Video Game Violence

Parents have recently been shooting me all kinds of questions about the amount of violence their children are exposed to through television, movies, and, most notably, video games. This week, let me provide some hard-hitting information on this topic. Experts have recently estimated that, by the time theyre 18 years old, children are exposed to more than 200,000 acts of violence on television, movies, and video games. And there are now many studies showing that exposure to violent video games increases aggressive behavior in children. Playing these games can increase a sense of hostility as well as making children more suspicious of the motives of others and more likely to be argumentative. As a result, the American Psychological Association and other organizations have asked video game developers to reduce the amount of violence and adopt a more consistent and more extensive rating system. So what do I recommend? Parents, you need to monitor and limit your childs exposure to video game violence as much as possible. Be aware of the ratings, and prohibit your child from playing games that include violence. Its also a great idea for you to preview the game yourself to make sure it is appropriate. You should also be watching for warning signs. If your children seem more aggressive after playing a game, talk with them and make sure they understand that the violence in the games is imaginary and that in the real world, that kind of violence is real and hurtful. The best idea, though, is to encourage your child to participate in activities other than video games, such as playing sports or reading books, which can stimulate the body and mind in a healthy manner. Also, talk to the parents of your childs friends to make sure everyone is working together to restrict the exposure to violent video games in each others homes. If you cant pry your child away from the computer or video game system, make sure it is kept in a common area of the house, and limit your childs time spent sitting in front of it. Perhaps you could even play the games with your child, making it part of family time just make sure the games are non-violent and appropriate for your childs age and level of development. Hopefully, tips like this will fight off any concerns you have about how to limit your childs exposure to video game violence.

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