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04. 10. 2006

Violence and videogames

Yahoo news reports the findings of a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh about violence and videogames. Of course, the conclusions are very dramatic, warning parents and kids about the risks of playing videogames like Grand Theft Auto III and The Simpsons: Hit and Run (oh come on! The Simpsons!?!?).

Playing the violent game boosted young men's blood pressures, and appeared to have more of an effect on those who came from more violent homes or communities, the researchers report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Shouldn't that really be the issue here -- that the violent environment these kids grew up in is actually the cause of their reactions to the "violent game," or for that matter to any other violence-portraying medium?

I am not going to question the findings of the above-mentioned study, as I am sure videogames have negative aspects just as well as positive aspects; instead I am going to post a list of links to articles that investigate the positive effects of videogames. Just to give some perspective:

How do video games affect child health? By fueling violence, shrinking attention, promoting obesity and dulling interest in academic pursuits, if their critics are to be believed. But some physicians, psychiatrists and public health experts see a more positive side: They're betting electronic games can be adapted as tools to ease medical treatments, improve patient outcomes and boost fitness and knowledge for users young and old.

When stroke victims played virtual reality games in which they imagined they were diving with sharks or snowboarding down a narrow slope, their ability to walk eventually improved, researchers reported in a small study.


Rosser looks like a football player and cracks jokes like a comic, but his job as a top surgeon and director of the Advanced Medical Technologies Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York is to find better ways to practice medicine. At the top of his list -- video games.


Playing virtual reality computer games may help treat the condition known as amblyopia, or lazy eye, say researchers.


Via Opposable Thumbs

Posted by Camilla    Category: current affairs
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Comments (1)

I can't say that I'm surprised that playing a video game raised the blood pressure. It is a game/competition after all. Also "appeared to have more of an effect on those who came from more violent homes" is obscure enough to mean anything. I'm curious if a similar study on any highschool sport would reveal the exact same results.

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