GTA and Other Violent Games “Therapeutic” For Some Kids

Anyone who’s been part of the gaming community for any length of time won’t be a stranger to the argument against video games—they make kids violent, cause shootings, cause anti-social behaviour, and so on. There’s been a constant battle back and forth with studies that contradict each other, and no one on either side of the argument ever seems satisfied.

There’s been yet another study released about gaming and its effects, and this particular study—conducted by a team at Stetson University, Florida—looked at 377 children with an average age of 13 and who suffered from some variety of ADHD or depressive disorder.

The study wanted to see if violent video games would make these children, considered more susceptible to mood shifts, more aggressive or angry. However, the researchers found absolutely no evidence to suggest that is the case—there was no “negative effect upon their personality.”

Clinical psychologist Dr. Ferguson and his team’s results are now calling for a new way of thinking about gaming and how children’s behaviour is or isn’t affected by video games considered to be violent: “…no evidence that violent video games increase bullying or delinquent behaviour among vulnerable youth with clinically elevated mental health symptoms.”

Rather, in some cases, the researchers discovered that playing the violent video games was “cathartic,” actually working in reverse to reduce aggression and aggressive tendencies. These results are consistent with another report that was just released in the Springer’s Journal of Youth and Adolescence, conducted by the American Secret Service, that instead links aggressive child and youth behaviour with youth violence.

As for the extreme cases, such as the Sandy Hook incident, Dr. Ferguson said “statistically speaking, it would actually be more unusual if a youth delinquent or shooter did not play violent video games, given that the majority of youth and young men play such games at least occasionally.”

An interesting perspective, to be sure.


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Author: Micah View all posts by
Micah has been playing games since his first pong machine, and has been writing for as long as he could grip a pencil and not drool on the paper. So, for about a week.

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