Big in Japan: Do video games make kids aggressive?

Disclaimer: I grew up playing horrifically violent video games such Mortal Kombat and Doom, and I certainly turned out fine (at least I think so!). On that note, today’s column is all about whether or not violent video games make kids aggressive…

I’m certainly not one of those archconservative types who thinks that Grand Theft Auto is the harbinger of the apocalypse, and that the Nintendo Wii remote is too phallic for young girls to play with.

Feel free to disagree with me, but I really believe that it’s the job of parents and not Playstation to raise the next generation, which is why I’m hesitant to wag my finger at the video game manufacturers for the increasingly violent content in video games.

Furthermore, everything in my opinion is alright in moderation, and so long as children are taught the difference between real and virtual, a few splashes of blood across the hi-def TV screen really isn’t all that bad.

Of course, there are people who disagree with me, and they’ve got a few things that I don’t have, namely doctorate degrees!

Keep reading as you might be surprised by what you learn…

According to a new study sponsored by Iowa State University’s Center for the Study of Violence, both American and Japanese kids became more aggressive after playing video games over a period of 3-6 months. Specifically, it was found that exposure to violent video games was a causal risk factor for aggression and violence.

According to Dr. Anderson: “Basically what we found was that…a lot of violent video game play early in a school year leads to higher levels of aggression during the school year…”

The study has drawn its fair share of international spotlight, especially given that Anderson has recently started to collaborate with a number of prominent Japanese research bodies. Anderson is of the belief that Japan’s cultural differences with the U.S. make it attractive for the comparison studies.

Dr. Anderson explains: “The culture is so different and their overall violence rate is so much lower than in the U.S. The argument has been made…that all our research on violent video game effects must be wrong because Japanese kids play a lot of violent video games and Japan has a low violence rate.”

He continues: “Is it the case that Japanese kids are totally unaffected by playing violent video games?’ [They] aren’t. They’re affected pretty much the same way American kids are.”

Once again, it’s worth emphasizing that violent video games are not the sole cause of dysfunctional behavior in kids, and that ultimately, good parenting can make all the difference in a child’s self-actualization.

However, these recent studies do suggest that violent games are a part of the puzzle in understanding rising rates of aggression in both America and Japan.

What do you think? Feel free to chime in on this highly controversial but equally fascinating topic.

** All images are copyrighted by Rockstar Games, and are presented here for the purposes of product identification and critical commentary. They were sourced from the WikiCommons Media Project **