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Playing the Blame Game: Video Games Pros and Cons

Play­ing the Blame Game
– Video games stand accused of caus­ing obe­si­ty, vio­lence, and lousy grades. But new research paints a sur­pris­ing­ly com­pli­cat­ed and pos­i­tive pic­ture, reports Greater Good Mag­a­zine’s Jere­my Adam Smith.

Cheryl Olson had seen her teenage son play video games. But like many par­ents, she did­n’t know much about them.

Then in 2004 the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice asked Olson and her hus­band, Lawrence Kut­ner, to run a fed­er­al­ly fund­ed study of how video games affect ado­les­cents.

Olson and Kut­ner are the co-founders and direc­tors of the Har­vard Med­ical School’s Cen­ter for Men­tal Health and Media. Olson, a pub­lic health researcher, had stud­ied the effects of media on behav­ior but had nev­er exam­ined video games, either in her research or in her per­son­al life.

And so the first thing she did was watch over the shoul­der of her son, Michael, as he played his video games. Then, two years into her research—which com­bined sur­veys and focus groups of junior high school students—Michael urged her to pick up a joy­stick. “I def­i­nite­ly felt they should be famil­iar with the games if they were doing the research,” says Michael, who was 16 at the time and is now 18.

Olson start­ed with the PC game Max Payne, which, she says, had an “engag­ing film noir-style plot” and “lots of shoot­ing.” Lat­er she moved on to Star Trek: Bridge Com­man­der, which turned out to be more real­is­tic than she expect­ed. “I found it real­ly stress­ful, in my role as the cap­tain, to have the crew mem­bers stand there watch­ing me expec­tant­ly as I tried to fig­ure out the con­trols and give them orders before the ship explod­ed,” she says. With his father, Michael played James Bond games. “He would thor­ough­ly trounce me,” recalls Kut­ner, a psy­chol­o­gist.

Olson and Kutner—who are pub­lish­ing a book based on their research, Grand Theft Child­hood? this spring—were enter­ing a brave new world of play that is closed to many par­ents. For mil­lions of kids and quite a few adults, video games are cen­tral to their play and imag­i­na­tions. Today the Amer­i­can video game indus­try makes almost twice as much as movie the­aters, and con­sumers spent $18.85 bil­lion on video-game hard­ware, soft­ware, and acces­sories in 2007—triple what they spent in 2000. Sev­er­al author­i­ta­tive stud­ies, includ­ing Olson and Kut­ner’s, have found that 70 to 80 per­cent of boys and approx­i­mate­ly 20 per­cent of girls now play video games on an aver­age day.

Their popularity—and the bloody, pyrotech­nic action of some games—have fueled a wide range of fears. Politi­cians, pun­dits, preach­ers, and many par­ents accuse video games of dis­plac­ing more whole­some, tra­di­tion­al forms of play and con­tribut­ing to ills such as child­hood obe­si­ty, poor school grades, and, most of all, kid-on-kid vio­lence. Their fears echo ear­li­er con­cerns about movies, com­ic books, rock and roll, and hip-hop, which all pro­voked oppo­si­tion when they first appeared.

As a result, advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions like Moth­ers Against Videogame Addic­tion and Vio­lence and the Par­ents Tele­vi­sion Coun­cil have pressed for laws lim­it­ing video game vio­lence. Since 2001, fed­er­al judges have reject­ed nine attempts to reg­u­late video games, cit­ing First Amend­ment pro­tec­tion. Cen­sors abroad have had more luck: Last year, both the British Board of Film Clas­si­fi­ca­tion and the Irish Film Cen­sor’s Office banned the game Man­hunt 2 for its “unre­lent­ing focus on stalk­ing and bru­tal slay­ing.”

It is hard to argue that a game like Man­hunt 2 is good for kids. And yet accord­ing to the mar­ket-research orga­ni­za­tion NPD Group, only 16 per­cent of all games sold in 2007 shared Man­hunt 2’s rat­ing of “M” (“Mature”) for vio­lent or sex­u­al con­tent, while 57 per­cent of games sold were rat­ed non­vi­o­lent and safe for chil­dren. Video games today are defined by their diver­si­ty, rang­ing from the inno­cent quests of Don­key Kong to the com­plex strat­e­gy of Civ­i­liza­tion to the amoral bru­tal­i­ty of Grand Theft Auto. Even video games with vio­lence in them—like movies and books with vio­lent content—are not all the same. What’s more, new research shows that indi­vid­u­als expe­ri­ence the vio­lence dif­fer­ent­ly.

Indeed, the more one exam­ines the range of games on the mar­ket today, as well as the con­sid­er­able amount of research devot­ed to study­ing them, the more one real­izes how dif­fi­cult it is to gen­er­al­ize about the games and their effect on kids. “It’s a lot more com­pli­cat­ed than peo­ple think,” says Olson. “We’ve been wor­ried about the wrong things and maybe over­look­ing some more sub­tle things that we might want to give more atten­tion to.” Kut­ner adds, “This is so per­va­sive in our soci­ety that it’s some­thing we need to pay atten­tion to, even if we don’t have kids, because it influ­ences how peo­ple think, just as mass media of all types over the past cou­ple hun­dred years have influ­enced how peo­ple think.”

Play­ing togeth­er

Olson, Kut­ner, and col­leagues ulti­mate­ly ana­lyzed 1,254 junior high school stu­dents, mak­ing their $1.5 mil­lion study the largest and most author­i­ta­tive of its kind. They gave writ­ten sur­veys to the entire stu­dent body at schools across the coun­try and orga­nized in-depth focus groups with kids in the Boston area who had played M‑rated games. In the focus groups, they also talked to about half of the kids’ parents—which, Kut­ner says, revealed that many moms and dads had lit­tle idea of what went on in the games their kids played.

In addi­tion to game-play­ing habits, the researchers looked at the emo­tion­al, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and socioe­co­nom­ic sit­u­a­tions of the kids, try­ing to under­stand which kids were most at risk to engage in vio­lent behav­ior. Their results, which they start­ed to pub­lish last year, chal­lenge many pop­u­lar assump­tions, while also val­i­dat­ing some exist­ing con­cerns and rais­ing a few new ones.

Their study imme­di­ate­ly debunked two myths: that gamers are anti­so­cial, and that the kids who play them are out of shape. For boys espe­cial­ly, they found that today video games are a way to social­ize and con­nect with their friends, and that this bond­ing some­times facil­i­tates, rather than dis­cour­ages, par­tic­i­pa­tion in phys­i­cal play. “Since game play is often a social activ­i­ty for boys, non-par­tic­i­pa­tion could be a mark­er of social dif­fi­cul­ties,” Olson and Kut­ner, along with their Har­vard col­league Eugene V. Beresin, write in last Octo­ber’s issue of the Psy­chi­atric Times. “These boys [who rarely played games with friends] were also more like­ly than oth­ers to report prob­lems such as get­ting into fights.” Olson sug­gests that today’s video games can serve as a source of social pres­tige for oth­er­wise dorky teenage boys, in the same way that sports bol­ster the pop­u­lar­i­ty of ath­let­ic boys. It’s an inver­sion of the old­er con­cern that video game play might cause social iso­la­tion.

And instead of siphon­ing time away from sports and out­door activ­i­ties, Olson and Kut­ner dis­cov­ered that boys who played sports video games were actu­al­ly much more like­ly to play those games in real life. “These are kids who are already into foot­ball or skate­board­ing,” says Kut­ner. In focus groups, the researchers heard that “they will use it as a way of improv­ing their skills, for mas­ter­ing a new move. They’ll per­fect it vir­tu­al­ly, and then go out on the court or the street and try it with a real bas­ket­ball or a real skate­board.”

This find­ing is echoed in anoth­er new study led by Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas, Austin, psy­chol­o­gist Eliz­a­beth A. Van­de­wa­ter. Based on sur­veys of 1,491 kids, Van­de­wa­ter and her col­leagues also found that play­ing video games did­n’t take time away from sports or oth­er active leisure activ­i­ties. And like Olson and Kut­ner’s study, their research dis­cov­ered that game-play­ing and non-gam­ing ado­les­cents spent the same amounts of time with fam­i­ly and friends. More­over, gamers often played with friends and saw it as a way of bond­ing.

But if video games are not dis­plac­ing real-world play and social­iz­ing, then where is the time to play them com­ing from? When the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas researchers com­pared game-play­ing and non-gam­ing ado­les­cents, they found that play­ing games cut into read­ing and home­work. In results pub­lished last year in the jour­nal Archives of Pedi­atric and Ado­les­cent Med­i­cine, they report that “ado­les­cent gamers spent 30 per­cent less time read­ing and 34 per­cent less time doing home­work.” (Depress­ing­ly, even non-gam­ing boys spent only eight min­utes a day with a book.)

Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty psy­chol­o­gist Craig Ander­son, a lead­ing expert on research into video-game vio­lence, says that while video-game play does appear to hurt school per­for­mance, this has lit­tle to do with the con­tent of the games. “The best bet at this point is that it has to do with the amount of time tak­en away from oth­er activ­i­ties that would typ­i­cal­ly improve school per­for­mance,” he says. “It’s no dif­fer­ent from TV: Kids who watch a lot of TV typ­i­cal­ly are not spend­ing it on edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams.”

The bot­tom line, accord­ing to both stud­ies, is that video games become a social, health, and edu­ca­tion­al prob­lem when played to the exclu­sion of oth­er activities—which, Olson points out, can be true of any pas­time, from sports to hang­ing out with friends.

I played games along with oth­er things,” says Olson’s son Michael of his child­hood. “It nev­er real­ly sup­plant­ed any­thing. I was out­side. I was meet­ing with friends, build­ing forts in the back­yard. But every­one else was play­ing the games and that was part of how we played togeth­er.”

Sin­gle-per­son shoot­er

But unlike movies and TV, which are fun­da­men­tal­ly pas­sive view­ing expe­ri­ences, vio­lent video games call for play­ers to active­ly shoot, stab, or blud­geon ene­mies to death. Does research show that these vio­lent games pro­mote bel­liger­ence and blood­shed in the real world?

A movie’s the same, even if you watch it mul­ti­ple times,” Kut­ner points out. “You may get addi­tion­al insights, but it’s the same thing. With video games, you are inter­act­ing with the movie and it changes based on that, and so it’s a dif­fer­ent way of think­ing. In a way, we dimin­ish these pro­grams by call­ing them games. In oth­er con­texts, the same thing would be called a sim­u­la­tion.”

In his 1999 book Stop Teach­ing Our Kids to Kill, Lt. Col. Dave Gross­man, a psy­chol­o­gist and his­to­ri­an, argues that “sin­gle-per­son shoot­er” video games repli­cate mil­i­tary train-ing, low­er­ing chil­dren’s innate resis­tance to killing oth­er human beings, with­out also instill­ing in them the mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline that might keep impul­sive behav­ior in check.

Cho Seung-Hui, who mur­dered 32 peo­ple on the Vir­ginia Tech cam­pus in 2007, was ini­tial­ly report­ed to have played video games obses­sive­ly (a claim since debunked by the Vir­ginia Tech pan­el that inves­ti­gat­ed the inci­dent), and many com­men­ta­tors have instinc­tive­ly linked game vio­lence with cam­pus killings. Cho “adopt­ed the type of behav­ior of pro­tag­o­nists in films and com­put­er games,” wrote Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia psy­chol­o­gist Dewey Cor­nell short­ly after the mas­sacre. “The spe­cial effects and gra­tu­itous vio­lence seen in the mass media ulti­mate­ly desen­si­tize human­i­ty, and Cho’s case illus­trates how dan­ger­ous the reper­cus­sions can be.”

The obvi­ous prob­lem with this charge is that mil­lions of kids and adults play video games every day with­out ever engag­ing in any vio­lent behav­ior. In fact, as video games have surged in pop­u­lar­i­ty dur­ing the past decade, youth vio­lence has declined.

Accord­ing to a study released in Jan­u­ary of 2008 by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, the num­ber of school killings fell con­sid­er­ably from 1992 to 2006—a peri­od of time that includes the noto­ri­ous 1999 Columbine mas­sacre. Many lead­ers, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, blamed the Columbine tragedy on the killers’ fas­ci­na­tion with games like Doom and Wolfen­stein 3D.

But when the U.S. Secret Ser­vice and Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion ana­lyzed 37 inci­dents of school vio­lence and sought to devel­op a pro­file of school shoot­ers, they dis­cov­ered that the most com­mon traits among shoot­ers were that they were male and had his­to­ries of depres­sion and attempt­ed sui­cide. While many of the killers-like the vast major­i­ty of young males—did play video games, this 2002 study did not find a rela­tion­ship between game play and school shoot­ings. In fact, only one eighth of the shoot­ers showed any spe­cial inter­est in vio­lent video games, far less than the num­ber of shoot­ers who seemed attract­ed to books and movies with vio­lent con­tent.

In short, try­ing to curb vio­lent video games (or tar­get­ing kids who play video games) would seem to have lit­tle or no effect on lev­els of school vio­lence.

How­ev­er, the sto­ry does not end there: Video games may not direct­ly cause school shoot­ings, but dozens of empir­i­cal stud­ies have shown a strong link between video game play and aggres­sive feel­ings. When Craig Ander­son and col­leagues ana­lyzed 54 inde­pen­dent stud­ies involv­ing 4,262 par­tic­i­pants in 2001, they found that play­ing vio­lent video games increased aggres­sive emo­tions and behav­iors, and mea­sur­ably decreased help­ful behav­iors. Researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­souri mon­i­tored brain activ­i­ty in video-game play­ers and found that the games trig­ger a part of the brain that dri­ves peo­ple to act aggres­sive­ly. And in 2004, a team of researchers stud­ied 607 eighth- and ninth-grade stu­dents in the Mid­west and dis­cov­ered that there was indeed a cor­re­la­tion between play­ing vio­lent video games and get­ting into fist fights, though the study was not able to say if one caused the oth­er.

That last study reflects the chick­en-and-egg conun­drum of a lot of video-game research: Are trou­bled kids more like­ly to play vio­lent video games, or do vio­lent video games help cre­ate trou­bled kids? “That’s a ques­tion we can’t answer right now,” says Cheryl Olson. For decades, researchers have been try­ing to untan­gle the con­stel­la­tion of fac­tors involved in youth vio­lence, from qual­i­ty of neigh­bor­hoods to home envi­ron­ment to media influ­ence, but so far they haven’t been able to deter­mine the degree to which any one of them con­tributes.

Part of the rea­son why data seem to con­tra­dict each oth­er, Olson sug­gests, might lie in the dis­parate moti­va­tions play­ers bring to the games. “Ours was the first study to ask a decent-sized group of kids, “Why do you play [M‑rated] video games?’ ” she says. “We came up with 17 or 18 rea­sons why they might play. And we were struck that many of the kids said they were play­ing to help with emo­tion­al regulation—to get their anger out, to feel less lone­ly, to reduce stress, a lot of things we did­n’t expect.” For these kids, Olson sug­gests, vio­lent video games might play a pos­i­tive role in man­ag­ing unruly emo­tions. “If I had a bad day at school,” said one focus-group par­tic­i­pant, “I’ll play a vio­lent video game, and it just relieves my stress.”

Craig Ander­son isn’t con­vinced by this “emo­tion­al reg­u­la­tion” hypoth­e­sis. “Kids report that’s what is going on,” he says, “but in fact there’s no evi­dence that actu­al­ly hap­pens.”

In fact, Olson and Ander­son could both find sup­port from a new study by psy­chol­o­gists in New Zealand and Aus­tralia. The study mea­sured the indi­vid­ual per­son­al­i­ty traits of 126 teenagers, then test­ed their reac­tions to the vio­lent video game Quake II. They found that play­ing the game made hos­tile peo­ple angri­er, helped calm more intro­vert­ed per­son­al­i­ties, and had no appar­ent affect on peo­ple with mild and sta­ble per­son­al­i­ties. In oth­er words, one kid might indeed play the game to blow off steam in a healthy way, even as it feeds anoth­er’s anger.

Method act­ing

Olson and Kut­ner’s work also sug­gests a pos­i­tive and para­dox­i­cal dimen­sion of play­ing video games with vio­lence in them: help­ing kids to grap­ple with life’s scari­est expe­ri­ences.

Olson reports that many kids in their focus groups said they liked play­ing vio­lent video games because they knew the fight­ing was­n’t hap­pen­ing in real life. In fact, many of the kids report­ed being much more scared by TV news. “They told us, “The news is real, and that makes me scared.’ ” In con­trast, they could con­trol the vio­lence in video games. “There are things you can try out in a game that you can’t do in real life,” says Olson. “Some of the boys in our focus groups real­ly liked the fact that you could choose to be a good guy or a bad guy. They can ask, “What kind of per­son would I end up being?’ ”

Olson’s son Michael says he and his friends do not play games just because of vio­lent con­tent. Instead, they are look­ing for a com­pelling sto­ry­line, intrigu­ing char­ac­ters, and inter­est­ing choic­es. “A good game to me makes you feel like a method actor,” he says. “It just draws you into the sto­ry and draws you into a char­ac­ter.”

These insights res­onate with research into chil­dren’s pre­tend play. In stud­ies of kids with imag­i­nary friends, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon psy­chol­o­gist Mar­jorie Tay­lor has found that kids often cre­ate pre­tend char­ac­ters who do sin­is­ter, nasty, and even vio­lent things. (See Tay­lor’s essay on page 28 of this issue.) “Like adults who think things through before they act, this gives chil­dren an oppor­tu­ni­ty to play it through before they encounter the sit­u­a­tion in real life,” says Tay­lor. “If some­thing is both­er­ing you, you can con­trol it or manip­u­late it in the world of pre­tend­ing. That’s a way of devel­op­ing emo­tion­al mas­tery.”

U.S. Cir­cuit Court Judge Richard A. Pos­ner offered a sim­i­lar con­clu­sion in his 2001 opin­ion block­ing an Indi­anapo­lis ordi­nance that would have reg­u­lat­ed video-game arcades. “Vio­lence has always been and remains a cen­tral inter­est of humankind and a recur­rent, even obses­sive theme of cul­ture both high and low,” he wrote. “It engages the inter­est of chil­dren from an ear­ly age, as any­one famil­iar with the clas­sic fairy tales col­lect­ed by Grimm, Ander­sen, and Per­rault are aware. To shield chil­dren right up to the age of 18 from expo­sure to vio­lent descrip­tions and images would not only be quixot­ic, but deform­ing; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.”

That does­n’t mean that any­thing goes. Olson says many pre­cau­tion­ary steps can be tak­en to mit­i­gate the harm that vio­lent video games might cause. “I would def­i­nite­ly want to show real­is­tic con­se­quences,” she says, when asked how she would design one of these games. “There are a num­ber of games with sto­ry­lines that show the con­se­quences of vio­lence: Kids are get­ting orphaned or peo­ple are suf­fer­ing.” She says the vio­lence should nev­er be depict­ed as fun­ny, or the per­pe­tra­tors as attrac­tive, and the play­ers should be reward­ed for mer­cy and moral choices—as they are in the game SWAT, for exam­ple.

But to help kids make the right choic­es about video games, par­ents and oth­er adults first need to under­stand what kids are play­ing. Olson and Kut­ner urge par­ents and researchers alike to learn more about these games, and even play them with kids. This will help both groups devel­op a more nuanced under­stand­ing of gam­ing and be able to tell the good games from the bad ones.

It’s a great thing devel­op­men­tal­ly for the child to teach the par­ent some­thing,” says Olson. “A lot of kids said they’d love for their par­ents to play games with them.”

Jere­my Adam Smith is the man­ag­ing edi­tor of Greater Good and author of Twen­ty-First-Cen­tu­ry Dad, forth­com­ing in 2009 from Bea­con Press. We bring you this post thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Mag­a­zine, a UC-Berke­ley-based quar­ter­ly mag­a­zine that high­lights ground break­ing sci­en­tif­ic research into the roots of com­pas­sion and altru­ism.

For recent exam­ples on the pos­i­tive val­ue of some games (for chil­dren and adults), and how to nav­i­gate the field from a cog­ni­tive health point of view:

- Inter­views with Brain Sci­en­tists

- Prod­uct Eval­u­a­tion Check­list

- Nin­ten­do Brain Train­ing and Math in UK Schools

- Posit Sci­ence Pro­gram Clas­sic and InSight and Alzheimer’s Aus­tralia


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17 Responses

  1. could you direct me to a link which has the Olson/Kutner study? I’m doing a paper for grad school and would love to include a ref­er­ence to this work. Thanks for a very help­ful and enlight­en­ing arti­cle. ck

  2. Jean Forbes says:

    I am still firm­ly on the fense and more than a lit­tle dis­tressed about the time tak­en away from read­ing.
    How­ev­er, I must admit that when we played cow­boys and indi­ans or police and thief, the gun (toys, sup­plied by some adult) played a large part. Our movies were west­erns, which by todays stan­dards would have been heav­i­ly rat­ed for vio­lence and cul­tur­al inap­pro­pri­ate­ness. Yet most of us turned out okay. So I sup­pose giv­en the right par­ent­ing envi­ron­ment, these chil­dren will be okay too.

  3. Char­lie, Jean, please see my answer to your com­ment here:

    Thank you!

  4. Joshua Sebold says:

    Moth­ers Against Videogame Addic­tion and Vio­lence, ref­er­enced in the eighth para­graph, is a hoax, cre­at­ed by a web design stu­dent who was fed up about mis­in­formed par­ents and their anti gam­ing orga­ni­za­tions. Some polit­i­cal fig­ures actu­al­ly ref­er­enced it on their web­sites and oth­er anti video game orga­ni­za­tions have tried to “team up with it.” The point was for the stu­dent to make a con­vinc­ing web­site about a fake orga­ni­za­tion, he was so suc­cess­ful that the orga­ni­za­tion became a mas­sive inside joke in gam­ing cul­ture. The point was that most of these par­ent groups are so out of touch with the youth and the things affect­ing their chil­dren that they are tak­en in by a col­lege stu­den­t’s home­work assign­ment. The pop­u­lar, gam­ing focused, web com­ic Pen­ny Arcade fea­tured the group in one of its comics to give you an exam­ple of its place in gam­ing cul­ture. That’s the place where I first encoun­tered it. Look it up on wikipedia.

  5. Joshua Sebold says:

    Also the man­hunt games have been ter­ri­bly received by the gam­ing com­mu­ni­ty. They are hard­ly com­pet­i­tive or pop­u­lar and are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the gam­ing indus­try in the same way that a ran­dom porn would be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the film indus­try.

  6. Joshua Sebold says:

    Oth­er­wise this is a very fair and bal­anced arti­cle, a rar­i­ty when it comes to this sub­ject. Kudos.

  7. Joshua, thank you for pro­vid­ing that great infor­ma­tion!

  8. Eric Haugland says:

    For read­ers out there, I’m 17 and I absolute­ly LOVE first-per­son shoot­ers. I admit that some­times I do play video games with my friends instead of doing home­work. How­ev­er, I’ve nev­er been in a fight, I’m not over­weight, I have PLENTY of friends, and I’m get­ting my AA degree 2 years ear­ly through the Run­ning Start pro­gram at my high­school. I would­n’t be able to do that if my brains were being fried by the games I played, right?

  9. Eric Haugland says:

    And I’m actu­al­ly writ­ing about this top­ic for my Eng­lish 110 class! Wait till my teacher sees these com­ments when she checks my sources haha. Hi Mrs. K!

  10. Eric, thank you for stop­ping by and leav­ing your impres­sions. Will be more than glad to learn more about your essay for your Eng­lish 110 class and hear your teacher’s reac­tion. This is what we want to cre­ate in this blog: an informed and stim­u­lat­ing con­ver­sa­tion. Thank you for your con­tri­bu­tion.

  11. Allie says:

    Thanks for your arti­cle. It clear­ly explains BOTH sides of this argu­ment and nei­ther side is biased, which is a real breath of fresh air for me.

  12. Adam Taylor says:

    This arti­cle firm­ly shows both sides of the argue­ment, and is an effec­tive means to prove that there real­ly are no more cons to play­ing videogames than there are to watch­ing a vio­lent movie. I espe­cial­ly like the fact that it includes that just because some­one plays videogames, it does not make them an intro­vert, obese, idiot. It is also great to men­tion that some kids and teenagers used the vio­lent con­tent as a stress relief instead of idea gen­er­a­tor. All and all, a great arti­cle.

  13. Adam Taylor says:

    Oh and I am also using this to help me in my A.P. Eng­lish class, thanks for the arti­cle

  14. Devan Frey says:

    If you have any arti­cles or resources that are against video games please send them to me.

  15. Samantha Leiter says:

    Do you know of any sites that could have unbi­ased facts about the pos­i­tive effects of video games? It would real­ly help me with my A.P assign­ment. This arti­cle will help me alot, too.

  16. Dan Hipp says:

    There is also research indi­cat­ing that FPS games improves aspects of vision:

    Research also indi­cates that sig­nif­i­cant par­al­lels exist between busi­ness lead­ers and suc­cess­ful MMORPG play­ers:–10784_3-9736569–7.html

  17. Andrew White says:

    Thank you for writ­ing such an un biased arti­cle on this subjet,Josh is right it is a rar­i­ty. I’ll be using this for a ref­er­ence in my paper. Thanks again :]

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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