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Decade-Long Study Claims Violent Video Games Don’t Affect Children

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Video game aficionados everywhere rejoice, as a recent report suggests that video games do not affect the behavior of children. While my generation, which grew up in the video game culture, has tended to skew on the side of the ‘video games are harmless’ argument, it is reassuring to see that science can now back-up our claim. Now to convince the world that we’re more than just lazy and entitled…

Ever since children began picking up controllers, there has been a debate on whether or not video games are affecting their developing minds in a negative way. Video games have been blamed in the past for child and teen violence, and have even come under scrutiny by the United States government. But a recent study, which was published back in March 2013, tells a much different story about how children interact with games.

These findings were originally published in the British Medical Journal and were part of the UK Millennium Cohort Study, a decade-long test that sought to discover how children were psychologically affected by screen-based entertainment. The program brought in over 11,000 children from the UK to participate in the study, and subjected them to different forms of entertainment including video games and television.

Analysis showed that video games, when presented to children as young five, had absolutely no effect on the child’s attention, behavior, or emotional issues. Televison, however, did affect some participants, specifically children between the ages of five and seven. The study saw a small increase in behavioral problems for young children exposed to television for more than three hours a day. It is also important to understand that a much lower amount of children spent the same time playing games as they did watching TV.

This study helps to validate something that many individuals and analysts have already been saying, video games do not harm children. In fact, there have been many other studies to suggest that video games actually help improve hand-eye coordination, memory formation, and can even even help dyslexic children to read better. This may not put an end to the debate, and I am sure this isn’t the last we have heard pertaining to the video game violence argument, but it definitely helps to shed more light on the matter.


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