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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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71% Parents Feel That Video Games May Have Positive Impact on Kids

71% parents believe video games good for teens

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86 per cent of parents agree that teeagers spend too much time on video games. Pixabay

Seventy-one per cent of parents believe that video games may have a positive and healthy impact on their kids’ lifestyle, while 44 per cent try to restrict video game content, says a new study.

According to the CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health in US, 86 per cent of parents agree that teeagersspend too much time gaming. Parents also reported very different gaming patterns for teenage boys than girls.

Twice as many parents said that their teen boy plays video games every day compared to parents of teen girls. Teen boys are also more likely to spend three or more hours gaming.

“Although many parents believe video games can be good for teens, they also report a number of negative impacts of prolonged gaming,” said poll co-director Gary Freed from University of Michigan.

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Parents can play an important role by setting clear rules about appropriate content and how much time is too much time spent on video games. Pixabay

“Parents should take a close look at their teen’s gaming behaviour and set reasonable limits to reduce harmful impacts on sleep, family and peer relationships and school performance,” Freed added.

Overall, parents surveyed said that gaming often gets in the way of other aspects of their teen’s life, such as family activities and interactions (46 per cent), sleep (44 per cent), homework (34 per cent), friendship with non-gaming peers (33 per cent) and extracurricular activities (31 per cent).

Parents of teens ages 13-15 (compared to those with older teens) are more likely to use rating systems to try to make sure games are appropriate (43 per cent versus 18 per cent), encourage their teen to play with friends in person rather than online and to ban gaming in their teen’s bedroom.

Parents polled also use different strategies to limit the amount of time their teen spends gaming, including encouraging other activities (75 per cent), setting time limits (54 per cent), providing incentives to limit gaming (23 per cent) and hiding gaming equipment (14 percent).

The researchers noted that while gaming may be a fun activity in moderation, some teens -such as those with attention issues — are especially susceptible to the constant positive feedback and the stimulus of video games.

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This may lead to prolonged play that is disruptive to other elements of a teen’s life, the researchers added.

“Parents can play an important role by setting clear rules about appropriate content and how much time is too much time spent on video games,” Freed said. (IANS)