By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Violent video games not always a concern
Placeholder Image
Q: My son loves video games and spends a ton of time playing them. Some are sports games, but others are fairly violent war-related games. I’ve heard warnings about violent games breeding violent behavior, and I’m worried. Should I be?
A: I certainly understand why you’re worried. Every time a new game hits the shelves, alarm bells start ringing all over the country. But the reality is more complex.
The truth is that it’s pretty hard to establish a solid link between video games and the tendency to engage in violence in the real world. Many of the studies on this topic are deeply flawed. But one recent study by Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson is well-designed, compelling, and above all, reassuring.
Kutner and Olson studied 1,300 middle-school video gamers in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. While studying children in their real-world settings and family context, they discovered the link between violence in video games and violent or antisocial behaviors is blown way out of proportion. What’s more, they found that many children can and do use video games to reinforce certain social skills, release stress and relax. Bottom line? There’s no need to panic.
The real problem with video games comes when they start monopolizing a child’s time. The solution? Create and enforce game-playing rules in your household. Keep screen time within reasonable limits and watch more for obsessive or antisocial behaviors in your child than in the games. If you don’t see any, relax and let him enjoy the downtime and enjoyment that reasonable video gaming provides.
Family psychologist John Rosemond answers questions at
Sign up for our e-newsletters