Cultural Anthropology

Will violent video games turn a good kid into a bully?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Research has shown that as many as 15 percent of students are bullied and that the problem is particularly bad among the middle school population [source: NMSA]. There are lots of proposed reasons why people bully and why some kids are more likely to be bullied. It's also not possible to blame the actions of a few kids on any one activity.

    Our personalities and behaviors are the products of thousands of influences. The media we consume is just one of those factors. Experts like Dr. Craig A. Anderson argue that even if only a few people react to violent video games in an aggressive way, it's a problem. Others like Dr. Cheryl K. Olson say that there's not enough evidence to support the assertion that violent video games push people into committing serious acts of violence.

    There is scientific basis for video games making kids more violent. A study at the Indiana University School of Medicine looked at brain scans of adolescents playing video games. The participants playing violent games showed increased activity in the parts of the brain associated with emotional arousal and less activity in the parts of the brain that control inhibition, attention and self-control [source: MSNBC]. The effect did not occur when the adolescents played nonviolent games. Researchers involved in the study would not say that a young person playing a violent game would suddenly go out and commit a violent act or bully, but they did caution parents to take note of the relationship they found between playing violent video games and brain activities.

    Rock Star of Vancouver even created a game called "Bully" and an updated "Scholarship Edition" in 2006. The game takes place in a high school; a 15-year-old boy navigates high school life alone. Many teachers and parents came out against the game, saying it glorified violence and bullying [source: CTV].

     

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