Top Pro & Con Arguments


Violent video games provide opportunities for children to explore consequences of violent actions, develop their moral compasses and release their stress and anger (catharsis) in the game, leading to less real world aggression.

Violent games allow youth to experiment with moral issues such as war, violence, and death without real world consequences. A researcher at the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media wrote about her research: “One unexpected theme that came up multiple times in our focus groups was a feeling among boys that violent games can teach moral lessons… Many war-themed video games allow or require players to take the roles of soldiers from different sides of a conflict, perhaps making players more aware of the costs of war.” [2] [38]

A peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that children, especially boys, play video games as a means of managing their emotions: “61.9% of boys played to ‘help me relax,’ 47.8% because ‘it helps me forget my problems,’ and 45.4% because ‘it helps me get my anger out.” [37]

Researchers point to the cathartic effect of video games as a possible reason for why higher game sales have been associated with lower crime rates. [84] A peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Adolescent Research concluded that “Boys use games to experience fantasies of power and fame, to explore and master what they perceive as exciting and realistic environments (but distinct from real life), to work through angry feelings or relieve stress, and as social tools.” The games serve as a substitute for rough-and-tumble play. [36]

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