SHOCKING HEADLINE: A new study posted in the Journal of Psychology of Popular Media Culture finds a correlation between playing games for an extended amount of time and behavioral issues in teenagers. KEEP THAT POKEMON AWAY FROM THEM TWEENS, OR YOU’RE GONNA GET TROUBLE!
The new study posted in the Journal of Psychology of Popular Media Culture evaluated the amount of time spent on video games per day and the behavior habits of teenage students in class. The Washington Post has a pretty good break down of the study in general, so check it out here. As you might expect, teens who played more than 2 hours a night (on average) exhibited more behavioral issues, such as hyperactivity, and were less interested in their academics. The sun is also hot, and Mario sometimes jump (SPOIIILLLEERRRR). Furthermore, the study found that gamers who played solitary video games showed less of these behavioral and academic problems than those who played competitive online games. However, teenagers who played online social games were less likely to exhibit social problems and were found to be more emotionally stable. PUT THAT ON THE BOX BLIZZARD!
I apologize if I sound cynical about the first half of the study, but this form of study is one that we’ve seen several times in the past few years. It’s correlation without causation. It’s easy to find a common thread in video games between respondents that are hyperactive and young because it’s an easy target. 10 years ago similar studies were done to say that internet use is leading to behavioral issues, 30 years ago it was TV corrupting our kids, and 60 years ago it was too much Radio leading kids astray (NPR led me to satanism). It’s not to say that video game consumption isn’t an issue, but it’s a outlet for other isss. We have a habit of demonizing whatever media is popular among youths as corrupting, which in this era is video games.
That said, the study is one step in understanding how video games effect our lives, which is obviously something we like here on the blog. It may not be a drastic leap forward, but perhaps it will pave the way for future research evaluating how video games lead to specific social behaviors. A step is still a step, right? We’ll get there one day…