The Age, Australia 03-29-07 Study blames games

The Age, Australia
Study blames games
A new book looks at the link between violent games and aggression in the
young, writes Jason Hill.
A NEW book lends support to claims that violent games contribute to aggressive
behaviour in children.
Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents presents an overview
of worldwide research on the effects of violent games and argues that society
should begin exploring how to reduce young people's exposure to media
Co-author Douglas Gentile, an assistant professor of psychology at Iowa
State University and director of research at the private, pro-family US
National Institute on Media and the Family, says more research is still needed.
However, studies show that exposure to violent games increases the likelihood of
aggressive behaviour in children.
"Violent video games are a risk factor for aggressive behaviour," Professor
Gentile says. "Our studies in the book demonstrate that clearly. The clearest is
the longitudinal study, which shows that children who played more violent games
early in a school year had actually changed to become more aggressive by late
in the school year, as noticed by their peers and teachers."
There are five main short-term effects of violent games on children, he says.
"They increase arousal, increase aggressive thoughts, increase aggressive
feelings, increase aggressive behaviours and decrease pro-social behaviours. In
the long term, we see increases in aggressive thoughts and behaviours, and also
Children can discriminate fantasy from reality but that does not inoculate them
from the effects of violent media, he says.
"All adults know advertisements are fake, yet they still work on us." Parents must
"realise that both the amount of game play and content of game play matter and
set limits on both".
He says the educational possibilities of non-violent games also need to be
explored. "Although games have been demonstrated to be effective, I don't think
we've either begun to really tap their potential.Until we do those two things, they
will be used haphazardly in schools and will fail to live up to their potential."