There is a tremendous amount of allure to video games. Adults and kids alike can become obsessed with the world of gaming. There has always been a general belief that a correlation exists between gaming and aggression.
Many studies have been done that reveal the connection between watching violent images and a tendency towards aggressive behavior. It is safe to say that there is at least a loose association. But gaming takes players to a whole new level and requires very specific skills. It is not a passive activity such as simply viewing a video or film.
There are 2 different camps when it comes to this notion. One side firmly believes that the skills required to be an effective gamer are highly developed and useful in the real world. These are skills such as cooperation, understanding complex concepts, and becoming aware of cause and effect relationships. The other side maintains the belief that these games teach violent behavior, which is then transferred to the world outside of gaming.
Ulrika Bennerstedt, Jonas Ivarsson, Ph.D., and Jonas Linderoth recently published the results of a study on this matter in the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.
They determined that gamers who were most successful at the process were able to cooperate and had knowledge of complex, highly technical strategies. The gamers, who acted badly within the game by being overly emotional or inconsiderate, didn’t do well.
As a therapist, it is my belief that the effect violent gaming has is somewhat dependent upon the recipient of that stimulus. Kids, who are more prone to aggression, tend to act out after interacting aggressively even if it is only on the computer. Some will come away from the games with the skills these researchers mentioned. All, I suspect, will be affected in one way or another.
What have your experiences been with gaming, either as it pertains to your children, your spouse, or yourself? Do you feel pumped up after battling it out in cyberspace or have you noticed a change of behavior in your loved ones when they do so. It would be interesting to hear about some of your ideas on this subject.
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