APA: Reduce Violence in Games Marketed to Kids

Posted on August 22, 2005

The American Psychological Association (APA) is recommending that violence be reduced in video games marketed to children. The recommendation follows the analysis of 20 years of research that found violent games can have both an immediate and a long-lasting impact on children. Reuters has a news report about the study. A press release on the APA's website explains their recommendation for reducing violence in video games marketed at kids.

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.

Studies on learning also show that active participation may influence learning more than passive observation. "Violence in video games appear to have similar negative effects as viewing violence on TV, but may be more harmful because of the interactive nature of video games," says Dr. Elizabeth Carll, who is a private practitioner in New York and a past president of the Media Division of APA. "Playing video games involves practice, repetition, and being rewarded for numerous acts of violence, which may intensify the learning. This may also result in more realistic experiences which may potentially increase aggressive behavior," added Carll.

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