Cambridge Evening News, UK 01-19-07

Cambridge Evening News, UK
VIOLENT video games increase aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviour
and teachers should be wary of using them in the classroom - according to a top
American psychologist.
Dr Craig Anderson, a psychology professor at Iowa State University, carried
out two studies into the effect computer games have on young people.
He said: "We found that students who played violent video games when they are
of school age later engaged in more aggressive behaviour.
The results were the same in each age group we studied.
Video games which are well designed can be an excellent teaching tool but I see
no reason for violent ones to be used as my main concern would be that they
would increase aggressive thoughts and behaviour in schoolchildren."
His comments come after the Newsexclusively revealed that teenagers in the
region could soon be playing a violent Second World War game - Medal of Honor
- in an attempt to raise the achievement levels of underperforming boys.
Dr Anderson's first study showed that young men who are habitually aggressive
may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of repeated exposure to violent
The second study showed that everybody can become temporarily more
aggressive after even a brief exposure to violent games.
Dr Anderson has also written a book called Violent Video Game Effects on
Children and Adolescents, based on years of research.
He added: "Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practising
aggressive solutions to conflict situations. But if teachers are putting it into a
moral context it could be a worthwhile risk to take to help the boys develop into
moral young adults."
The pilot scheme has been led by Rob Lowe, head of English at Saffron Walden
County High School, who gave a workshop on the use of gaming in the
classroom to teachers earlier this week.
He hopes to improve the standard of creative writing at his school and others in
the region by engaging pupils through gaming.
Dr Anderson advised teachers to be wary of using "cheats" during the game to
make the players "God-like".
He said: "Anything that makes pupils invincible reduces the likelihood of them
understanding the consequences of pulling a trigger.
Games can be an excellent educational tool to engage underachieving boys and
if they are used responsibly the schools could see benefits."
■ In a Newsinternet poll, more than 1,000 people voted on the issue. 935 readers
(84 per cent) said violent computer games should not be used in schools and
179 (16 per cent) said they should.