Today, the Entertainment Software Association released findings from two studies by Dr. Christopher Ferguson of Texas A&M University. In an interesting twist, Dr. Ferguson's findings suggest that notonly are violent video games okay to give to children, they may actually be beneficial.
Video games are often blamed for violent outbursts, as are movies, television and Catcher in the Rye. Ilived in the same neighborhood as Columbine High School when the massacre took place. This particular tragedy was the first time I had heard video games being blamed for someone's behavior. Harris andKlebold reportedly liked playing Doom - as did my husband and I. We have yet to go on a homicidal rampage, and so it was hard for me to relate to such a simple connection. I distinctly remember lookingfrom the News to our Playstation with perplexity at such a claim.
In Dr. Ferguson's study entitled, Blazing Angels or Resident Evil? Can Violent Video Games be a Force for Good? he conducted anin-depth analysis of so-called "proof" that violent video games lead to aggressive behavior. What he found was that many of these studies were based on inconsistent findings. In fact, as he took a broaderapproach to verifying such an impact, Dr. Ferguson noted that violent crime has dropped dramatically during the same periods in which video games have gained popularity. The study goes on to say thatviolent video games are associated with improved visual and spatial cognition, not to mention the fact that shy children (or adults) tend to feel empowered by playing such a game, particularly in amultiplayer setting. This study was published in June by the Review of General Psychology.
I, for one, after playing first person shooters and mystery games, have better map-reading skills,problem-solving skills, nunchaku skills and the ability to focus my eyes on a small, moving target from a far distance. (Okay, not nunchaku, I might have made that one up, but you get the point.)
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