Tuesday, September 06, 2005

From Video Violence to Real World Violence: Just a Small Step

These important items come from the Howard Center...

Item One: "Based on an examination of the research that shows the negative influences of violence in interactive media on youth, the American Psychological Association (APA) today adopted a resolution recommending that all violence be reduced in video games and interactive media marketed to children and youth. Additionally, the APA also encourages parents, educators and health care providers to help youth make more informed choices about which games to play.

...Research on media violence also revealed, that perpetrators go unpunished 73 percent of the time in all violent scenes. 'Showing violent acts without consequences teach youth that violence is an effective means of resolving conflict. Whereas, seeing pain and suffering as a consequence can inhibit aggressive behavior', says psychologist Elizabeth Carll, PhD, co-chair of the Committee on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media."

(Source: "APA Calls for Reduction of Violence in Interactive Media used by Children and Adolescents," American Psychological Association Press Release, August 17, 2005; http://ww.apa.org/releases/videoviolence05.html )

Item Two: "[V]ideo games differ from more passive mediums, such as comic books, in one important way. 'They are interactive, [Kimberly Thompson] said. 'When you play a video game you get feedback, you're rewarded.' In fact, her investigation into a wide range of popular, teen-rated games found that 'players were being rewarded for committing acts of violence. So basically, violence becomes just a part of how you move on in the game.'

Parents who are concerned that their child is spending too much time staring into a video game screen do have options, [Kevin] Kieffer said.
'Parents need to go out of their way to involve youth in other activities,' said Kieffer, who is also a counseling psychologist. Too often, he said, parents use gaming as a way of keeping kids occupied. 'It's easy to say "I'm going to plug you into your Gameboy or video game player -- go have a good time for a couple of hours so I can do what I need to do."'

...'The real issue is to set up a relationship with your children, a relationship where you can fully discuss these issues,' Kieffer said. 'It all boils down to communication, which a lot of families lack these days.'
'We do know that when it comes to kids and games, learning happens,' Thompson said. 'So you really have to ask, just what is it they are learning?'"

(Source: E.J. Mundell, "Violent Video Games Spur Aggression in Kids," HealthDay, August 19, 2005; http://health.myway.com/art/id/527504.html )