Research on the impact of playing video games (particularly violent games) is a topic that I know that some readers of this blog have a great interest in. Here are a few recent items concerning this topic:
First, a new book from the psych department at Iowa State University, whose press release (4 Apr) explains:
Craig Anderson, Douglas Gentile, and Katherine Buckley share the results of three new studies in their book, “Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents” (Oxford University Press, 2007). It is the first book to unite empirical research and public policy related to violent video games.
[…] The book’s first study found that even exposure to cartoonish children’s violent video games had the same short-term effects on increasing aggressive behavior as the more graphic teen (T-rated) violent games.
[…] In another study […] the authors found that respondents who had more exposure to violent video games held more pro-violent attitudes, had more hostile personalities, were less forgiving, believed violence to be more typical, and behaved more aggressively in their everyday lives. […] The researchers were surprised that the relation to violent video games was so strong.
[…] A third new study […] found that children who played more violent video games early in the school year changed to see the world in a more aggressive way, and became more verbally and physically aggressive later in the school year — even after controlling for how aggressive they were at the beginning of the study.
Reference: Craig A. Anderson, Douglas A. Gentile and Katherine E. Buckley (2007). Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents (Amazon UK) / (Amazon US) Oxford: OUP
Reports from around the world suggest that gaming addiction is real and on the rise. Nationally, 8.5 percent of youth gamers (ages 8 to 18) can be classified as pathological or clinically “addicted” to playing video games. Most youth play video games and many feel that they may be playing too much. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of youth say they that have felt “addicted to video games”, with about one-third of males (31%) and a little more than one in ten females (13%) feeling “addicted.” Forty-four percent of youth also report that their friends are addicted to games. With nearly 8 in 10 American youth (81%) playing video games at least one time per month, including 94 percent of all boys playing, this certainly raises concerns about video game addiction.
An informative report is available (link is a pdf file): Video Gaming: General and Pathological Use.
Finally, The Situationist Blog posted (20 March) about the latest activities of attorney Jack Thompson, “who has made it a personal and professional mission to prevent the sale and distribution of violent video games”:
The Miami-based, Vanderbilt Law-grad has initiated several tort lawsuits relating to children who harm others and who then attribute their harm-causing activities to the playing of violent video games. Thompson’s basic contention is that video game companies owe a duty to consumers to either produce “responsible” games or to ensure that sales of violent ones go stringently regulated and be made unavailable to children—and their failure to do either should be considered negligent behavior.