Turns Out It's The Kids Who Don't Play Video Games Who Are Most At Risk

from the well,-look-at-that dept

Time and time again we see headlines blaring out about how dangerous violent video games are, with politicians insisting they need to do something to "protect the children." However, every time you look closely at the research, you discover there's no real evidence that violent video games lead to violent behavior. At best, the research appears to show that violent video games makes kids emotional and excited (which... er... is what they're supposed to do) and that might lead to very slightly more aggressive behavior for a very short time. And, of course, the most damning evidence against the claim that violent video games leads to more violence is that violent crimes keep dropping as violent video games get more popular. Video gaming site Kotaku is highlighting a video interview of two Harvard professors who have written a book called Grand Theft Childhood that reviews plenty of the previously done research, as well as contributes additional research. Most of their findings support exactly what we've noticed. The previous studies don't really show an impact. But, the most interesting point is made towards the end of the video interview. In looking at boys who are more "at risk" of getting into trouble, it's the ones who don't play video games at all who show a statistically significant greater likelihood of getting into trouble, suggesting that playing video games is part of a boy's normal social setting. To be fair, the study also found that kids who played almost exclusively violent or mature video games for very long periods of time were also more at risk -- though, with no evidence of causality.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 12:15pm

    I've been playing video games since before the Atari 2600 became a hit and I've never attacked or killed anyone. Personally I prefer science fiction themed games, but I did enjoy the two Max Payne games as well as the original Soldier of Fortune. SoF was full of cartoon style violence like people being blown to pieces with shotguns, so it can't exactly be called realistic. I do recommend the Max Payne games though. They were both very well done with great atmosphere (especially the first one) and just the right amount of occasional humor.

    To be perfectly honest, I'm more likely to become temporarily aggressive after playing a game with lousy controls or unfair odds, than I am from playing one where I gun people down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Matt Bennett, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    I personally find it much more likely that violent individuals play the exclusively violent video games, than the idea that violent video games causes violent behavior.

    The fact of that matter is that I have a little bit of an anger management problem, and if I'm having a bad day, a half-hour blowing people up online significantly calms me down, and makes it a little easier on those around me.

     

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  3.  
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    Luke, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 12:33pm

    Need to shoot people

    Some times it's very cathartic to shoot a couple of people with a high powered weapon and watch them splatter. I can either do it in a video game or on the street...you pick.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Overcast, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 1:05pm

    I've been playing video games since before the Atari 2600 became a hit and I've never attacked or killed anyone.

    Likewise..

    I learned DOS inside and out from getting old games to work on conventional memory.. :O

    Then I learned windows 3.11 to better organize it all and such.

    Then I learned Networking playing Warcraft 1, Doom, etc.

    And now... I make a living on computers. And not too shabby, I must say.

    I personally find it much more likely that violent individuals play the exclusively violent video games, than the idea that violent video games causes violent behavior.

    And actually - you bring up an interesting point - I wonder what most 'real' criminals, who also happen to be into games play? I mean - you might hear the media go on about how they found GTA installed on his PC - but it's on mine too, and I haven't played it for sometime.

    I know a lot of people who play GTA - and 95% of them are FAR more balanced than people I've ran into when checking out Second Life....

    lol

     

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  5.  
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    Overcast, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 1:07pm

     

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  6.  
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    BlowURmindBowel, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 1:26pm

    Hooray for G4!!!

    Thanks Adam, oh, and Mike.

    I always enjoy seeing G4 improve the caliber of their reporting. I think that if they continue in this direction they could be a quasi-serious niche news outlet by, say 2035...

    No, I kid, I don't know that I would ever want G4, AoTS, Xplay to get too serious. But I do love to see that they are capable of covering the occasional serious topic in a fitting way.

     

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  7.  
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    Bang Bang, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    The article specifically mentions "boys".. I wonder if the study was broad enough to differentiate between genders.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Boca, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Need to shoot people

    I could of written the same post word for word, that is exactly how I got into becoming a network systems engineer, by playing video games, or better said, learning how to configure a computer to play them!

     

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  9.  
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    HEHA, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 1:36pm

    Chunky vs. Healthy

    I wonder if their investigation checked the difference in obesity rates between the two groups, or likeliness of becoming and staying an adult virgin or "Mall Ninja". Perhaps have each group list friends and then ask them if they have ever actually met the people face to face or do they only know them by there "handle or screen name"

     

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  10.  
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    Jimmy, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    Damn kids....

    I blame the internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    F-L-A, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 1:57pm

    Should Be Obvious

    Could the reason that boys who don't play video games are more at risk of getting into trouble be that they aren't zoned out in front of a tv indoors all day?

    I grew up in the 80's and 90's as video game systems really came into their own and it became more popular to spend your entire weekends gaming. So I have memories of times when video game systems were not nearly advanced enough to entertain us for hours on end. And you know what? I was always more at risk of getting into trouble in the earlier days.

    Why? Because I wasn't a zombie in front of a screen. I had to get outside of the house, meet other kids, make up games, make up our own fun, explore the world (or neighborhood rather), discover new things, etc. All of that adds up to a much higher risk of getting into trouble, especially if you live in rough neighborhoods.

    Also, the discussion of these results is somewhat misleading. The proposal was to analyze the possibility of a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior. That is quite different from violent video games to "more at risk of getting into trouble".

     

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  12.  
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    ocdude, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Should Be Obvious

    I think that they are defining trouble as having problems at school or socializing with other kids their age, not as in Dennis the Menace type trouble, which you seem to be describing.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 3:02pm

    anyone want to head down to the park for some 3 flies up or something?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    wifezilla, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 4:30pm

    Girl Power!

    When I started playing video games, it was pong at the bowling alley. Next, it was Death Race and Asteroid at the arcade. After that, tank battles and space invaders on the Atari.

    I have since owned every Nintendo system, a Sega, and even Xbox. My favorite games had their share of violence....Conker's Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark, Halo II, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Brothers, etc... I also played several PC games, Marathon, Diablo II (LOD) and Starcraft in particular.

    Despite the impressive body count I have managed to pile up over the years, I have yet to be arrested for murder. And somehow I made it to age 44 without hacking cows apart with a battle ax, disemboweling anything, or taking over the planet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Tam, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Need to shoot people

    If you feel the need to shoot people on a silly screen, you have too much time on your hands. Why don't you find a more constructive hobby than splattering people through a game. And, for you to make a ridiculous remark about letting us pick, how about you get a brain and find better things to do with your time.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Tex Murphy, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 4:43pm

    My gun....

    I LOVE IT SOOOO MUCH!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Just to spite my face, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 5:05pm

    Cut off my nose...

    Violent - Control freak parents who bully kids into their 'standards'... well, never mind, let's just say, like father, like son. And maybe the idea, created by whatever medium, whether experienced directly or through word of mouth, has a profound effect on the individual with pent up anger towards whom ever may oppress or seemingly oppress that sheltered or seemingly 'deprived' individual. This is the very reason that the 'traditionalist' societies such as the Amish and Mennonite people push their children to some degree of wickedness at the onset of carnal knowledge and human curiosity, so that they are not resentful of the holistic and pure lifestyles they are born into and encouraged and given the opportunity (not forced) to achieve.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 6:56pm

    I sounds like people are separating violence from reality when they find it more and more in virtual worlds instead of the real world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Chris Barnes, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 3:37am

    Re: Re: Need to shoot people

    It's not a "need" to shoot people, or a lack of time, or even a hobby. It's a social experience, and a need to relieve stress, and playing a first person shooter happens to be incredibly good at stress relief. Intentionally making time in my busy schedule for gaming is the only reason I stay as happy and sedate as I am.

    It's a really calming and fun experience, while being just stimulating enough not to put me to sleep.

    How many games have you played? How many shooters? If you've ever gotten good at one, then you know how fun it can be, and how soothing it is after a hectic day at work, or a stressful drive home. If you take the stress of rush hour and the pent-up anger at the other drivers out in a game, instead of keeping it holed-up and spilling out into the rest of your evening, then overall you'll feel much better.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Strifejester, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 8:14am

    Lets not forget hand eye coordination

    The other thing i love about articles like these is the other great fact... Video games improves hand eye coordination. Systems like the wii will only add to this. I play a lot of games and spend a lot of money on them but i also play softball in the summer, i snowboard in the winter and in my day to day life i manage an enterprise network. Here comes the final blow and open the flame war. ITS ALL THE PARENTS... plain and simple a shitty childhood creates a shitty adult. My parents were never rich and we went without a lot of things but i turned out fine and its becuase of the family life i had.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymus, Apr 27th, 2008 @ 1:00pm

    Wake Up

    Are you serious? You think violent video games, does not make you a more violent person. First of all, after engaging yourself into a digital violent environment for some hours you yourself are turning more violent and aggressive yourself. Your constantly shooting guns, killing, running from the law, and laundering money. Are you serious. Can you not see that games like GTA are the main cause for todays violent youth. Maybe it's because in these games you run the streets and kill throughout the whole game. I cant believe that you understand, killing some one in a digital video game puts an image of killing someone in real life into your head. What drives you to shoot that civilian in the game. Is it because it's just a video game? It's only in real life dont when you have to deal with the outcomes of your actions. If you do not notice the growing number of high school shooting, the increase in sales in violent video games, and can not connect the two into the cause, then their is no hope for you. I can not believe you can't find anything better to do with your time, then pretend play gangster. Why don't you play a game like Skate, or Fifa, or other sports games. You don't blow each other up. It's healthy brain activity if you do not like violence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 27th, 2008 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Wake Up

    Are you serious? You think violent video games, does not make you a more violent person.

    Perhaps you didn't read carefully. It's not about "thinking" it's about the actual evidence, which shows that no, violent video games *do not* make you more violent.

    First of all, after engaging yourself into a digital violent environment for some hours you yourself are turning more violent and aggressive yourself.

    Again, the evidence does not show this. You claim it, but the research shows otherwise.

    Your constantly shooting guns, killing, running from the law, and laundering money. Are you serious. Can you not see that games like GTA are the main cause for todays violent youth.

    Yes, I cannot see that GTA are the main cause of youth violence today, because the scientific evidence shows otherwise. As the sales of GTA have grown, youth violence has dropped.

    If you do not notice the growing number of high school shooting, the increase in sales in violent video games, and can not connect the two into the cause, then their is no hope for you.

    Again, despite your claims, there is no connection. The amount of youth violence has been *decreasing* despite your claims. No school shooting has been found to have been a result of violent video games.

    You are seeing connections where none exist.

    Again, if you have scientific evidence, that's one thing, but you do not.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Sam, May 9th, 2008 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Wake Up

    It's ridiculous to assume that games like GTA cause these sorts of crimes. Car jacking, stealing and murdering have been around, and have been on the rise for much longer than GTA has been around, and even longer than video games themselves have been around. The minute I turn off that game, that's it, I'm done. And, quite frankly, I'm tired of people thinking that I'm some lunatic murderer or a pathetic shut-in just because I enjoy a certain form of entertainment. As for the games making kids violent, did playing cops and robbers when you were little ever make you want to rob a bank and shoot at cops? Sure kids shouldn't play GTA because of the subject matter, but you seem to be suggesting that adults might pick up a gun and rob some one just 'cause of a game. Anyone above the age of five who is that impressionable is probably mentally sick to begin with. And anyway, I've met kids who weren't allowed to play video games, kids from a "good christian" family, and they were frightening. The second their parent aren't around they belittle, bully and attack each other.

    And I wish people would stop bringing up Columbine and school shootings. Yes, these instances are tragic and my heart goes out to the victims, but come on. At least 50% of the child population (probably closer to 90%) plays video games, and yet school shootings are still rare enough that they make major news stories. If these games are training violent killers, don't you think there'd be a whole lot more killing? Isn't it possible that these kids, who were violent and unstable, bought these games solely because they were violent? Maybe violent video games don't create violent criminals. Maybe people prone to violence are attracted to violent video games. There's no direct correlation there. Just because A and B both occur doesn't mean that A caused B.

    Um. Sorry for the rant, I just have been reading a lot of video games = violence articles for a Soc. class. I haven't been able to play in awhile due to all the junk I've had due so, you know, nothing to get rid of stress or tension. 'Cause blowing the hell out of a zombie's brains are a whole lot more relieving then punching a pillow (which is a violent act that therapists actually suggest, by the way).

    Actually, that felt pretty good!

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    I want to Know, May 13th, 2008 @ 8:09am

    the brain

    I know about the violence but I wonder if playing games with
    story has any effect on a childs creativity
    please respond

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2008 @ 5:37am

    Re: Damn kids....

    I blame the parents

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2008 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Wake Up

    If you do not notice the growing number of high school shooting, the increase in sales in violent video games, and can not connect the two into the cause, then their is no hope for you.

    Again, despite your claims, there is no connection. The amount of youth violence has been *decreasing* despite your claims. No school shooting has been found to have been a result of violent video games.


    Actually, high school shootings have been on the decrease since around 1980, which is right around the time of the NES's release. They just get more coverage now. Video games are just our generations scapegoat. It was once television, before that it was pen and paper games like D&D, before that it was rock music, before that it was cinema... The industrial revolution kicked it off because technology started increasing at an ever quicker rate, and the technophobes couldn't handle it. The next target seems to be the internet, I'm sure everyone's seen the reports on the news about kids getting made fun of online and killing themselves.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    bibblles, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 8:51pm

    Cool, good to see someone on our side. But really, its nice to see a real good and well done study on the subject.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Ben, Dec 27th, 2008 @ 8:20am

    video games

    Kids should play video games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Deseray, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 3:22pm

    Helpful

    My Health Teacher accually had just made us go find information on stress increase due to violent video games.
    This eb site really helped me out. But I gotta say, from my life experience I am okay, on the other hand since my brother, age 10, got his x-box 360 he plays none stop Halo and Call of Duty Four which I play too, but now he daily harrasses girls younger than him and gets call ed down to the office several times a month. I think that the statistics may be right, any suggestions?

     

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  30.  
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    Tony, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Re: Helpful

    Its called puberty

     

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  31.  
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    flavio, Feb 24th, 2009 @ 11:11am

    shut the hell up jackass

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    i love to have sex you little bitches

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    jason freas, Apr 1st, 2009 @ 10:37am

    no one cares f u liketo have sex thats sooooo grose
    my name is jason
    and i am a dike
    i think i look pretty
    i ask boys if they think im pretty and this one kid says yes
    i am BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLLLLL
    oooh and i am a DIKE

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    john doe, Sep 27th, 2009 @ 9:55pm

    Re:

    well to be honest, just because you didn't get more agressive doesn't mean some people won't get more agressive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    wilmer, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Re: video games

    no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2011 @ 10:56pm

    hi

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Defgggdfgg, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 7:49pm

    Sthcttx

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    AntonioGuy, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    I have personally have been given a Playstation 3 for approximately 2 weeks, only accepted the offer for my internet cut out. I played one game continously and that's pretty much it.
    I am only 15, but I do tend to get into trouble. That trend has been decreasing since I was given a laptop when in December 2008 now I'm on all day. Talking about my social life, I was always a little off the track so I dont know if it was from the lack of video games.
    Some people ask why I chose this or how I live with it. I am earnest not to enter the video game world never to know to remain ignorant of the modern staple.
    04/04.11

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    AntonioGuy, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    I have personally have been given a Playstation 3 for approximately 2 weeks, only accepted the offer for my internet cut out. I played one game continously and that's pretty much it.
    I am only 15, but I do tend to get into trouble. That trend has been decreasing since I was given a laptop when in December 2008 now I'm on all day. Talking about my social life, I was always a little off the track so I dont know if it was from the lack of video games.
    Some people ask why I chose this or how I live with it. I am earnest not to enter the video game world never to know to remain ignorant of the modern staple.
    04/04.11

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2011 @ 9:15am

    Re: Chunky vs. Healthy

    WHAT YOU MAKE NO CENC

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    caleb, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    playing video games

    many people think that if you sit around all day playing video games eating junk food that you will get fat well that very true but most of the population that uses xboxs play stations etc arent like for one me and all of y buddies all play halo call of duty etc. and we are nothing even close to over wait also when playing games for kinect it provides fitness and helps the brain and the body be moving around and thinking about the game. Another way of thinking is when it is rainy outside and cold with lightining its a great time for video games and the next day go outside and through a baseball areound. My opinion on voilent games producing aggressive actions is ridicules if you look up past interview or report of motives of killings its never. I played halo liked killing people so i killed i a real person. Its always i hated this person or there was abuse as a child

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    caleb, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    playing video games

    many people think that if you sit around all day playing video games eating junk food that you will get fat well that very true but most of the population that uses xboxs play stations etc arent like for one me and all of y buddies all play halo call of duty etc. and we are nothing even close to over wait also when playing games for kinect it provides fitness and helps the brain and the body be moving around and thinking about the game. Another way of thinking is when it is rainy outside and cold with lightining its a great time for video games and the next day go outside and through a baseball areound. My opinion on voilent games producing aggressive actions is ridicules if you look up past interview or report of motives of killings its never. I played halo liked killing people so i killed i a real person. Its always i hated this person or there was abuse as a child

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    caleb, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    playing video games

    many people think that if you sit around all day playing video games eating junk food that you will get fat well that very true but most of the population that uses xboxs play stations etc arent like for one me and all of y buddies all play halo call of duty etc. and we are nothing even close to over wait also when playing games for kinect it provides fitness and helps the brain and the body be moving around and thinking about the game. Another way of thinking is when it is rainy outside and cold with lightining its a great time for video games and the next day go outside and through a baseball areound. My opinion on voilent games producing aggressive actions is ridicules if you look up past interview or report of motives of killings its never. I played halo liked killing people so i killed i a real person. Its always i hated this person or there was abuse as a child

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    caleb, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    playing video games

    many people think that if you sit around all day playing video games eating junk food that you will get fat well that very true but most of the population that uses xboxs play stations etc arent like for one me and all of y buddies all play halo call of duty etc. and we are nothing even close to over wait also when playing games for kinect it provides fitness and helps the brain and the body be moving around and thinking about the game. Another way of thinking is when it is rainy outside and cold with lightining its a great time for video games and the next day go outside and through a baseball areound. My opinion on voilent games producing aggressive actions is ridicules if you look up past interview or report of motives of killings its never. I played halo liked killing people so i killed i a real person. Its always i hated this person or there was abuse as a child

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    caleb, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Need to shoot people

    i agree with the let us pick part but when playing a role playing games it almost like reading a book or hear a story and for people that like that its a great use of their time

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Jake, Feb 10th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Need to shoot people

    First of all your comment is just plain stupid.One of my best friends spends at least 1 hour a day playing videogames and "shooting people" on his xbox.As for him getting a brain? He repairs computers! and obviusly you don't need a brain to repair technology

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Best-Games, May 15th, 2012 @ 6:16am

    computer games

    thank you for sharing this article with us.
    Much appreciated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Urban Basketball, Oct 20th, 2012 @ 6:01am

    Video Games

    I think that its much better if parents watch there kids what video game they are playing.Try sports like Urban Basketball

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Angry birds starwars review, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Excellent gaming

    It seems that many parents have forgotten the benefits of gaming, like focus and concentration issues. Gaming can so easily be educational, also like games with maths and words.
    On the other hand, we need to gert them creatve and active too, so they womnt stay in house for hours.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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