Friday, September 12, 2014

Wag the Dog? Violent Video Games to explain youth violence

Video game violence use among "vulnerable" populations: the impact of violent games on delinquency and bullying among children with clinically elevated depression or attention deficit symptoms.
The discussion of a connection between violent video games and youth violence continues in our pop culture especially after a violent tragedy. People want an explanation and they often look to video games. The fact of the matter is that youth violence has decreased since the introduction of home video game systems in the mid 90's. What is the reason for this? Some hypothesize that kids take out their aggressive feelings on the game instead of other kids (IRL - in real life). But then there is the concern about those kids who may be in a vulnerable category. What about the kids with ADHD or other clinically elevated depressive tendencies? Researchers looked at this particular community to see if they were more vulnerable to the violence in video games. Their results were published earlier this year in the Journal of Youth Adolescents. Read the abstract below and click on the link for the full text. The complete study is available HERE.


Video game violence use among "vulnerable" populations:

The impact of violent games on delinquency and bullying among children with clinically elevated depression or attention deficit symptoms.

J Youth Adolesc. 2014 Jan;43(1):127-36
Authors: Ferguson CJ, Olson CK

The issue of children's exposure to violent video games has been a source of considerable debate for several decades. Questions persist whether children with pre-existing mental health problems may be influenced adversely by exposure to violent games, even if other children are not. We explored this issue with 377 children (62 % female, mixed ethnicity, mean age = 12.93) displaying clinically elevated attention deficit or depressive symptoms on the Pediatric Symptom Checklist. Results from our study found no evidence for increased bullying or delinquent behaviors among youth with clinically elevated mental health symptoms who also played violent video games. Our results did not support the hypothesis that children with elevated mental health symptoms constitute a "vulnerable" population for video game violence effects. Implications and suggestions for further research are provided.

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