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Study: Video Games Not Connected to Real World Violence

More than 23,000 tweets had used the hashtag #VideogamesAreNotToBlame

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FILE - Gamers play Minecraft at the Paris Games Week (PGW), a trade fair for video games in Paris, France. VOA

Many young people reacting to the most recent mass shootings in the U.S. are rejecting the idea that violent video games motivate shooters. And research backs them up.

One Twitter user, Scott@Serptentine_Back described his interests as well as the fact he’d been bullied in school, but ended with “NEVER HAVE I ONCE THOUGHT OF SHOOTING INNOCENT PEOPLE.”

“Recent mass shootings have prompted the idea among some members of the public that exposure to violent video games can have a pronounced effect on individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD),” wrote University of Missouri professor Christopher R. Engelhardt. “Empirical evidence for or against this claim has been missing, however.”

More than 23,000 tweets had used the hashtag #VideogamesAreNotToBlame by late Monday afternoon, pushing back on some politicians’ assertions that violent video games influenced young, male shooters.

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FILE – Gamers play Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 at a community reveal event in Hawthorne, California, May 17, 2018. VOA

“I’ve always felt that it’s a problem for future generations and others,” Representative Kevin McCarthy said on Fox News. “We’ve watched from studies, shown before, what it does to individuals, and you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.”

Authors of a new study funded by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, say four factors motivate shooters:
* Early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age, such as parental suicide, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence and/or severe bullying;
* A specific grievance, like romantic rejection or job loss;
* Copy cats;
*Owning a weapon or getting one from a family member. But video games? Not so much, experts say.

“In the wake of many mass shootings, unfortunately, many people — including government officials — try to blame violent video games or other forms of violent media,” Englehardt wrote in an email. “However, evidence linking violent media to mass shootings is simply nonexistent. The are more important factors to consider, such as exposure to family violence and mental health issues.”

One Twitter user, AJ Szymanowski @TheRealSzymaa, shared under the hashtag VideogamesAreNotToBlame: “Video games are just there latest social Boogeyman for those who are unwilling to actually accept the blame.”

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Many young people reacting to the most recent mass shootings in the U.S. are rejecting the idea that violent video games motivate shooters. Wikimedia Commons

“There was no evidence for a critical tipping point relating violent game engagement to aggressive behaviour,” wrote Andrew K. Przybylski and Netta Weinstein, professors at the University of Oxford and Cardiff University, respectively, in a journal of the Royal Society Open Science in the U.K.

On social media, some pointed to the proliferation of guns and gun violence as part of the legacy of baby boomers — those people born before 1964. “Hey Boomers, video games are not to blame for the shooting. It’s your own mess and you should do something about your horrible guns policy instead of banning video games. #VideogamesAreNotToBlame,” Alt King Gio, @Altgio8, tweeted.

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“The Boomer crowd don’t want to take the blame for their actions because they failed. Excuse me but didn’t your parents scapegoat music for their mistakes or something before? The generational scapegoat curse lingers! #VideogamesAreNotToBlame,” tweeted ArkE, @arkenova89.

According to polling company Gallup, gun ownership in the U.S. peaked in 1994, when then-President Bill Clinton signed the Assault Weapons Ban into law, with 51 percent of homeowners reporting owning a gun. That percentage has varied, with between 34 percent and 43 percent of homeowners owning a gun, between 1994 and 2018, respectively. (VOA)

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Researchers: Video Games can Help Children Evaluate, Express and Manage Emotions

Emotional intelligence can be better explained when there are emotions involved from both sides

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Video games, Children, Emotions
Video games may improve the expression of emotions, but awareness and coping strategies can't be solely understood by games. PIxabay

While it’s commonly believed that video games are harmful for children, researchers have found that it can help them evaluate, express and manage emotions when used as part of an emotional intelligence training programme.

“Video games may improve the expression of emotions, but awareness and coping strategies can’t be solely understood by games. Emotional intelligence can be better explained when there are emotions involved from both sides,” Manish Jain, Consultant at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi, told IANS.

According to the study published in the Games for Health Journal, researchers from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Italy developed an emotional intelligence training programme that integrated video games as experience-based learning tools.

The researchers created EmotivaMente, a video game, to enhance emotional intelligence among adolescents, perhaps the group that could benefit the most. They analysed 121 adolescents who participated in eight sessions.

Video games, Children, Emotions
While it’s commonly believed that video games are harmful for children, researchers have found that it can help them evaluate. Pixabay

“Games for health have been designed to address an increasing variety of issues. A relatively new health issue is emotional intelligence, which has implications for various health problems, including coping with stress,” said Tom Baranowski, Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

The preliminary evaluation indicated that video games enhanced the students’ evaluation and expression of emotions.

But some experts believe outdoor activities should be given more importance to develop emotional intelligence, which includes awareness of emotions, managing emotions effectively and maintaining relationships, in children.

“In the modern day where interaction is increasingly becoming online and more time is spent indoors, the right way to build emotional intelligence is people-to-people interactions and connecting, spending quality time with peers and family, learning through experiences and feedback,” Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director at Fortis Mental Health Programme in Delhi, told IANS.

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“Video games are not the most prudent way to enhance emotional skills. Young people should have a well-balanced life with adequate outdoor activities and investment of time and energy in building relationships by working on communication and person-to-person connect,” Parikh said.

Sagar Lavania, Head of Department, Psychiatry and Mental Health, Nayati Medicity, Mathura, believes “human and one-on-one interactions are ideal ways to increase emotional intelligence, especially among adolescents, and can never be substituted by alternative methods”.

“However, if newer techniques are coming up, it needs to be thoroughly researched and supervised, keeping in mind the vulnerability of teenagers,” he remarked. (IANS)