Scholarly Article 2: Caution Angry Gamers?
I found this article to be extremely relevant to the age old question, “does video games cause aggressive behaviors in children?” Although my scholarly article this week was not specifically addressing learning something from games, I felt this mirrored the same basic concepts. This article was published in 2015, making at a seemly relevant and realistic look at how modern game games could be having an effect on what individuals are learning from games. According to Milani et al. (2015), the children in this survey, “…who preferred violent games showed higher scores for externalization and aggression.”
This study included 346 Italian children ranging in age from 7 to 14. Unfortunately it does not span over multiple settings. However, the study did examine differences in the age of the children and the popularity of violent games. The older the children the mosre likely they were to enjoy violent video games (Milani et al., 2015). This is an obvious finding. It is not culturally normal to see a first grader playing violent games. Over the course of a few years, this changes. This specifically does not seem to be a relevant finding in this study. This is also somewhat limited in, they only surveyed Italian children. If this study occurred over multiple countries, it would be more impactful evidence. Maybe the findings are exclusive to Italian children?
There is always a disconnect when playing video games. The consequences of ones behaviors or choices are no longer a part of reality. This alternate world, that is created through game play, creates a new identity for the individual playing the game. For example, this child may be learning how to kill more effectively in a video game. This in turn may desensitize the player as they are being exposed to increasingly graphic depictions of gore and death. If this type of exposure to intense graphics was multiplied over the span of several hours, days, weeks and even years, the outcome could potentially be significant. There are possible ramifications of constantly seeing these images. It becomes more clear that there is a real possibility that there could be some negative effects.
If I could redesign one aspect of this this study, it would be the testing of different games. The emphasis on singling out violent games seems to be obvious. What happens if children play feel-good, positive reinforcing games? Studies are done for shock effects or to try to place blame on something or someone. Simply put, have video games replaced some of the parent’s role/responsibility? I find it difficult to accept the results of a study that doesn’t investigate the game types more broadly (if even for comparison sake).
This was an interesting study, but it is limiting. The findings used to draw conclusions, were done solely on self-reporting and parental feedback. That alone seems biased. Children wouldn’t want to get in trouble and parents don’t like reporting their children in a negative manner. This study is difficult to conduct because there are so many environmental factors influencing children. A child’s temperament and personality before, during and after this study would provide a better overall picture. Although a longitudinal study of this magnitude may be difficult, it would help pinpoint more trends.
Do violent games attract a certain type of personality type (aggressive)?
Or, are these aggressive behaviors a learned behavior?
After reading this, I don’t know if I am convinced.
Milani, L., Camisasca, E., Caravita, S. C., Ionio, C., Miragoli, S., & Blasio, P. D. (2015). Violent Video Games and Children’s Aggressive Behaviors. SAGE Open, 5(3), 215824401559942. doi:10.1177/2158244015599428