June 10, 2010

Most Children Unaffected By Violent Video Games

Violent video games may increase aggression and hostility in some players, but scientists say that players can also benefit from visual/spatial skills and social-networking abilities that the games provide.

Researchers, who published a review in a special issue of the journal Review of General Psychology, said that the games may also help to control diabetes and pain and also work as a tool to complement psychotherapy.

Christopher J. Ferguson, of Texas A&M International University, told Reuters, "Violent video games are like peanut butter. They are harmless for the vast majority of kids but are harmful to a small minority with pre-existing personality or mental health problems."

He noted that studies have shown violent games have not created a generation of troublemaking youngsters.

"Recent research has shown that as video games have become more popular, children in the United States and Europe are having fewer behavior problems, are less violent and score better on standardized tests," Ferguson explained.

In a study of 118 teens, conducted by Patrick Markey of Villanova University in Pennsylvania, it was found that certain personality traits can predict which children will be influenced in negative ways by video games.

If someone is easily upset, depressed or emotional, or is often indifferent to the feelings of others, breaks rules often and fails to keep promises, they might be more likely to become hostile after playing violent video games.

"These results suggest that it is the simultaneous combination of these personality traits which yield a more powerful predictor of violent video games," said Markey.

On a more positive note, researcher Pamela Kato of the University Medical Center in the Netherlands, showed that specially tailored games can help to prevent asthma attacks, and ease pain management and diabetes treatment.


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