There has been long standing debate about the role violent video games play in instances of violence in kids in teens. In fact, it was in 1994 when the Los Angeles Times published a study where kids watched an episode of the Power Rangers, and were then told to go play. The researchers noted that kids who watched the episode were acting out what they saw on the show while out on the playground that day. This led researchers to conclude that watching violence had a direct correlation to performing violent acts.
This study led to many more following over the next several decades, also spurring counterclaims.
Since that landmark Power Ranger study, the sales of violent video games have increased by 204% making it a $13.1 billion industry. If what researchers concluded in 1994 was true, then society would see an increase in violence by the thousands, if not millions. However, research has found that the opposite has been the case.
In fact, it has been found that the instances of violent crimes have fallen 36% since 1994, and murders committed by juveniles acting alone decreased by 76% in the same time period. Also, the number of minor altercations like physical fights in high school decreased by 43%.
To seal the deal, a peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that violent video games allow players to release their stress and anger in productive ways, even leading to less real world aggression. The study found that 61.9% of boys played these games to help them relax; 47.8% said they played because it helped them forget their problems; and 45.4% because it helped them get their anger out.
If Violent Video Games Can’t be Solely Blamed for Violent Acts, Then What Can?
If your child is exhibiting signs of being violent, or has committed violent acts, the following should be considered:
Has your child.
- Been the victim of bullying
- Been victimized by physical abuse and/or sexual abuse
- Used/does use drugs and/or alcohol
- Had exposure to violence in the home and/or community
- Been exposed to stressful family socioeconomic factors (poverty, neglect, marital breakup, single parenting, unemployment)
- Experienced brain damage from head injury
There Are Some Warning Signs to Look For, Including Some of the Following:
- Intense anger
- Frequent loss of temper or outbursts
- Extreme irritability and/or impulsiveness
- Becoming easily frustrated
If you notice that your child or teen is exhibiting violent behavior, seek help from a licensed professional to get him or her on the track toward healing in a healthy and productive way.