Will Violent Video Games Influence My Children’s Behavior?

With concerns about teen violence on the rise, many parents wonder if the video games their own children or teenagers may be playing are having an impact on their behavior. In this article, we will explore the correlation between violent video games and behavior, the nature of newer video games, the distinction between violent movies and video games, and common signs of addiction. Lastly, we will touch on effective communication strategies to address an issue like this with your child or teen.

Teen Violence Seems Like It Is Growing

The perception of growing teen violence has sparked discussions about its potential causes (including the influence of media), most specifically concerning violent video games. While societal concerns are valid, it is important to examine the research and understand the nuances surrounding this topic.


Are Newer Video Games More Violent?

Video game content has evolved over time, and some newer games do feature more violence than their predecessors. However, it is crucial to consider the rating systems in place to help parents make informed decisions about age-appropriate content. Game ratings provide guidance on the level of violence, sexual content, and language present in each game.


Are Violent Movies and Violent Video Games Different?

While violent movies and video games share similarities in their portrayal of violence, there are notable differences. Video games offer interactive experiences, allowing players to actively participate in simulated violence. This interactive nature raises concerns about desensitization and potential behavioral influences, which may differ from the passive consumption of violent movies.


What Are Some Common Signs My Child or Teen Is Addicted?

Recognizing the signs of video game addiction is crucial in addressing potential behavioral concerns. Signs may include a preoccupation with gaming, neglecting responsibilities, withdrawal from socialactivities, irritability when not playing, and declining academic performance. If you notice these signs, it is essential to take proactive steps to address possible issues your child might be facing or being affected by.


Talking to Your Child or Teen to Avoid This Problem:

Open and honest communication is key when discussing the influence of violent video games with your child or teen. Instead of blaming or banning video games outright, foster a supportive and non-judgmental environment. Engage in conversations about the content they are exposed to, set limits on screen time, and encourage a healthy balance between gaming and other activities. It is also vital to monitor and guide their gaming choices, ensuring they are playing age-appropriate games.


Our Recommendation

The impact of violent video games on children’s behavior is a complex topic that requires careful consideration. While it is important to acknowledge the concerns surrounding teen violence, it is equally crucial to approach the subject with an evidence-based perspective. While some newer video games may contain violence, proper age ratings and parental guidance can help mitigate any potential negative effects.

Recognizing signs of addiction and engaging in open conversations with your child or teen about video game content and responsible gaming practices can help create a healthy relationship with gaming. By fostering communication, setting boundaries, and promoting a balanced lifestyle, parents can play an active role in guiding their children’s behavior and ensuring their overall well-being.


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About the Author

Clayton Cranford
Clayton Cranford is a retired Sergeant from Orange County Sheriff's Department in California and owner of Total Safety Solutions LLC. Clayton is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on social media, child safety, and behavioral threat assessments. Clayton is the author of the definitive book on cyber safety for families, “Parenting in the Digital World.” Clayton has more than 20 years of teaching experience and was awarded the 2015 National Bullying Prevention Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, and the 2015 American Legion Medal of Merit. Clayton was a member of the County's Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, School Resource Officer program, and Juvenile Bureau.