Violent video games can lead to violent behavior

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) – The type of video games kids play can impact who they become. Several studies have shown that violent games can have an impact on children by making them immune or desensitized to violence.

“Kids playing these online first person shooters, they’re interacting with real people and I think that’s the big difference because there’s a lot of swearing, racial slurs, etc. . because, again, you’re behind a computer or a video game screen,” said Dr. Zachary Keller, psychiatrist at CHI Health.

With more than half of all video gamesrated by the Electronic Software Ratings Board, containing a form of violence — young people are at enormous risk of being exposed to real-world slander when playing online.

“Humans at this age are just not really designed to handle all stimuli properly. All that dopamine, all that fight stuff. I think it’s very, and I don’t want to use the trigger word, but it definitely puts the kids in a more irritable state of mind,” Keller said.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this notion as more children were isolated and at home than ever before. The duration of the pandemic and restrictions was most evident among children.

“I’ve had several patients who, once they self-isolated, that was really their only motivator. Get out of school as quickly as possible or don’t go to school at all and play pretty much all day and if the parents are working it’s pretty hard to control that,” Keller said.

Dr. Keller recommended that parents and guardians generally wait until middle school to expose children to violating games or TV shows, and also to monitor screen time on video games.

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