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Games Science

Don't Study the Video Game, Study the Gamer 163

rrossman2 writes with this quote from a USA Today article about research recently presented to the American Psychological Association: "Video games — especially violent ones — are constantly under scrutiny from parents concerned about negative effects. Now, research suggests that those worries should focus more on the player's personality rather than the content of the games. 'If you're worried about a video game turning your son or daughter into a killer, don't worry about that,' says psychologist Patrick Markey of Villanova (Pa.) University. 'But is your kid moody, impulsive, or are they unfriendly? It's probably not the best idea to have that child play violent video games.' ... Markey found slight increases in hostility for those with certain personality traits: extremely high on neuroticism and extremely low on agreeableness and conscientiousness. ... 'We found — irrespective of violent content — the two highly competitive games produced more aggressive behavior than the two less competitive games,' [Markey said.]"
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Don't Study the Video Game, Study the Gamer

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  • by dintech ( 998802 ) on Friday September 16, 2011 @07:14AM (#37418400)

    Tetris isn't very violent. But anyway, you're doing the right thing. I don't think it's useful for kids to grow up in an environment with zero exposure to violence. Kids that are over-protected can be just as maladjusted as the ones that get no adult supervision at all.

    Pacifist Protester: Name one situation where violence is the answer!?
    Ali G: A violent situation.

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday September 16, 2011 @07:46AM (#37418550) Homepage

    I once went to the house of a teacher at the school where I worked, to do an IT job for them. Their child (7/8 years old) was home and playing on the console while I sat at the PC.

    It wasn't until *I* mentioned it that she realised that the South Park videogame they were playing lets you launch dildos at the other players. At first, she thought I was joking, then she thought it was just us mis-interpreting it, then she read the instruction manual.

    Then she started to actually WATCH South Park with her child and realised that it wasn't just a cartoon for kids. Bear in mind that she would spend every working day herding children and making sure they didn't say anything untoward, or see anything they shouldn't, and she hadn't noticed even though she'd bought the games the kids asked for after seeing the cartoon on TV and they'd been playing them for months.

    A lot of parents are fecking idiots. Sure there are some that are deliberately liberal and accommodating, but there are a lot that just don't care / know what their kids are doing. And, no, a violent video game, or even a sexually explicit one, isn't going to harm your child. But the lack of parenting that can result in them doing those things you never realised were available to them can and will harm your child.

    That's where the link is - not the games making your child violent or unsociable - its the laxity of parenting that can often result in both things appearing at once. If you're really just buying games for your kids with no question of their content despite their age ratings, that's a parenting problem.

    But hell, when I was younger I would watch 18-rated films with my parents - they were never "scary" because it was only a film (i.e. not real life) but it's only my upbringing that taught me that, and when I was that young my parents would *know* what I was watching because they'd have seen it first or had a rough idea of the content of it before they watched it with me.

    Game ratings are as useless as film ratings. They only work if the parent is so lazy that they rely on them exclusively. If they are just a lazy parent, they won't even bother to check the age. If your parent knows what they are doing, the age-rating is neither here nor there - they will decide whether or not you get to watch it and not have to read a box on the back of the DVD case, and 99.9% of the time will let you watch it when you are younger than it says.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with a well-brought-up child of 11 playing an 18-rated game, or watching an 18-rated movie. So long as they are mature enough to handle it and you KNOW that's what they are doing.

    The worst of modern diseases is having no idea what your kids are doing, and not caring even when you do. I bet a lot of those parents that whine about their children becoming violent after playing GrandTheftAuto never bother to mention that their kids were allowed out until all-hours anyway, that they never knew where they were, that they didn't know where the games (or the money to buy them) came from, etc. that the kid has all the latest games consoles but plays in no team sports, etc.

    Today, other people are the perfect targets to play for YOUR bad parenting. If you tell your kid to be home at 8, they are home at 8. There is no "but what if" they don't turn up. They *WILL* be home at 8. It's very simple. But nobody bothers to enforce the little things until the big things have already bred in habits.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein