According to TIME’s Healthland blog, “Research finds that children who play violent video games or watch violent TV can become violent themselves.” The blog goes on to ask, “Are kids simply mimicking what they see on the screen, or could gaming have a more profound effect on their brains, affecting behavior?”
The latter is in fact true, new research shows. After a week of playing violent, first-person shooters, “young men showed less (brain) activity in areas that involved emotions, attention and inhibition of impulses.”
When Dr. Vincent Matthews of Indiana University (who ran the latest study on the topic) “brought the participants back after a week of not playing video games, their brain activity had changed again, reverting to more normal reactions, but their brain functions still weren’t quite the same as before they were exposed to the violent games.”
Healthland reports, “The brain changes that Matthews’ group saw were similar to those seen in teens with destructive sociopathic disorders.” Oh boy – that’s bad news. As someone who is well-acquainted with the way sociopathy can ruin lives, knowing that violent video games can cause similar behaviors makes me want to see them banned. Many people argue (and have argued here on this very blog in the comments section) that violent video games are harmless as long as they’re played by young adults and not young children and that these types of games are protected under the First Amendment. I don’t disagree about the First Amendment part, but one thing’s for sure – violent video games are banned from my house!