The Debate on Video Games

“Just because you play as a criminal doesn’t mean you’ll become one.” This in a nutshell is the conclusion of Harvard Med School researchers Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olsen, who wrote the book, “Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do.” They refuted alleged misconceptions about the cause and effect relationship between violent video games and violent behavior, “that there is no data to support the simple-minded concerns that video games cause violence.” But before you grab your X-box or PSP, read on.

How did they come up with conclusion? They did a two-year study of 1,200 middle-school students. Most of the data were collected through interviews. Yes, the gamers themselves claimed that violent games do not make them violent. There lies the flaw of this study. Who in his right mind would admit that he became violent because of those video games? Would young gamers incriminate themselves? Plus, Kutner and Olsen admitted they “did note a link between mature-rated titles and aggressive behavior, as a significant number of both boys and girls who played M-rated titles reported getting into more fights over the past year than kids who didn’t play M-rated games.” But they “point out that this simply demonstrates a correlation between violent games and aggression, not that one causes the other, suggesting the possibility that the kids attracted to mature-rated games were naturally aggressive to begin with.” (Source: Yahoo! News)

Of course, we are not blaming everything on video games. It is not as easy as just banning our kids from playing video games. The least we could say is that it is a contributing factor to childhood hostility that may eventually lead to adult aggression. We parents must realize that we are responsible for what our children play with. We have a bigger influence than environment on the lives of our children. I also agree that there is no guarantee that our children would grow up godly, even with faithful Bible instruction. But, without God’s Word, it is guaranteed that our children would not grow godly. (See Ephesians 6:4)

Brethren, let us train up our children in the way they should go.

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