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Video games with heroes make kids aggressive

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    Video games with heroes make kids aggressive

    Video games with heroes make kids aggressive

    Yomiuri Shimbun

    Computer games in which children can identify with a hero or heroine who attacks his or her enemies are more likely to make them aggressive than games featuring indiscriminate violence, according to a recent survey.

    In November and December 2001, researchers led by Ochanomizu University Prof. Akira Sakamoto conducted a survey on the effects of video games popular among 592 fifth-grade students at six primary schools, mainly in Kanagawa and Niigata prefectures.

    One year later, they conducted a follow-up survey with the same students and examined changes in five aggression-related areas, including hostility to the people around them.

    The survey found that children who often played games featuring good-looking, intelligent or attractive heroes or heroines who attacked an enemy were significantly more aggressive one year later.

    Children who regularly played games in which they could enact violent reprisals against "bad guys" showed similar increases in aggressive behavior.

    But contrary to the expectations of the researchers, the aggressiveness of children who played games involving characters attacking and killing many other characters indiscriminately or that featured other violent content decreased in the year between surveys.

    Sakamoto believes this might be "because children tend to identify themselves more with heroic white hats," he said, leading them to imagine themselves as the hero or heroine.

    Meanwhile, a survey of 522 parents of the children, which examined their attitudes to the video games their children played, found they did not pay much attention to the characters who appeared in the games.

    So this means my kids can play GTA then?