Study: Aggressive kids like violent computer games
Oct 24, 2011, 3:06 GMT
Stuttgart, Germany - Aggressive children in the 8-to-12 age group have a preference for violent computer and video games, according to a new study by academics from two German universities.
It found that the games preferred by problem boys and girls who were seen as at-risk were more violent than those of their less-troublesome peers.
The research suggested there was a risk that this preference for violent video games would become entrenched in these children. However, the researchers found no evidence in the group they studied that the converse was true - that violent computer and video games led to increased aggression in real life.
'This is the good news from our study into the educational effects of media,' said Jens Vogelgesang of Hohenheim University. 'But it should be noted that this applies expressly only to the group of 8-to-12 year olds that we looked into in a study on the effects.'
In the case of older children, the negative effects from violent games on their behaviour has already been documented, said research team leader Maria von Salisch - and this remains a cause for concern.
'We are unable to rule out the possibility that an entrenched preference for violent computer and video games might over the course of a game-playing career lead to greater readiness to commit acts of violence.'
The researchers studied the behaviour of 324 Berlin primary school pupils who provided information on their computer game habits twice over the period of a year.
The subjects, from schools in different parts of the ethnically diverse German capital, had previously been assessed by their fellow pupils and teachers with respect to their aggressive behaviour, both physically and verbally.
The results of the study showed that aggressive primary school pupils preferred games in which blood flows. 'Less aggressive pupils certainly also experiment with violent games, but they more rarely develop a preference for this kind of game,' said Vogelgesang.
Computer and video games are extremely popular with primary school children, with 91 per cent of 8-to-12 year olds indicating they had at least one favourite electronic game.
At the second sampling after a year, there were often completely different games at the top of the list of preferences. 'Most children start out by trying out different types and then over the course of time develop a preference for a particular game or type of game,' said Von Salisch.