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'Violent video games make children lose self-control'


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'Violent video games make children lose self-control'


By SARAH HARRIS, Education Correspondent Last updated at 22:00pm on 3rd December 2006




Playing violent video games makes children lose their self-control, a shocking new study has revealed.

An analysis of brain activity demonstrates they become more emotionally charged after using the graphic technology.

At the same time there is a marked decrease in activity in parts of the brain which are linked to self-control, focus and concentration.

The findings will refuel concern about the effects of violent video and computer games on children.

Previous studies have shown that such games can 'desensitise' players to real-life brutality after just 20 minutes of playing.

The latest research from Indiana University School of Medicine, United States, shows that violent video games stimulate activity in the region of the brain governing emotional arousal in teenagers.

Researchers randomly assigned 44 adolescents to play either a violent or non-violent video game for 30 minutes.

A scanning technique was then used to study the volunteers' brain functions during a series of tasks measuring inhibition and concentration.

The two groups did not differ in accuracy or reaction times for the tasks.

But the group that had played the violent game showed less activity in the prefrontal parts of their brains involved in inhibition, concentration and self-control.

There was more activity in the amygdala region, which helps govern emotional arousal.

Dr Vincent Mathews, professor of radiology, who led the research, said: 'These findings raise concern that these types of video games are having some sort of effect on the brain and likely an effect on behaviour as well.'

He added: 'This is the first time that it has been demonstrated that violent video games can affect brain physiology and the way the brain functions.

'Our study suggests that playing a certain type of violent video game may have different short-term effects on brain function than playing a non-violent - but exciting - game.

'Additional investigation of the reasons for and effects of this difference in brain functioning will be important targets for future study, but the current study showed that a difference between the groups does exist.'

The findings were presented to the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago last week.

They come after a study from Iowa University, United States, revealed earlier this year that students who played graphic games for just minutes were less emotional when later confronted with scenes of real violence.

They had lower heart rates and perspiration when they viewed footage of shootings, stabbings, prison fights, courtroom outbursts and confrontations with police.

This showed they had become desensitised to real-life brutality, according to researchers.

Last year, German researchers said that playing violent video games 'trains' the mind to react aggressively in real-life situations.

This is because players treat the situation as if it is real and react violently and unemotionally to threats.

U.S. soldiers are encouraged to play such games to make them more accustomed to killing in combat.

Professor Mark Griffiths, head of psychology at Nottingham Trent University, has previously warned that children are more at risk of being affected by violent video games than adults as their brains are not yet fully formed.

In September 2004, Warren Leblanc, 17, was sentenced to life imprisonment at Leicester Crown Court after murdering his friend in an apparent imitation of the violent computer game, Manhunt.

He lured 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah to a park before beating and stabbing him to death with a claw hammer and knife, weapons used in the 18-rated game.

Stefan's parents claimed Leblanc was obsessed with the PlayStation 2 game and used it like an 'instruction manual' to inflict more than 50 injuries on their son in the attack.

They called for the game, described as the 'most violent and amoral' ever made, to be banned. Tony Blair joined the condemnation of the game, claiming it was 'in no way suitable for children'.

Most recent controversy has surrounded a new Sony PlayStation game, Rule of Rose, which was released in Britain on November 24 and shows a young girl being kidnapped and tortured.

The game has so shocked Franco Frattini, the European Justice Commissioner, that he has written to every EU government calling for tighter controls on games that show and glorify violence.

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This is true - I had already fathered 5 kids by the time I was 15.




On a serious note...I can only say how games have effected me. I'd get a bit angry and sweaty sometimes but it never has played a part in any sort of problems I have had because well, I've been lucky to have none.

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funny you only see these guys going after video games. What about movies? after watching pulp fiction or casino or saving private ryan or scarface(all hucge critically aclaimed movies who have recieved nothing but praise) Do those same characteristics of less emotion exist after watching those instead of watching sesame street??? comon guys, if a guy is gonna kill someone, hes gonna kill someone, video game or not. We cant blame it all on games.


Plus i find my sense of frustration and anger is quite a bit higher when i play Fifa 07 instead of Grand Theft Auto!! In my opinion, violent video games can be quite a stress reliever. You had a rough day? go work the streets a little bit!:D

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Dammit violent video games are the only thing keeping me from killing certain people!


hah but seriously, I started playing Doom when I was basically 6 years old and I don't really have any violent tendencies. Plus, I too think they function as excellent stress relievers. (Ever sat on top of the elevated rail platform in GTA3 and sniped bystanders for the hell of it?) :wink3:

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Hey, I love games. Great games are a pure work of art.

The storyline, the artwork & animation, the worlds they can create and the magnificent music within some games.


I actually get excited about playing new games and I believe for all the right reasons.


But I also don't NEED them and I know where to draw the line.

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i love call of duty and day of defeat, so much fun. I just hope for a GOOD first person shooter based on the german side of the war. There is such possibilities available to you. I mean fighting on virtually every front, pioneering modern technology, some of the best fighting units ever trained, it stinks that there is such international red tape against anything that could possibly be PRO third reich.


Of course i am not at all pro Nazi, but i am pro history, and i think it would be amazing to see the war through a video game from the OTHER perspective! (cuz lets face it, not to many kids learn much about history in schools, Call of Duty is their best WW2 teacher)

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Haha, you're right there.


I hate it when people get all pissy about seeing the Swastika in games.

A couple of my friends say "oh, I don't like it becuase of that" and they don't even say why.

They are simply trying to come across as moralistic on the issue...BUT they don't even know why they don't want to see the nazi symbol!!! I think it's because they have it in their mind that it's wrong...but they don't know why.


They are a bunch of pretentious tits at times!! (Friends, not Nazi's)

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as a future history teacher, i have researched in and out the Nazi regime, and i have come to the conclusion that most people dont even know what they are seeing when they look at a Swastika, nor do they understand what it stands for, nor do they care. The were taught to not like Nazis and thats how it is, and they dont want anything to do with them. Im not condoning Naziism, im simply stating that people should learn more about what they are against before they take that stand

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I don't think playing violent video games makes you more likely to be violent. When I was a kid, I had some fighter plane game where you had to fly the plane and bomb certain targets. I never got the urge to go out flying fighter planes for real.

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  • 1 month later...
Dammit violent video games are the only thing keeping me from killing certain people!


hah but seriously, I started playing Doom when I was basically 6 years old and I don't really have any violent tendencies. Plus, I too think they function as excellent stress relievers. (Ever sat on top of the elevated rail platform in GTA3 and sniped bystanders for the hell of it?) :wink3:

haha same here, gotta love GTA:lol:

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Oh c'mon. I think violent video games barely have an impact on self-control or desensitizing.


If their are two kids standing in front of me, and one has a really short fused and is a bit desensitized and the other kid is all calm and collected and sympathetic and shiz, I'm not gonna say "OH! That angry kid must've played violent video games all his life!"


There's a lot of other things that affect your self-control/desensitize you (movies, music, other people, you, watching the news). Sucky parents have to stop blaming it on the video games they play because:


1.) they bought them the game

2.) it's probably not the main reason they're out of control--there are probably a lot of underlying reasons


Okay, some kids will be really retarded and obsess over video games and kill people, but that's because they're insane.


That kid that murdered someone with a bunch of moves from Manhunt obviously has something wrong with him! It's not the freaking video game that drove him to do that I bet. And, if they think the games aren't suitable for children then they shouldn't give mature/18-rated games to their kids then!


If a parent believes their kid is mature enough to not go crazy after seeing... violence that isn't real, then I think they can give them violent video games then. But, if their kid gets obsessive or acts different in a way, limit their playing time or just straight up take the game away! Gah.

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Oh... and that study...


Let's say--I have two groups of kids: one group swims in a cold pool for a while, and the other doesn't.


Next, cold water is splashed shortly after without warning on to the kids.


Okay, which group is gonna be shocked more? Obviously the ones that weren't in a cold pool just before being doused with cold water.


I guess you can call that "desensitizing", but it's quite temporary.


On the other hand, you can be trained to be really tolerant to cold water and such. Hm... a person like that could represent a trained killer, perhaps?


And, there's also people that live in cold climates--they could represent people that live in violence ridden countries, or live in a generation full of violence (cough, like ours...).



Catch my drift?



Some much for a scientific study.

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Me neither. I grew up playing GTA' date=' Killer Instinct and Mortal Combat etc and I never feel like killing people or anything. I'm not violent at all.[/quote']



Haha Mortal Kombat is my favorite game! But all my friends tell me I'm too "nice."

But I think it varies. Like, I'm not violent at all but my neice, who's 8, got Grand Theft Auto for Xmas from my dad :dozey: and she likes to choke. :stunned:

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