January 10th, 2018
Violence in video games and children – literature review part 2
In their book that reports findings from various studies, Anderson, Gentile and Buckley also provide support for the desensitization thesis from experimental and correlational studies. For instance, in the experimental study, which assigned children and adolescents randomly to non-violent, violent and T-violent games, the findings indicated that participants who played violent games exhibited violent behavior such as punishing opponents with high-noise blasts as opposed to those who did not play such violent games (74). However, unlike the perspective that children are more vulnerable than college students are to such video game violence, Anderson, Gentile and Buckley did not find significant differences between the vulnerabilities of children and the college students in acquiring aggressive behavior after playing violent video games. Concluding on the study, the authors noted that “even children’s video games can increase aggression of children and college students if the games contain a lot violent action” (77). In such respect then, it appears that children’s participation in video games could have deleterious effects of making them less sensitive to violent acts in real life.
Providing support to the desensitization theory, by delineating whether the effects of playing the video game differs from those of watching such games, is a study by Polman, de Castro and van Aken. In this study, using a sample of 57 children aged between 10 and 13 years, the authors found out boys who played the violent game (active violent condition), behaved significantly more aggressively than those who watched the violent game (passive violent condition) and those who played the non-violent game (active non-violent condition) (261). However, the study found out that, for girls, the acquisition of aggressive traits did not differ significantly whether the participant was in the active violent or passive violent condition (Polman, de Castro and van Aken 261). Such an aspect indicates that gender could be a mediating factor on children’s desensitization to violence after playing or watching violent video games. Proceed to part 3