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Video games don’t turn children into blood-thirsty killers – Harvard research.
Kutner and Olson studied 1200 middle-school children in a $1.5 million federally funded study. Instead of studying the children in the laboratory, like other studies, the pair actually sat down and talked to kids after long bouts of game playing – sometimes in excess of 15 hours a week. The lucky kids played a variety of games from the very non-violent The Sims to grandma shooting, pedestrian bashing Grand Theft Auto.
They discovered that children who played violent video games – those rated Mature or above – were just relieving stress. Some children did exhibit some playful fighting after playing games, but this was similar to what children have always done after watching action or Karate-type movies.
Perhaps the most startling finding (at least for people the likes of Jack Thompson) is that boys that don’t play any video games at all are now considered to be socially inept. A danger sign for boys is “not playing video games at all, because it looks like for this generation, video games are a measure of social competence,” says Kutner and Olsen.