European Parliament Study Finds Video Games Are Good For Kids

from the put-away-your-moral-panic dept

For the past decade or so, the press and certain politicians have been somewhat successful in building a moral panic about video games and the supposed harm they do to children. The problem is that there's almost no evidence that this is true -- and almost all of the evidence that claims this is true doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Often, the moral panic-inducing results are actually either the researcher or (more likely) the press coming up with a conclusion that does not match with the actual study results.

However, in just the last year, we've finally been seeing prominent researchers and politicians start to push back on this notion of video games causing harm. Last year, two Harvard professors came out with a book reviewing all of the research and adding some of their own, all of which showed no evidence that video games made kids violent (in fact, it found that it was the kids who didn't participate in video games that you should be worried about.

Perhaps even more surprising, though, is that some politicians are now pushing back, as well. A study done in the EU Parliament is now noting that video games are actually good for kids, noting that they can help "stimulate learning of facts and skills such as strategic thinking, creativity, cooperation and innovative thinking, which are important skills in the information society." The report does, unfortunately, still claim that in some cases violent video games may stimulate violence (though, without much proof), but it's still surprising to see a political report on video games that sees them as being useful.


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  1.  
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    Michael Smith, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 5:51pm

    How valid is this report?

    I'm confused. If we are to devalue a part of the study showing the possible correlation between violent games and actual violence due to a lack of proof, should we not assume the entire report followed those same mistakes?

    If the report is accurate, I'm comfortable accepting reality, if that is the case. It would not be a leap of logic to assume violence, through any format, would stimulate at least some violence. The difference lies in proper parenting and communication.

    I am, however, encouraged to see pushback on such an official and political level.

     

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  2.  
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    Simon, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 6:25pm

    ?If Video Games Are Actually Good For My Kids Then Why Are They Given A Rating?

    So am I to conclude that violent video games are going to be good for my kids? Sounds to me like someone has been very selective in their use of data.
    As to the observations about non-participants, the conclusions drawn about the need to be worried about this group of kids can be applied generally right across every social activity in society, not just to kids who fail to participate in playing video games.
    From personal observations amongst kids I feel you see a polarization of character development, some kids become more anti-social, others become more cooperative due to increased social networking etc.
    Given the increased expression of extreme violence amongst kids these days I fail to see how video games can be a solely positive influence on their growth and development.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 6:51pm

    Its the work of the devil

    Just like rock and roll.
    It will only lead to damnation and depavity.
    It should be banned along with dancing and singing.
    You are all sinnerz

     

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  4.  
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    Danielle, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    Video Games

    Yippee! At last a study that shows I'm not an idiot after all those years spent on my Sega as a child. My kids now enjoy the Nintendo wii and it provided great family time together... yes we all shoot Zombies as a family and are proud of it!

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Its the work of the devil

    That's why BYU said video games were bad, very bad for you.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090124/1312413519.shtml

    Morons

     

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  6.  
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    DracoJJ, Feb 20th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Common sense

    I would hope most people would use common sense as to what games a child should be playing or not be playing. Younger children shouldn't be exposed to a game like F.E.A.R because of its extremely violent scenes, but there is nothing wrong with a child playing a game like, Leap Frog Reader, or Math Blaster, which are in fact designed to help teach children better learning skills.

    As a kid gets older and more understanding on how the world works why not allow them to play more broad games, again though keeping them away form the very violent games, but not being to strict on the games that the child can play.

    and as the child hits teen they should be able to tell the difference between reality and fiction, and if necessary you should sit your child down and explain to them the difference so that they can play the slightly more violent games and not be in any danger.

    and of course finally once the child reaches the ages of 17 or 18 then obviously they should be allowed to make their own decisions on the games they play, I would even say a 16 year old or 15 could as well. That particular age group has reasoning abilities far better than a younger child and can use their moral standards that you have set for them to understand that these games are just for fun and nothing more.

     

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    Mitchel, Mar 7th, 2009 @ 7:03am

    Re: Its the work of the devil

    I hope that guys being arcastic or els, sereusly man, you don't call it a sin unless its doing something wrong.

     

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  8.  
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    devin, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    lol hate it but get an A!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 11:54am

    I agree, games are the best. There is one thing though... WOW maniacs... They are not normal. It's not normal to spend an entire day/week/month running between two 'cities' carrying the same items every time. That's retarded. Quit WOW and start playing free games.

     

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