertainment Software Association plans on arguing before the U. S. Supreme Court this fall in the case of Schwarzenegger vv. EMA/ESA. This case challenges a 2005 law that would regulate the sale and rental of games based on their content. (Ironic, considering most of the Governor's films are incredibly violent.)

To learn more about this case, the arguments presented, etc. visit

Censorship? Run for de choppah!!!

PCSAWICK829 commented: As a big gamer myself, i liked this article =) +1
MTJLT 0 Newbie Poster

Conventional wisdom is often proven wrong, and the theory that violent games cause violent behavior is indeed over-simplified. An angry, violence-prone person will not become less violent by playing non-violent games. And a non-violent person probably will not even be interested in violent games. But those are to two ends of the spectrum, and most people fall somewhere between.

Desensitization, however, is a fact established by years of exhaustive study. The military uses the principle in basic training, turning relatively mild people into weapons. And Madison Avenue uses the power of suggestion to create markets and sell products that buyers would not otherwise use.

Do desensitization and suggestion contribute to violence among otherwise non-violent people? Of course not. But among angry people, they may well help tear down the normal inhibitions for antisocial, violent behavior.

The apparently high correlation between violent entertainments and violent behavior is no doubt skewed by the fact that angry people are predisposed to acting out their anger. They are emotion-sensitive bombs, armed and ready to explode.

Solutions? Good luck. Anger-motivated violence has plagued mankind since Cane Bludgeoned Able, and modern, psycho-social experimenters are clueless as to the cause, let alone the solution. The only true solution for anger and hatred is the transformation of complete rebirth. But people don't like reading of that, as it is non-technical, and condemned as preaching. More's the pity.

JamesMonroe 0 Newbie Poster

games are games when kids play games they learn some thing about computer and build confidence so games or other like activities are good for them


joshmobiles80 0 Newbie Poster

All games are not violate the kids but there are some that may cause.

johnsign11 0 Newbie Poster

i think violent games are no good for kids but it can be beneficial for teenagers in many ways it can even help them to choose their career...

Geekitygeek 480 Nearly a Posting Virtuoso

Finally, some sensible findings; I firmly believe that a non-violent person will not suddenly become a rage demon and go out on a killing spree because they grew up playing violent video games. I, for one, love a good round of head stomping, gut ripping, blood bathing mayhem in a virtual world and yet I abhor violence in real life; most people can make the distinction between fiction and reality.
I think MTJLT has the right of it: violent video games don't make people more violent, but they do expose them to violence on a scale that they wouldn't see in real life. It can't be denied that constant exposure breeds familiarity, and becoming familiar with the sight of death and dismemberment must surely influence the behaviour of someone who already has a tendency toward violent behaviour.

hanvyj 7 Posting Whiz in Training

I dissagree that violent videogames "desensitize" people to violence, I have played violent games all through my life (and watched films etc) but when a program on TV showed some surgery last night I felt ill and couldn't watch! Yet no doubt tonight I will blast some aliens limbs off...

Brains know whats real and what isn't, when they don't, the person would be violent in the name of any media they have attatched to, regardless of how violent it is (though they are probably drawn to the most violent available) and this happens very rarely

DianeBrandt 0 Light Poster

This is one of those topics that make you say, "Are You Kidding Me?"

2010MAVRIK 0 Light Poster

According to me games are good for kids, because they come to know more about computer and by playing games they become more interactive.And there are some violent games which can harm kids. So parents should take care of this.

johnwords 0 Newbie Poster

sometimes kids can get some techniques from it .
but not all of these games

johnwords 0 Newbie Poster

parents should be cautious when let children play some games
because some may really do harm to your kids

goldybedi 0 Newbie Poster

I think these games are not good for kids.

imAGamer 3 Newbie Poster

hey im 14 and i have a pretty normal temper but i do get very angry but i hold it in (thats personal issues), i play vidiogames alot and some violent ones like dead island (sertch it up you will see what i mean), to be honist i think you guys that apose had issues gaming in the past or you just were not aloud to play them. so heres what i say get you computer get a violent game e.g dead island and play if for an hour or two if you dont like it then stop if you feel less tense then good on you. but as i said before i get angry but i dont let them out on the games i let them out in the gym like the punching bag like every normal kid should. but if you let your kid play and see them leting ther anger out on games get them something to let ther anger out insted like i do.

games dont make you angry life does think back to when you were a kid did you get angry. you proberly did and why was that? the answer is other pepole thats what competitive gaming is leting loose on some other kid who is geting angry at you. so is it the game you play or the pepole you play with. sorry about the spelling i have dyslexia. thanx for reading :)

ChrisHunter commented: had a good point that i agree with +3
ChrisHunter 152 Posting Whiz in Training Featured Poster

parents should be cautious when let children play some games
because some may really do harm to your kids

I've never been punched in the face by a video game in over 15 years i've been playing.

Games can help with geography, i went to Venice and knew my way around without a map thanks to asassins creed and the main aim of the game is to stab people without being seen.

Someone has done a study in the UK too that says people who play computer games a lot can't tell the difference between reality and the games they play and look for the melee buttons and think they are charactors from the game. i think this is rubbish myself as there must be preexisting mental issues that are the main cause.

imAGamer i agree i go climbing to get my anger out and calmed down alot since i started climbing.

SkylerZio 3 Newbie Poster

I'm an avid gamer, I spend about 30-40 hours a week gaming. I started playing when I was 6 and am now 30. Games have always been a large part of my life. I have yet once to be violent. I have never been in trouble for being aggressive. This statement right here seperates video games from violence. If a child is violent after playing a game, then there are underlying issues at work. Do not blame the game, blame the player.

ChrisHunter commented: "Do not blame the game, blame the player. " was an awesome response ! +3
imAGamer 3 Newbie Poster

haha nice chris nether have i. i do firmly beleve in my cause but some sease in games go to far there is only one i can think of tho in the game i think its called "homeland security"(the resent one) at the start when you are on the bus and the perant is shot in front of there child i feel that this is to far its not the violense its the adult theme to it. i dont think that is sutable. but with a game like mortal combat there is hardly a story and there is not many adult themes, but lots of gore thats fine you might as well make up an excuse like the haters and say that its teaching biology haha. don't blame the game, blame the player. slogan for the win!!

ChrisHunter 152 Posting Whiz in Training Featured Poster

True something as insensative as the parent being shot in front of their child is going a bit far but games such as that and even call of duty do come with age ratings (which might not be enforces by some shops) and the adults who say games might harm kis must know that the games are rated above the age of their child, unless a kid punches another while playing Wii tennis or pulls a hammy.

It's all a matter of choise and the gamers/ buyers discretion when it comes down to it.

albones14 0 Newbie Poster

why do we even rate games im mean come on why the hell should younger kids play boering non vilont game the they can be having fun playing violent games its not right to restict kids from playing what they want.

nicholasm5581 0 Newbie Poster

I do not believe that violent movies or games make people violent. If a person already has anger issues then ok maybe watching a violent game could push a person to doing something violent, but that is the same as walking down the street and seeing someone do something violent. Plus, if a person has anger issues then that right there shows that the person already has issues before playing the game. Yes, blame the player not the game. Most people with anger issues are on the edge anyways. I do not think it is fair that everyone else should have to stop living and having fun just because an activity "may" upset someone else. Maybe that particular person should be banned from playing violent games, but then ironically banning the person would probably make them become violent! (ha)

I have always played violent games since my early teens and I have been against real violence my entire life. Fake violence makes me laugh and real gore makes me sick. I let my kids play violent games and they are good kids when not playing. My son or daughter would never hit someone. My son might in self defense but he would not initiate it. Both of my kids are sweet and respectful. I think it has a lot to do with parents too. Parents who are too strict can cause their kids to become resentful. Resentful kids can = violent behavior. So maybe parents should stop worrying about what the games are doing to their kids and start worring about what THEY are doing to their kids.

Dedra 0 Newbie Poster

Nice article. I agree that games for kids will improve their behavior. While you play games, without knowing, you will start thinking more which will give work to your brains which we normally do not do. This way, anybody can play games and give some excercise to their brains.


Honny flussia 0 Newbie Poster

These games are certainlly not good for kids' health. If they play too many this kind of games, they would use language and behaveior of games in reality. For example, they "kill" lots of people in games and they will tend to kill people in the real society. Because, they will consider that killing is legal.

happygeek 2,411 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

they will tend to kill people in the real society. Because, they will consider that killing is legal.

And can you provide any evidence at all to back up that wild statement? Violent video games have been around for decades now, yet as far as I can see there are not hoardes of kids running around killing people as a direct result in every town in every city.

Try engaging brain before operating mouth (or, in this case, keyboard)

Siberian 13 Junior Poster

I don't believe this crap, violent games are not good for kids; potato chips and soft drinks are healthy as well, did you believe that ?

Wild orgies on the street will reduce birth rates to help governments, do you believe that ?

Naheedmir 53 Junior Poster in Training

I am also of the view that not all violent games are good for the kids. As kids learn from every activity and somehow they begin to do the same as they watch and what they like. So really violent things may be dangerous for their real life. However, I prefer intellectual and thrilling games for them which can boost their confidence and improve their learning capabilities.


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