The Negative Influence of Violent Video Games on Kids
After unfortunate and tragic events such as the Columbine High School, Aurora movie theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, people are always looking for triggers or circumstances that led up to the horrible events. Blame is laid at the feet of negligent parents, hate-filled music lyrics, peer pressure and school bullying, and violent video games, just to name a few.
Do violent video games really trigger aggressive, hostile, or violent reactions in children? Some studies say yes and others say no, while even more are on the fence and claim that the video games can contribute if there are mitigating factors that also play a part in nurturing and unleashing violent actions and reactions.
According to the American Psychological Association, violent video games do lead to externalized aggression and inappropriate expressions of frustration that lead to acting out in a hostile or violent manner. Children who spend a lot of time engaged in violent video games also show a decreased ability to empathize with others and involve themselves in normal social interactions with other children.
How can you as a parent mitigate the effects of violent video games and media exposure on your children? Take an active role in monitoring what your child is engaged in when they are playing video games or watching television. Discuss the difference between appropriate and inappropriate reactions to certain situations and how they deal with anger and frustration. Become a more involved parent by also encouraging your child to participate in activities that don’t revolve around video games and violent media.
You, as a parent, are the biggest influence on your child’s development when they are forming their standards and baselines for how to act in various situations, so make sure you are an actively positive influence rather than a negative or, even worse, indifferent one.