Does Video Gaming Instill Violence in Children?

Healthline states a consistent relationship between violent video game use and aggression. Specifically, video game rage decreases the following in the gamer:

  • Prosocial behavior
  • Empathy
  • Sensitivity to aggression

On the flip side, a recent study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization of boys aged 8 to 18 who played violent video games found no evidence that the boys’ violence against other people increased after playing a violent video game.

So… which is it?

There are no clear-cut studies. However, parents should have limits on what their children play. Here are eight practical tips.

Make Video Gaming a Positive Part of Your Child’s Life

  1. Get familiar with a video game’s content before allowing your child or teen to buy it, download it, or play it on- or offline. As a parent or caregiver, you may not always realize video games’ content.
  2. Check the Electronic Software Ratings Board (ESRB) ratings. Thousands of video games are available at retailers on and offline. This makes it hard to pinpoint the content of each one. Instead, check the ESRB ratings, the video game equivalent of movie ratings. These are a great starting point for choosing appropriate games for your family.
    video gaming, video game ratings
  3. Create a media plan for your family. Playing video games can crowd out time for essential activities such as exercise, playing outside, reading, or doing schoolwork. Using screens close to bedtime can also disrupt sleep patterns.
  4. Consider setting a kitchen timer for how long your kids can play video games. When your kids hear the timer go off, gaming time is over.
  5. Check the parental control features on your family’s game consoles, computers, and smartphones. Some allow you to restrict certain types of content by age, for example, and schedule time limits for play sessions.
  6. Communicate with the parents of your child’s friends about the rules you set for your child.
  7. Keep gaming in the common family area. Just as you do when they’re using the internet or watching TV, keep an eye on your kids while they’re playing video games. Consider making any handheld gaming consoles family property rather than each child’s own.
  8. Try video gaming yourself. Playing a video game with your child or teen will expose you to the terminology of their world. Multiple player video games also allow your entire family to play together.



Tim Dimoff does not think it’s wise to regularly let your children read, write, view, or play video games with violent themes. On the contrary, keeping a life-balance situation will help reduce violence in the next generation!

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