Violent Video Games During Childhood

If you're worried that violent video games might alter your child's behavior, keep reading. In this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know.
Violent Video Games During Childhood

Last update: 29 April, 2019

Many parents worry about the time their children spend in front of screens playing video games, especially for long periods of time. In fact, some games have violent content that’s not appropriate for young kids. They can even have a negative impact on little ones.

Therefore, in this article, we’ll go over how violent video games influence childhood so you know how to handle them.

Certainly, video games are becoming more and more popular with children and teenagers. Over the years, they’ve become more realistic and sophisticated, and they let you go online and connect with people all over the world. While some of them are educational, others are violent and promote aggressive behavior.

Children and teenagers can spend too many hours playing games. Sometimes, they have trouble controlling how much time they spend. As a mother, you have a very important role.

In addition to controlling the amount of time they spend with these games, it’s important to realize that some might be violent and aren’t good for your children.

Research on violent video games in adolescence

The most widely-recognized positive aspect is that video games can help children improve their hand-eye coordination and computer skills, among other benefits.

However, a study by the American Psychological Association shows a consistent relationship between violent video games and an increase in aggressive behavior, violent thoughts and aggressive feelings.

On the other hand, they also decrease social behavior, empathy, and sensitivity to aggression. In addition, the same research shows that no one factor always leads people to act violently.

However, all of the risk factors combined lead kids to have more aggressive behavior. Playing violent video games is one of them.

Violent Video Games During Childhood

What do violent video games contain?

Children spend many hours playing with video games, and they’re very influential when they’re young. Therefore, it’s very important that you monitor the kinds of media your children use. 

Here are some signs that the games your children are playing aren’t appropriate:

  • Include criminal behavior and lack of respect for authority
  • Sexual content
  • Racial, sexual and gender stereotypes
  • Killing people or animals
  • Using drugs and alcohol
  • Obscene language and gestures

Advice for parents

As a mother of children that love video games, it’s important to pay attention to how they act at home, at school, in their social circle, and their mental or psychological performance. It’s important to control what your children do, even more so when it comes to video games.

Here are some tips to keep in mind so that your children play video games responsibly. That way, you lessen the chance of them having problems:

  • Don’t let preschool children play video games.
  • Play with your children to share the experience. Then, talk about the content of the game.
  • Check if the game is appropriate for their age, both in content and development.
  • Establish clear rules about content and game time, both inside and outside the home.
  • Control online interactions and warn your children about the dangers of the internet.
  • Set time limits for screen time.
  • Encourage participation in other activities. Especially, encourage your children to get lots of exercise.
  • The best time to play games is after children have finished homework and chores.
Violent Video Games During Childhood

Should I talk to a professional?

Finally, remember that every once in a while, age-appropriate games are fun and can even help children develop. Some promote learning, problem solving, and even help with fine motor skills and coordination.

However, violent video games during childhood can cause children to become insensitive to violence and become more aggressive. If you think your children have bad habits or behavioral problems from violent video games, you should go to the doctor as soon as possible.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Jiménez, J. M., & Araya, Y. C. (2012). El efecto de los videojuegos en variables sociales, psicológicas y fisiológicas en niños y adolescentes. Retos. Nuevas tendencias en Educación Física, deporte y recreación, (21), 43-49.
  • Vaca Vaca, P., & Romero Serrano, D. (2007). Construcción de significados frente a los contenidos violentos de los videojuegos en niños de 11 a 14 años. Acta Colombiana de Psicología, Vol. 10, no. 1 (ene.-jun. 2007); p. 35-48.
  • Celis, H. G. R., & Escobar, M. S. (2012). Consumo de videojuegos y juegos para computador: influencias sobre la atención, memoria, rendimiento académico y problemas de conducta. Artículos en PDF disponibles desde 1994 hasta 2013. A partir de 2014 visítenos en www. elsevier. es/sumapsicol, 18(2), 99-110.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.