It’s A Duel: How Do Violent Video Games Affect Kids?
by Shankar Vedantam
July 07, 2011
Social psychologist Brad Bushman at The Ohio State University once showed students violent pictures: one of a man shoving a gun down another man’s throat; another of a man holding a knife to a woman’s throat.
“What we found is for people who were exposed to a lot of violent video games, their brains did not respond to the violent images,” Bushman said. “They were numb, if you will.”
Bushman also had the students blast each other with loud noises.
“We try to make the noise as unpleasant as possible by thinking of every noise you hate,” Bushman said. “So like fingernails scratc hing on a chalkboard, dentist drills, sirens.”
Students could make the sound as loud as a smoke alarm, if they wanted. Some students in the experiments got really mean.
“Everybody was more aggressive if they’d played a violent game than if they’d played a nonviolent game, and the more numb they were, the more aggressive they were in terms of blasting their opponent with loud noise through headphones,” Bushman said.
Chris Ferguson, a psychologist at the Texas A&M International University
“Playing violent video games probably will not turn your child into a psychopathic killer,” Bushman said, “but I would want to know how the child treats his or her parents, how they treat their siblings, how much compassion they have.”
Bushman and Ferguson agree on one thing: as fathers, they’ve banned their own kids from playing violent video games.
we should all let our kids play those video games. “Absolutely — except my kids”