We live in a society which seems to promote anger, violence and aggression. We cannot go a day where we look at our social media feeds and not see something violent. Action movies and programmes involving violence are becoming more prevalent. And we as a society are exposing our children to violence as a result. In this day and age it is hard to protect your child from the aggression and violence of this world. When they go to school they discuss the action packed film they saw at the cinema over the weekend or the fight that they saw on their Facebook feed. But one thing you can control is the violence that you expose your child to within your own home.
It has been established by Bandura that exposure to violent role models increases aggression in children, in comparison to those children who were exposed to non-aggressive role models or no role model at all. This is true for ‘live,’ filmed and cartoon role models. This means that the films or programmes your child watches can influence their behaviour.
It is well established that violent video games increase aggression. There is greater evidence of short-term effects from violent video games than of long-term effects. However, Hasan, Begue, Scharkow & Bushman (2013) conducted an experiment to look for the long term effects of violent video games. They found that over days the violent games players displayed an increase in aggressive behaviour, whereas those playing nonviolent video game showed no increase of aggressive behaviour. On the other hand it has been suggested that aggressive feelings post-gaming could be linked to gameplay mechanics of these violent games rather than the violent content.
Nevertheless, when anybody is exposed to a high level of violence frequently it becomes normal; your child will then become acclimatised to it. It doesn’t shock your child anymore, so when they see violence in real life it is more acceptable. At least when they turn 18 they can make the decision to expose themselves to violence, whereas if you allow your child to grow up playing these games, violence becomes normal to them.
So our advice would be to seriously consider the consequences before allowing your child to play any violent video game and to take into account the rating of the game. Also take into account the gender of your child and any additional extras your child may have as being male, autistic and having ADHD increases the brain’s sensitivity to electronic stimulation.
However, as well as helping to produce angry individuals, violent video games do appeal to those with anger issues as these individuals need an outlet for their anger. We suggest helping your child to choose a disciplined sport, for example karate or boxing. These sports will appeal to your child as they include sparring (controlled fighting) but as they are heavily disciplined, your child will have to channel their anger and aggression in a controlled manner. Even going for a run will help as physical exertion will decrease your child’s anger. After all, your child’s wellbeing is your priority.
Written by Hannah Johnson