Violent Video Games | Media Effects | Children and Television | ADHD Causes | Violence in the Media
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology


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Book covers in this column are Amazon-linked (off-site). Unless otherwise stated, all text links are to on-site AYCNP pages.

Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy, 2011. by Craig A. Anderson, Douglas A. Gentile, Katherine E. Buckley

"This is a shocking but necessary read for anyone working or living with children or adolescents. Although this is a controversial subject, this book successfully opens the readers eyes to the psychological, sociological and political implications of violent video games for the mass population." --The Psychologist

Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy , by Craig A. Anderson, Douglas A. Gentile, Katherine E. Buckley

This is an excellent reference from Iowa State University. It is a must-read on this subject. Violent video games do make children more aggressive, and also can contribute to symptoms of ADHD.

The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence - from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, by N.L. Carnagey, C.A. Anderson, B.J. Bushman

What we discern intuitively is scientifically proven in this report, which provides evidence that playing violent video games does contribute towards desensitization to real-life violence.

Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: A Parent and Educator's Guidebook, by the AYCNP

Playing violent video games does contribute to attentional problems such as is common with many boys with ADHD, according to the most current research (2011). This book provides information on how parents and educators can help children to overcome ADHD and childhood depression, naturally.

Page updated: November 21, 2015

Video Games, Television and Media Violence

Effect of media violence, television, video games
on children

The fast pace of television commercials, and most video games that children are playing today, does have a pronounced affect on the mind. This is especially true for children and adolescents, whose brains are rapidly forming and physiologically developing daily and rapidly.

Excessive mental stimulation through fast-paced video games can affect the mental health of children, contribute to ADHD and other mental health disorders. Some children, boys especially, become addicted to video games of all types.
Video game addiction is a serious problem among preteen and teen boys. One boy who played video games five hours a day said, "I want to stop playing so much, but I can't." Photo: Quinn Norton

Too much television can contribute to depression and playing video games can contribute to ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is not a coincidence that in cities where there is what one school psychologist described as "an epidemic" of ADHD, the larger percentage of boys, more than 50%, play violent video games, often daily, and often for long hours each day.

The mental tension that often builds up with TV, with fast paced commercials and fast clips rapidly changing commercials and intensity can contribute to anxieties and depression, not to mention the often depressing nature of news stories and news magazines stories. The sedentary lifestyle that the average American succumbs to in daily watching television contributes to both depression and to physical health problems, which work hand in hind. It has been said that "television is the chief culprit" in such a lifestyle.

Aggressive Video Games and Child Psychology - History of Video Games

Video games similarly can have an impact no the psychological profile of children. There are some positive educational video games that can be used to supplement education. By and large video games are not being used for education but usually it is the more violent video games that children and youths gravitate to. Social isolation can be a byproduct, in addition to desensitization to violence. Many video games which are not necessarily considered to be violent are aggressive. This includes most race driving games and many sports games which exploit the excitement of aggressiveness.

It is interesting to note that, in the evolution of video games, the first video games were designed by military engineers who used missile technology to produce the simple "Pong" style of video games. Within a short time, simple games involving shooting games were developed. Shooting in video games, whether it be an asteroids or a cartoon parachute penguin, shooting a police officer, or George Bush blowing away Muslims, remains a fixed feature of most video games which are popular with children and even that are often being played on public school computers.

Research by Distinguished Professor Craig Anderson of Iowa State University and as reported in the March 2010 issue of Psychological Bulletin, a journal of the American Psychological Association, concludes, conclusively, according to the report, that playing violent video games promotes aggressiveness in children and adolescents. Additionally, research from Iowa State University also concludes that playing violent video games contributes to attentional problems, and might be a key factor for some boys in the development of symptoms of ADHD. Iowa State University video game report page. (on-site)

Firm and Responsive Parenting - Restricting Video Game Time

One father who took away video games and TV from his children during the school week reported a remarkable improvement in his 10 year old's grades. The child used to play every day after school for an hour or two in addition to television and sometimes movies.

Restricting his video game time to the weekends made a big difference, and the boy who was failing, achieved the Honor Roll without nine months. Other parents have taken similar steps with similar, if not as dramatic results. (Newark, NJ, 2007, 2008. South River, NJ, 2006).

Video Games and Special Needs Children

Many in special education have described the most seriously violent video games which they regularly play, in some classes more than 60% of the special education class played the most violent video games available. It is possible that violent video games undermine both spiritual, emotional and psychological, as well as academic success. Video games are implicated by psychologists as contributing to symptoms of ADHD. (Nigg, J, 2006). This might be true of violence in the media in general, as it has been verified in clinical studies with violent R-rated movies.

Both parents and educators need to be aware of the tremendous impact aggressive, violent, and extremely violent games can have on a child's mind and values.

An active mind helps one to keep stable and out of depression. Television takes less mental energy than reading, but at the same times tends to drain one's energy and is mind dulling.

Doing without television and cutting down on media time can help many. The rapid fire "sound bite" imagery of TV can be responsible for some forms of epilepsy, contributing to symptoms of ADHD, as well as to obesity and depression. Doing without television gives the mind a rest. The TV, movies and video games, as well as the constancy of the radio in the car, overload the senses. It can be part of the package that leads to depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder or OCD. Cutting out television isn't as bad as it sounds. Reading strengthens the mind and the news is absorbed in a more gentle way.

Media Violence, Video Games and Poor Grades

Additionally, studies indicated that TV, video games and movies (R-rated or violent), effect grade performance of children. Children who are exposed to violent media influences have dramatically worse grades than children who are not, or who spend less time on the media. (October 2006, Pediatrics ).

TV and movies as well as video games are becoming increasingly violent. The Internet provides easier access for children both at home and at school. Children need protection, but also education in these matters.

References for Video Games and Television Violence - Affects on Children

Anderson, C., (2011). ISU study proves conclusively that violent video game play makes more aggressive kids. Iowa State University News Service.

Imam, S. MD, MPH; Sargent, J. MD. (October 2, 2006). Association Between Television, Movie, and Video Game Exposure and School Performance. Pediatrics.

Pages Related to Video Games, Television and Media Violence
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Violent Video Games Contributes to Aggression and Attention Problems in Children

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