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Yale study: Gaming 'does not appear to be dangerous to kids'

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By now, you’ve probably heard what’s been going on in D.C. The great state of California has taken an argument to the highest level of judicial authority. Its position: violent video games cause harm to minors. This supposed ‘harm’ has ranged from vague to fantastic in their legal briefs, but a new study from Yale is set to poke a huge hole in its boat.

Rani Desai, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine sums up the study’s findings very neatly: “Gaming does not appear to be dangerous to kids. We found virtually no association between gaming and negative health behaviors, particularly in boys.”

In fact, some of the study's findings are quite surprising. According to the report, filed November 15th in the online edition of Pediatrics, boys who play videogames are more likely to have higher GPAs, and are less likely to smoke or drink. The author of the study surmises that the fact that gaming in boys was correlative to generally positive, and arguably healthier behaviors, seems to indicate that it's just as normal to play video games as to play sports. Imagine that.


Above: Do you control it…or does it control you? 

However, the statistics for girls were very different. Gamer girls were cited to be more likely to get into fights, or bring a weapon to school. But Desai is quick to state, "This finding may suggest not that gaming leads to aggression but that more aggressive girls are attracted to gaming."

Gamers of both sexes were prone to consuming caffeine; however girl gamers apparently drink up to three or more servings than the boys’ one or two.

Among the 4,000 sampled, 5.8 percent of males and 3 percent of females demonstrated what has been called ‘problematic gaming’ (or ‘addiction’ to us poor laymen); however, those within those percentage groups also demonstrated a propensity to smoke, and drink. According to Christopher J. Ferguson, an assistant professor of clinical and forensic psychology at Texas A&M University commenting on the study, this is indicative of a ‘constellation’ of behavior.

"This study shows that, for the vast majority of children, video games are pretty harmless; that problem gaming may be part of a constellation of unhealthy behaviors. If a child can't turn off the games after a reasonable amount of time, isn't doing homework, isn't socializing with other kids - all [of that] can be signs of a problem that may need to be addressed,” said Ferguson. He went on to add, however, that ‘problem gaming’ is a correlative factor, not a causative one.

So why the hell does yet-another study matter?


Above: News flash - no one has played this for years 

Well, the same Christopher Ferguson, and 81 other scholars, has filled a brief with the Supreme Court in opposition to the California Video Game Law. Accusing the state of spending millions of dollars on something that isn’t broken, Ferguson cites that California’s flagship boogeyman, Postal, has never even been played by the vast majority of minors (according to a Pew research study). What’s more he suggests the state representatives are falling into the same hysteria as in the 1950’s where experts testified before the United States Senate that Batman and Robin were secretly gay, and reading their comics would lead youths to “delinquency and homosexuality."

“It's time to learn from these mistakes,” Ferguson says. “Some video games may be offensive, but being offensive and harmful are two different things. A law that distracts us from real causes of youth violence and diverts precious money from education and mental health into a law that will help no one is what is truly harmful.”

Will these studies impact the Supreme Court's ruling? Here’s hoping.

Nov 15, 2010

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27 comments

  • mrtimmy - January 5, 2011 2:03 a.m.

    I STILL PLAY POSTAL 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 12katlam - November 20, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    even if the law does go throw its not gonna stop kids from playing them, just like how the prohibition and making pot illegal never stopped anyone from doing them.
  • Kingsman - November 16, 2010 10:25 p.m.

    @Xerroz, A game might change me as a good book or movie might, but I won't suddenly go from mild-mannered soft spoken nerd to a murderous Rambo by virtue of playing a game (or watching porn) alone. I think that is what irks us about studies that say games make us 'aggresive'. 'Aggression' and 'violence' are not one and the same, despite what we play we've still minds of our own and we don't like our legislators or anyone else telling us different.
  • AA95mp - November 16, 2010 8:41 p.m.

    finially someone started thinking! rather then make shit up not naming any names *cough*alan titchmarsh*cough*
  • starhaw - November 16, 2010 8:38 p.m.

    see I heard this on the news and the ONLY part they stated was the problomatic gaming, IN which the News station I was watching made it seem like it was the whole study and that EVERYONE was like that,thing is they didn't say it was problomatic gaming/gamers..they just said that people who play video games are more likely to smoke,drink,do drugs and other things like that and I was like THATS BS!! BUT now that I've heard the full story and how they (the news station) made it seem like the study was all about how aggression and other things increases in people as they play video games, I know that the study showed the opposite and that the "Problomatic Gaming/gamers" was only a small percentile... Also I'm glad this study is finally showing our point as gamers...most other studies it seems like they've only been going at them narrow minded while this one does give the positive results (being that it does NOT cause violence) and the negative (being the Problomatic gamers).....but before this thing will finally be shut up and buried there need to be alot more studies done for "other" people besides gamers to believe the sewage being shoved down their throats by the media/fox news.
  • CongratulagentAgentTHEAgentAntista - November 16, 2010 6:47 p.m.

    Fffffff--- Congratulagent* Congratulagent Agent! That was a fantastic display of morning typing! GOOD JOB!
  • CongratulagentAgentTHEAgentAntista - November 16, 2010 6:46 p.m.

    @xerroz While yes playing games since your youth does probably change the outcome of your life; so can basically anything else. That's what life experiences do. Congratulatent Agent! That was a fine example of wisdom indeed!
  • xerroz - November 16, 2010 2:46 p.m.

    You're a fool if you don't think games can change you. I take this article as a grain of salt as this looks like what a video game company lobbyist would say. (which should tell you i dont give a damn what any lobbyist says). Just think about it..think how things would be different if you had not played X game or played any games at all. think how different you would be. heck everyone watches porn since 12 nowadays, think how different of a person you will be if you had never done so. What i'm saying is that without games and porn (just giving another example btw)you would be a totally different person. Anyways, instead of flaming me and wasting whatever time to type a response. Just imagine how you would be today if games and porn never existed in your life
  • Sy87 - November 16, 2010 2:03 p.m.

    Well thats study # what that no one ever pays attention to. That fact has been proven before yet Cali's Yang still wanted to push the bill. Anyway the dam government has better stuff to do than decide whether games are harmful or not. Thank you Mr. Yang for wasting my money when I could be using it to get more games. At least im willing to help the economy!
  • cyberpirate - November 16, 2010 11:20 a.m.

    so all they did was put what we gamers have known for years down on paper? cool
  • HawtKakez - November 16, 2010 6:49 a.m.

    Now this is a very interesting article as well as an interesting new research. It still doesn't answer my personal big question that I have in this whole shindig and that is what is the quantifiable effect. Mind you, I'm not for censorship and I am an avid gamer but I would like to know how far the effects, if any effect at all, comes from interactive entertainment. I know, it is practically impossible to analyze that since everyone will have different reactions but it is something I like to think about.
  • Fleshcrawl - November 16, 2010 5:59 a.m.

    Children belong outside in the sun shimmering traffic
  • lobsterhunt - November 16, 2010 5:27 a.m.

    YES! Freaking YALE is saying that gaming isn't dangerous to kids!
  • BobberyFan98 - November 16, 2010 4:06 a.m.

    I'm believe this will shine a new light on that Law. I mean, if freaking Yale did a study, you can trust it's true.
  • n00b - November 16, 2010 3:06 a.m.

    thats exactly me. i remember being made fun in elementary and highschool because of being the kid that was obsessed with games and stuff. when i look back all of those kinds that used to make fun of me are high school drop outs, on drugs or are having kids with out a proper job. so looks like i turned out alright
  • SeriousSean - November 16, 2010 2:32 a.m.

    Holy shit! Batman and Robin are gay?!?!
  • BishopofHippo93 - November 16, 2010 1:35 a.m.

    I'm actually writing an essay for my senior government class on how the first amendment pertains to electronic gaming. I got the assignment and this was the very first thing that popped into my head. I can't describe how useful this is guys, thank you so much!
  • Crabhand - November 16, 2010 1:34 a.m.

    Not only is this important because it pretty much exonerates games, it also addresses the issue of the money and time wasted on such a pointless issue.
  • IcelandMaelstrom - November 16, 2010 1:22 a.m.

    god, just reading that made me feel good, like i'm some sort of role model. which i really shouldn't be actually, but still
  • Tymiegie - November 16, 2010 12:57 a.m.

    Some smart quotes in this article. I'm glad to see this.

Showing 1-20 of 27 comments

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