Study Of 11K Children: Video Games Probably Don't Alter Behavior

from the welcome-results dept

As humanity continues to grapple with the question of how video games impact behavior in children, we find ourselves with no shortage of studies. From the Macbeth Effect, to the studies themselves causing aggression, to studies directly looking at a potential link between violent games and real-life violence, we have plenty of data points, yet the results tend to range from ambiguous to non-existent. That tends to be a problem for everyone involved, because it creates an intelligence vacuum ripe to be filled with supposition and grand-standing. What we really need is more studies of a longer nature and with a greater sample size that go further in demonstrating a concrete answer.

Here to provide a study of a longer nature and with a greater sample size to demonstrate a concrete answer is the University of Glasgow, who used Great Britain's enormous ten-year Millenium Cohort Study to study the link or absence of a link between playing video games and real-life behavior. Their findings were a resounding affirmation for all of us who believe in common sense.

TV is generally thought of as more harmless than video games when it comes to the emotional health of kids but the Glasgow study found that "watching TV for 3 h or more daily at 5 years predicted increasing conduct problems between the ages of 5 years and 7 years." No corollary effect was found with video games, likely because parents are more likely to monitor or regulate video game screen time than TV screen time.
This indicates a couple of things. First, parents are likely way too wary of video games compared to television. And second, while one might suggest that the vigilance shown to games by parents is a mitigating factor, the fact remains that the study showed a minor correlation in television and none in games. So, whatever your quibbles, the practical reality of video games in society is one that has no discernible effect on child behavior.

That said, because this is science, we wouldn't want to suggest that this ends the debate entirely.
As with any study, there are caveats. This isn't a be-all, end-all set of findings. The authors themselves say that "the study highlights the need for more detailed data to explore risks of various forms of screen time, including exposure to screen violence." Nevertheless, given the breadth of data drawn from 10 years and more than 10,000 participants, this could be an important cornerstone for future research and conversations about how video games do—or do not—affect behavior.
In other words, also because this is science, it should be noted that it is incumbent upon those claiming there is a link to show their evidence for that position. Studies like this are going to be a problem for that side of the debate moving forward. While it may be very hard to prove a negative, it's not as difficult to show a void of evidence for the position that behavior and video games are linked.



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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 9:39am

    I grew up on Mortal Kombat and and contrary to popular belief I do not go around like a maniac screaming "GET OVER HERE" before I spear them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    the behavior that is changed is that of politicians! it turns them from being reasonably rational people into even bigger idiots than when they first became politicians!!

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 20th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    Wonder will this make a blind bit of difference to politicians. I very greatly doubt it. After all, the entertainment industries ignore study after study debunking their propaganda.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Yes, "probably" is "resounding affirmation" for the brain-damaged.

    No confirmation bias here. Studies are NOT "science", Timmy.

    Nor is there any link between heavy metal music and violence. Or war and later violence, as returning veterans are often pacifists.

    But "studies" by academic weenies won't find a link between war and violence unless that's the desired result.

    Nonetheless, violence gets done where wanted, and watching it in any form can't be good.

    And of course you kids want to believe that doesn't do YOU any harm. -- "I've never killed anyone, therefore violent video games aren't harmful." -- But the increasing levels of violence in what used to be civil society -- cops beating up kids for instance -- show correlation.

    These "studies" give Timmy something to write about that confirms the silly kids in their trivial habits and gins up page views, and that's the important thing.

    Never mind such alarming trends as:

    Police: Examples Of Troubling ‘Knockout’ Game Popping Up All Over
    Recent Attacks Have Targeted Brooklyn Jews; 78-Year-Old Woman Latest Victim

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/11/19/police-examples-of-troubling-knockout-game-popping-up-a ll-over/

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 10:23am

      Re: Yes, "probably" is "resounding affirmation" for the brain-damaged.

      Nonetheless, violence gets done where wanted, and watching it in any form can't be good.


      Except, you know, if it stops people from committing crimes. Which is actually what the evidence shows.

      But the increasing levels of violence in what used to be civil society -- cops beating up kids for instance -- show correlation.

      If you want correlation, you've got correlation:

      http://www.rightoncrime.com/2012/10/crime-and-victimization-rates-are-our-streets-still- safe/

      The rate of violent crime has dropped 72 percent in the past 20 years.

      So the data proves you wrong. Will you admit to being totally wrong? We wait and see...

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 20th, 2013 @ 10:28am

        Re: Re: Yes, "probably" is "resounding affirmation" for the brain-damaged.

        "Will you admit to being totally wrong? We wait and see..."

        I can't think of a more perfectly useless way to spend one's time than waiting for OOTB to acknowledge he's been proven false....

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 3:55pm

        Re: Re: Yes,

        Don't hold your breath. out of the blue was proven wrong on his claims copyright originates with common law yet he still repeated the claim at least twice after.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 2:33pm

      Re: Yes, "probably" is "resounding affirmation" for the brain-damaged.

      We can add "smart people" to the list of things Blue thinks are bad.

       

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      Togashi (profile), Nov 20th, 2013 @ 4:31pm

      Re: Yes, "probably" is "resounding affirmation" for the brain-damaged.

      But the increasing levels of violence in what used to be civil society -- cops beating up kids for instance -- show correlation.
      Irrefutable evidence that time causes violence! Everyone call your senators to outlaw the passage of time!

       

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      PaulT (profile), Nov 21st, 2013 @ 1:28am

      Re: Yes, "probably" is "resounding affirmation" for the brain-damaged.

      "Never mind such alarming trends as:"

      You do realise that the "game" being talked about there has nothing to do with video games, right? You also realise that it's nothing new and has parallels to things that predate the existence of video games, making your attack particularly stupid even by your standards?

      Who am I kidding? You're neither intelligent nor honest enough to realise this.

      "But "studies" by academic weenies won't find a link between war and violence unless that's the desired result."

      Ignoring your childish namecalling of anyone who actually wants to study these things scientifically (I know you just "know" there's a link, who needs facts, right?), here's a few studies that show just that. Being honest, objective studies, however, you'll probably find a way to ignore them and attack the people who conducted the studies. A shame, since if anyone displays a need for help from such people, it's definitely you.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/veterans-ptsd-crime-report_n_1951338.html

      http://www.res earch.va.gov/currents/fall2013/fall2013-5.cfm#.Uo3RNcRyEXs

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21790348

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 10:19am

    Mere facts to be dismissed.

    "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." - Albert Einstein

    No (in)competent politician allows facts to get in the way of a good moral panic. And these are just silly facts from some silly study since it wasn't funded by anyone important (like their campaign contributors or corporate owners)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Um, how can that be?

    Violence and aggression aside for the moment: Games teach, gamers learn, learning influences and alters behavior and the brain.

     

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      James Burkhardt (profile), Nov 20th, 2013 @ 7:29pm

      Re: Um, how can that be?

      Because you mistake the visuals to the what the brain learns. The brain learns and trains pattern recognition, hand eye coordination, and desicion making skills, not how to shoot. not that violence is good. but more basic, more applicable skills.

       

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    Wally (profile), Nov 20th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

    I do reccommend they study children between the ages of 5 through 7. Restricting technology to a time limit might actually be healthy from what I've seen from a few clients of mine.

     

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    Comprehensive Dental, Nov 21st, 2013 @ 3:15pm

    Great

    It's good to see confirmation of common sense issues. While it's obvious that we should monitor what our children are playing, it's also relatively obvious to me that there isn't a huge correlation between video games and violence. Video games can be great tools to increase spatial awareness and environmental intake, as well as increased reaction speed and cognitive processing.

     

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