Moving to Learn

Ten reasons why children under the age of 12 should not play violent video games.

Video games are a ubiquitous form of entertainment in today’s children and youth, and while fun and exciting, video games have a dark side that parents, teachers and clinicians can no longer afford to ignore. The recent rise in mass killings by gun, knife and moving vehicles, has wrongly focused on gangs and gun control as a primary intervention. Society would be wise to shift attention toward understanding the underlying components of a mass killer. While there are likely multiple factors contributing to the origins of mass killers, we do know that all shooters are gamers, and that gangs use video games to practice the art of shooting. Immersion in a virtual reality of violence has profound impact on developing brains, highlighting the urgency in looking at what type and how much violent media our children are exposed to, and at what age. Regarding brain and body development, what children do determines who they become. Children who excessively engage in mindless, fast paced, violent media content, will have a much different brain and body than a child who plays outside in nature. The new generation video games contain substantial amounts of increasingly realistic representations of physical and sexualized violence. The mature nature of such games is not suitable for children under the age of eighteen, yet many children I work with are playing violent, mature content as young as age 3. Managing video game use by children is not easy, but well worth considering with reference to the negative ramifications of gaming overuse on child health and wellness. Three parameters are important to consider in video game management: duration, content, and age of first exposure. Children who start gaming later in childhood, and who follow expert guidelines for game duration and content (see below), will demonstrate less negative effects. Whereas children who play fast paced, violent video games for long periods, and who start gaming as a young child, will exhibit a greater number of below noted negative effects. It is advised that children who experience 3 or more of the following escalating conditions should work with their parents, physician and/or therapist to reduce video game duration, change to non-violent content, and quit violent gaming altogether if < 12 years of age. This is a hard step for most parents to take, and an even harder step for parents with children exhibiting adverse effects of video games. Parents cannot continue to look away from these potential or real problems in their children. What we resists, persists; what we look at, disappears.

  1. Physical Harm

When children are gaming their bodies are sedentary and their hearts and brains overstimulated, causing significant physical harm. Developing bodies crave movement, yet video games entrance and hypnotize the brain into telling the body to sit still, often for very long periods. Psychiatrist Dr. Victoria Dunckley author of “Reset your child’s brain” reports that when children play video games, their sympathetic nervous system responds with a hyperarousal state of “flight or fight” characterized by adrenalin release from adrenal glands and dopamine production in the brain. We know that sustained high blood pressure and increased heart rate from prolonged gaming, increases risk for heart attack and stroke in later years. A child who plays video games who is also taking stimulant medication for adhd, or a gaming child who is physically unfit, increases their risk for eventual heart attack and stroke. In over 30 years as a pediatric occupational therapist, I have observed rapid escalation in prescription of stimulant medications to incredibly unfit children who refuse to participate in PE or outdoor activities. Causal factors for video game induced hyperarousal are fast paced and violent content, bright lights, rewards, multitasking, and interactivity. Long term high adrenalin stress states can result in chronic adrenal fatigue, implicated in a number of physical illnesses including cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Question: Is your child physically healthy?

To Do: More green time, less screen time. Only allow screens if homework finished and kids have played outside for at least one hour after school. Get out the bikes; do more family-based activities.

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  1. Brain Damage

To achieve functional efficiency during brain development, the brain prunes or cuts away neuronal tracks to areas of the brain that are not being used. The frontal lobes of the brain are known for executive functions such as attention, memory, and impulse control which are critical for academic success. Because brains develop in conjunction with stimuli in the surrounding environment, media content in high screen users is key regarding brain pruning. Exposure to mindful or educational content results in active or constructive learning, which maintains and strengthens neuronal tracks to frontal lobes. Whereas exposure to mindless or entertainment content such as fast paced and violent video games, constitutes passive or destructive learning which research shows rarely requires use of frontal lobes, resulting in frontal lobe pruning. Again, ‘what you do determines who you become’. Numerous research studies have documented frontal lobe atrophy in children who game over 4-5 hours per day. While brain development has a degree of plasticity or ability to repair damage, over half of the brain is hard wired at age 12, and the majority of the brain is hard wired at age 20 years. Children have the right to a childhood free from violence. Encouraging outdoor play in nature can heal the neurological damage created by overexposure of violent media content.

Question: Is your child impulsive or has difficulty paying attention?

To Do: Talk with your child’s teacher to see how they are doing academically, and ensure your child is not allowed to game at school.

  1. Sleep Deprivation

The National Sleep Foundation reports that over 60% of children and youth are chronically sleep deprived. While we know that sleep is essential for brain repair and body health, what the general public doesn’t know is that sleep deprivations increases incidence of obesity, diabetes, poor academic performance, risk taking, heart problems (stroke and heart attack) and even cancer. During my classroom-based Tech Talks, 75% of students report they are allowed screens in their bedrooms and 50% report they use screens when they should be sleeping.

Question: Is your child using screens late or in the middle of the night?

To Do: Prohibit all screen usage one hour prior to bed; book, bath, bed. Do not allow screens in bedrooms, or any other area where you can’t monitor content e.g. back seat of car, bathroom, when you’re not home.

  1. Violence

With rise in video gaming, prolific research is documenting concomitant rise in violence and aggression. In 2009 the American Academy of Pediatrics profiled extensive studies showing media violence is causally linked to child aggression, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed. Early exposure to violent media content has been shown to increase risk of violent behavior. The American Academy of Pediatrics published a policy statement Virtual Violence in July 2016 advising  pediatricians, parents, industry and policy makers regarding current video game research and recommendations. Regarding research findings, Virtual Violence policy states: “Summarizing the results of > 400 studies including violent media of all types, researchers found there was a significant association between exposure to media violence and aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, and physiologic arousal. Another study performed a similar analysis focusing only on video games. The results, based on 140 such studies, found slightly larger negative effect sizes. Some contend, rightly, that these correlations are in the small to moderate range, but they are stronger than the associations between passive smoking and lung cancer, and many municipalities have banned smoking because of that risk”. APA goes on to recommend that children under the age of 6 years have no exposure to media violence, and first-person shooter games should be restricted from children under the age of 12 years.

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Question: Has your child threatened to harm you or themselves if video games are restricted?

To Do: Get your family physician on board to talk with your child about video games and if needed, get a referral for a family counsellor or therapist immediately. This is an urgent situation and requires assistance from trained professionals. Check out Common Sense Media’s list of non-violent video games!

  1. Game Transfer Phenomena

Media imagery affects behavior, a fact capitalized on by the advertising industry. Video game imagery is increasingly realistic and highly immersive, even more so with the onset of large screens and virtual reality headsets. Research is now documenting Game Transfer Phenomena, where gamers retain visual imagery and violent behaviors endemic in the game and transfer these to real life. A study of adult gamers showed 71% visualized video game imagery with eyes closed after gaming; 31% visualized imagery with eyes open. This raises the question of what children experience following video game immersion. The problem with younger children is that they are more impressionable, and what they see on TV or video games, they act out in real life. Gamer brain is becoming increasingly problematic in schools where children act out scenes from violent mature video games resulting in acts of sexualized and physical violence toward other students. One 9-year-old boy I assessed who spoke incessantly about playing Halo Zombies, threw a rock at a passing truck breaking the window stating “I thought I saw zombies in it”. Matthew de Grood, a noted ‘chronic video gamer’, killed five college students stating “I thought they were zombies”. Dr. Andrew Haag testifying psychiatrist in the trial proceedings, stated that de Grood “was having delusional symptoms which had a profound impact on how he perceived reality”. The recent mass shooting in a Saskatchewan school killing 4 students was by a noted ‘loner and video gamer’. Serial killer Dillan Millard reported he played Halo 4 hours per day using Zombie bullets which explode upon entry. ISIS recently created the ARMA III video game to train ISIS recruits. The recent mass shooting in Florida killing 49 people was by an ISIS militant.

Question: Does your child “see or hear” video games when not playing, or act out behaviors endemic in the video game?

To Do: In addressing the recent rise in mass killings, a prevention protocol should include restriction of violent media content for developing brains. Banning video games for children < 12 years is an excellent start toward protecting civilians from those intent on mass killings.

  1. Mental Illness

The Canadian Mental Health Association reports 1 in 7 children and youth have a diagnosed mental illness.  Douglas Gentile’s 2009 study indicated 1 out of 10 children aged 8-18 years are addicted to technology, with Common Sense Media reporting 50% of youth self-report screen addiction. Never in the history of humankind have there been child addictions. Difficult and expensive to treat, very soon this will become the job of every health and education professional…treating child and youth screen addictions. Schools wouldn’t give children cocaine or crack, yet they readily hand out equally as damaging and addictive devices to students on a daily basis, unmonitored. I routinely walk behind students in the hallways, playground, and classrooms and observe social networking, video games, and even pornography. A 14-year old youth I was assessing for aggression toward other children told me he played violent video games “almost all the time”. When asked why he hurts other children stated “I get a rush when I hurt others”. While this boy reported he understood there could be a link between violent video game use and aggression, he did not believe that playing video games had any impact on his liking to hurt other children. When asked if he could do the “Unplug Challenge” and not use any screens for 24 hours, he immediately responded with “No way”. With increasing research showing harmful effects of screens on child and youth mental health, prohibiting violent media content in children under the age of 12 years is urgently needed. Prohibiting personal device usage in school settings makes a strong statement to children and their parents of the need to limit screen usage.

Question: Do you think your child is happy?

To Do: Children want to play with their parents and friends. Put the phone down, pick up your kids, and go do something fun outside…now.

  1. Poor Social Relationships

Children learn social skills from watching and interacting with their parents. If parents rarely communicate with each other or their children, these children fail to learn social skills, and go onto a life strife with communication and behavioral issues. There is a critical period at 6-18 mo. of age for attaining social ability. Infants who spend too much time in front of screens, and too little time interacting with their parents, have increased risk of developing autism and oppositional defiance disorder. Parents model functional (or dysfunctional) relationships, which dictate to a large degree how their child will relate to others. Parents who have good relationships with each other, generally understand how to relate to and meet the needs of their children, who in turn pass these social skills onto their siblings and friends. Children who live in a virtual world for long periods, have great difficulty dealing with problems and demands in the real world. Children who’s parents overuse screens feel neglected, and consequently find solace in screens. Hilarie Cash, director of reSTART internet addiction recovery center, states in this video that youth and young adults in her program tell her that there are a number of steps parents can take to prevent gaming addiction including:

  • Help your child develop alternate interests to video games;
  • Repair your own relationship;
  • Do not expect perfection in your child;
  • Be attune to your child’s needs;
  • Set rules and guidelines for internet usage;
  • Model those rules yourselves.

As social skills are key in establishing primary relationship with partners, as well as securing jobs upon graduation, children and youth who have social anxiety or are socially phobic will have much greater difficulty experiencing meaningful relationships and finding work.

Question: Does your child have real (not screen-based) friends?

To Do: Prepare and eat dinner together screen-free every night and invite conversation and dialogue with your children, spend at least half a day once per week in screen free outdoor activity, spend your family holiday screen free. One hour per day, one day per week, one week per year screen free.

  1. Poor Academic Performance

Regarding early exposure to violent media content, Dimitri Christakis study on fast paced, violent cartoons in 2011 exposed 4-year-old children to 9 min. of SpongeBobs, and found significant decreases in memory, concentration and attention…after only 9 minutes! Research by Jay Hull in 2015 found that moderate gamers who use less than 4 hours per day of video games show increased risky behaviors (sex, reckless driving, drugs/alcohol, smoking), increased defiance, and decreased executive function (attention, concentration, memory). Heavy gamers who use > 4 hours per day of video games,  have 4-5 times increased incidence of previously noted effects. While high school drop out rates have steadily declined over the past decade, gamers are at much higher risk than non-gamers for dropping out of high school and university. Increasing incidence of absenteeism and tardiness of children and youth in schools always has me asking students what they were doing at home, and not surprising to hear they were gaming late into the night. Students who are good at gaming often tell me that school is “boring” or “too hard”, and that they don’t get rewarded for trying to do their work. Many students I work with outright refuse to do school work, and many teachers are turning to using video games as a reward for produced work at school. We are all aware that high school dropouts have much greater difficulty finding and sustaining jobs, as do video game addicts who again are looking for rewards and achievement in their work that they find favorable in video games. One alarming Canadian statistic is that 42% of 20-29-year-old men are living at home, neither working nor attending school; up from 27% in 1981 and 32% in 1991. What is this potential work force doing at home, and why are parents allowing it to happen?

Question: Is your child struggling at school?

To Do: Talk with your child’s teacher to see how they are doing academically, and ensure your child is not allowed to game as a reward at school.

  1. Sexual Perversions

42% of children have viewed pornography by age ten. Early exposure to porn is linked to hypersexualized behaviors including early entry into sex, sexting (sending sexualized messages and photo’s), high risk sex, and sexual violence. What studies fail to include in their data is that all video games rated Mature contain graphic sexual content and sexualized violence. One of the major “enhancements” in Grand Theft Auto 5 is that the player can not only rape and kill women, but they’ve now added torture scenes. It is imperative that parents investigate and continuously monitor what their child is watching/playing on their device. Children are curious about sex, and while it’s natural to ask questions and want to know more about sex, there is nothing natural about what children are readily viewing on the internet. The dark web is now easily accessible and contains slasher videos and extremely violent porn. In 2017 the UK reported a rise of 71% of sexual assaults by children on children over the past 4 years which they attributed to internet porn.  Utah was the first state to declare pornography is a public health crisis. Again, what children watch is who they become.

Question: Have you asked your child if they are using porn?

 To Do: Watch what video games your child is using or ask them and look up rating on Common Sense Media; remove access to all sexualized content. 

  1. Mass Killings

Some (but not many) parents I talk to who have children with problematic gaming issues, tell me their child has threatened the parent or themselves with harm should they proceed with video game restrictions. When a child threatens harm to self or others, they are clearly in trouble and not in control of themselves or their actions. If a parent feels threatened when trying to implement video game restrictions, then it is imperative they seek assistance from a medical professional e.g. physician, psychiatrist or psychologist. While most shooters are gamers (14 mass murders are linked to violent video games), this does not mean most gamers will become shooters. What parents, teachers, clinicians, and government can do to prevent mass killers is stop letting children under the age of 12 be exposed to violent media content. Student education regarding impact of violent media content by trained teachers in schools is paramount, as is parent education by counsellors and clinicians (RN’s, Dr.’s, therapists, psychologists). Government should legislate video game industry to include clear warnings on all video games referencing harmful effects of video games on children. Parents spending more time with their children and less time on screens will improve child mental health and lessen problematic behaviors and acts of violence.

Question: Are you scared of your child?

To Do: Have your child urgently assessed by a medical professional e.g. physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist. Engage in more healthy activities as a family. Listen to your child’s concerns and stories, don’t talk and lecture.

This article was written by Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist, biologist, international speaker, and advocate for children. Cris can be reached at 

Additional Information 

Zone’in Website profiles programs, workshops/webinars, training, and consultation services.
Zone’in Research Fact Sheet 300 research references on detrimental impact of technology on children.
Technology Impact Educational Videos on physical, mental, social, and cognitive domains.
Cris Rowan Videos on EdTech, Critical Factors for Growth/Success, Balanced Technology Management.
Child Development Series Newsletter monthly free newsletter with collated research and news.
Moving to Learn Blog research referenced articles by Cris Rowan with over 1000 hits per day.
Virtual Child Book available on Amazon in English, Chinese and Spanish versions.
Ten reasons to ban handheld devices for children under 12 years of age Huffington Post 2.6 million likes.
Suffer the Children – 4 min. slideshow profiles problems associated with tech overuse by children.
Balanced Technology Management – 7 min. slideshow profiles solutions in six sectors: parents, educators, health professionals, government, researchers, and technology corporations.

Support Programs

Tech Tool Kit manual of tools and strategies for families to balance technology with healthy activity.
Unplug’in Game board game to build skills and confidence in activities alternate to technology.
Tech Talks for Families webinar series; 10 sessions/10 weeks/10 hours. Includes Tech Tool Kit.
Tech Talks for Therapists and Teachers webinar series; 5 sessions/5 hours. Includes Tech Tool Kit.
Consultation Services for parents, teachers, health professionals, government, researchers, and technology production corporations.

Cris Rowen

Cris Rowan, BScOT, BScBi, SIPT

Cris Rowan is a biologist, pediatric occupational therapist and sensory specialist with expertise in the impact of technology on child development, behaviour and learning. Having worked in school settings for over 3 decades, Cris is committed to improving student health while also easing the job of learning for children. Cris is a well-known international speaker and author to teachers, parents and therapists globally on topics of sensory integration, learning, attention, fine motor skills and the impact of media content including video games, social media and pornography on children’s brain and body development. Cris has a BSc’s both in Occupational Therapy and in Biology, is a SIPT certified sensory specialist, and has Approved Provider Status for CEU provision with the American Occupational Therapy Association. Over the past 3 decades, Cris has provided over 350 keynotes and workshops, writes monthly articles for her blog Moving to Learn, publishes the monthly Child Development Series Newsletter, and is designer and creator of Reconnect Webinars which offer research evidenced information for teens, parents, teachers and clinicians to manage balanced between screens and healthy activities. Cris is member of the Screens in Schools committee with Fairplay for Kids, member of the Institute for Digital Media and Child Development and sits on the Board of Directors for the Global Alliance for Brain and Heart Health. Cris has two adult children, Matt and Katie who grew up without screens.

Cris can be reached at Reconnect Webinars offers a free, 5.5-hour CCAP accredited Screenbuster Program training webinar for teens which qualifies them to perform Tech Talks for their peers. The Screenbuster Program requires one counsellor, teacher or principal to complete the 3-day Balanced Technology Management certification CEU provided course in order to adequately supervise the teens.

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32 Responses

  1. This is just so biased and unnecessary 1. the physical harm statement was somewhat true but. 2.the “frontal lobe pruning” doesn’t even make sense i’m not a doctor but I at least know games do the opposite the frontal lobe is mainly used for daily life and choices and certain VIOLENT video games that have choices can help the frontal lobe and I looked it up and only one article supported this while other SCIENCE articles said what I just said. “Summary: … Research to date suggests that playing video games can change the brain regions responsible for attention and visuospatial skills and make them more efficient.” Also i’m almost 13 and gory VIOLENT games ,and anime like last of us and AOT even GOW and then you say it can cause pruning, nah. 3.sleep deprivation this is obvious every late night gamer will have sleep deprivation (not justifying anything just saying it is a sucky topic) can tell by the title but the thing is you have to play for hours and haves problems to hallucinate 6. this is a straight up lie i was actually addicted to books 3-9 until games came in and guess what I participate in both equally so to say “never in the history of mankind” is taking a extreme and applying it to the majority also when coke-a-cola first came i know kids were getting their hands on it so dont say kids were never addicted to anything in the history of mankind. 7. the way you execute this passage saying that their parents rarely talk to each other or their kids then putting it on games is just stupid and they probably had a mental illness that impairs social skills like autism or ADHD or were just bad at socializing from the beginning. 8.I’m not gonna lie I don’t know a lot about this subject so i have to apply and use myself as an example my grades aren’t dropping and i barely defy my parents. 9.this is all on the parents for letting them play that in the beginning and I know that my parents don’t let me play games like that. 10.ok this one is only somewhat valid you are again taking an extreme and adding it to a majority and the thing is only messed up kids addicted kids and spoiled kids would threaten their own lives or their parents lives. 4. (sorry I accidentally skipped four earlier ok) now this on is a little valid but the thing is most of the time child aggression is because of the parents beating on each other or the mother hitting the father and then they get VIOLENT video games and vent but realize oh doom guy is hitting demons maybe I should hit mom to defend daddy same way if it is the father hitting the mother (the reason I chose the mother first is because girlfriends or wives or mothers are more likely to hit their partners) but if the child is VIOLENT it is not just games you said media not games so again it is the parents fault

    1. when i was typing about last of us and AOT AND GOW i meant to say it was almost like therapy for me and problems at home to vent my feelings

  2. something about your comment on how the dark web is “easily accessible”. First, the dark web is extremely difficult to access through the methods of logging on are easier than in the past. Secondly, you need to have very good skills with reprogramming and a hell of a lot of luck if you’re twisted enough to try and reach it. “Why is it so hard?” you might think, well you can watch twisted sons of bitches bid on how someone is tortured or murdered in red rooms. and 99.999999999999% of people know not to try unless you want to spend a lot of money getting people killed because they can track your location, kidnap you, and put you in a red room unless you are a big enough patron. also, uh, you can find some of that porn on p-hub anyways so…

  3. Where did you get your facts from I found out that most gamers are NOT shooters according to six other articles I read please tell me where you found your “facts”.

    1. Hi Fox,

      Just watch the news. Here’s a list of the mass murders linked with video games in 2015 in US:

      1. Adam Lanza, Sandy Hook Elementary, was a frequent player of violent first-person shooter video games. It was said his existence largely involved playing violent computer video games in a bedroom.
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      2. James Holmes, went on a rampage in a movie theater showing The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012, He was a frequent player of violent video games including World of Warcraft, an infamously addictive role-playing game.
      3 Jared Lee Loughner, Tucson, who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others in Tucson in January 2011, was both mentally ill and a video gamer.
      4. Eric Harris, based on his journal, a panel of psychologists, psychiatrists and FBI agents point to Harris’ contempt for others and his total lack of empathy and conscience as evidence of his psychopathic tendencies. He also enjoyed violent video games.
      5. Elliot Rodger, killed seven young men and women, including himself. He was hooked on violent video games from a young age from his own admission, hiding himself in World of Warcraft, where he felt comfortable and secure.
      6. Nehemiah Griego, killed five, including his mother, father and his three younger siblings. He loved playing violent video games and even enjoyed talking about them to crime investigators.
      7. Jacob Tyler Roberts, played violent video games (his rampage enacted a violent scene in Grand Theft Auto)
      8. Anders Behring Breivik shot 68 people dead at a youth camp of the Norwegian Labor party, another nine in a bombing of government buildings According to the judgment rendered against him, he liked playing violent games. He actually used the video game Call of Duty to train for his shooting massacre.
      9. Michael Carneal shot girls as they prayed in a prayer group. Carneal never moved his feet during his shootings, and never fired far to the left or right, but instead fired only once at each target that appeared, just as a player of video games maximizes his game score by shooting only once at each victim, in order to hit as many targets as possible.
      10. Jose Reyes, a 12-year-old boy who opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun at Sparks Middle School last October, killing a teacher and wounding two students before turning the gun on himself, had watched violent video games for months.
      11. Dylann Storm Roof, spent much of his time playing violent video games.
      12. Jeff Weise, a 16-year-old, shot dead nine people at and near his high school in Red Lake, Minnesota, had an obsession with violent animation.
      13. Chris Harper-Mercer, shot dead nine people and another seven injured in a community college in southern Oregon.
      14. Evan Ramsey, snuck a shot gun into his high school and shot a student and the principal and wounded two others. He claims that a video game, Doom, distorted his version of reality: “I did not understand that if I pull out a gun and shoot you … you’re not getting back up. You shoot a guy in Doom, and he gets back up. You have got to shoot the things in Doom eight or nine times before it dies.”

      1. I read multiple articles on Adem lenzas, and they do not know that the video games he played took any part on that day.

      2. I think the best way to answer what you are saying is the children under 12 should never see said violent games. There is a reason that there is an ESRB rating. IF the child is to get ahold of it somehow then it is on the parent to fix that

  4. are you seriously trying to tell me that Spongebob is violent? It is the exact opposite. Every episode presents some sort of moral dilemma and teaches kids a valuable life lesson. There is no fighting at all in Spongebob. This just goes to show that before you make a senseless rant you should at least know what you are talking about.

  5. I have to agree somewhat it can cause all that stuff it can happen but it depends on the parents and the time they start and if you let it get out of hand but I started playing halo when I was about six and been playing shooters all my life and I’m not violent and I have good grades

  6. I have to agree somewhat it can cause all that stuff it can happen but it depends on the parents if you let it get out of hand but I started playing halo when I was about six and been playing shooters all my life and I’m not violent and I have good grades

  7. All shooters are gamers? Correction, MOST of the population plays video games now- especially the younger generations. It’s entertainment- it’s escapism. Maybe instead of attacking a hobby you should consider why they feel the need to escape from reality. Ex: abusive home life, bullying, etc. If mass shootings were “a gamer thing” why are these atrocities happening at schools and not video game conventions? Why are schools and the gov not enforcing “no bullying” laws? I remember being on the bus, while being harassed all day, seeing the poster that talked about bullying being illegal. But of course, evidently everyone’s just a whimp these days. So instead of helping them society just makes excuses because all the older folks think because they’re good at repressing emotions and being an asshole to everyone who triggers their many insecurities- that kids should just “put up with it” and toughen up. I’ve watched my younger sister go through multiple accounts of pretty horrendous bullying, she’s a gamer too- does that mean she’ll shoot someone??? No. But she might shoot herself. Suicide is a serious issue with teens. Maybe you should focus on something like child suicide rates and shit parents and stop demonizing things that make their lives livable. While I agree that kids underaged shouldn’t play mature rated games I’ve yet to meet anyone in the gaming community that agree with violence and prefer to keep it on screen. Many of us are artists, scientists, historians- boiling us down into such a blatant generalization is grossly offensive. Stop using scare tactics and biased information to scare parents into ripping the controller out of their kids’ hands. You’re simplifying a very complicated problem and think that the solution is simple. It’s not. It’s as complex as the human mind- every individual is different. We all feel the call of the void. We are all genetically unique. We all go through different lives. So, in conclusion, it is foolish to blame one aspect of these individuals as the sole reason for their behavior. Gaming provides an avenue for community- something most shooters don’t have, having isolated themselves, becoming lost in delusions. Which, by the way, you can develop delusions without ever even turning on a console. Crazy. I know.

  8. Hello, I am a Fellow teenager and I have to somewhat agree with the relationship part of it. I recently started High School and I have fallen in love with Fornite Chapter 2 and it’s great. I have won about 30 games with my friends and we all have so much fun playing. The point I’m getting at is that people can change so much. I have agreed that videogames can be very addicting but if once you enter the Homework world it is a whole new responsibility to keep up with. Last year I was that poor, cold, shy kid but now I have about 10 new friends and I’ve grown up with them since 2nd grade. So give your son/daughter a chance and let them have fun and maybe that could be the spark they needed this whole time!

  9. “All shooters are gamers” This is a very deadly comment for which people will generate an idea of gamers and shooters are the same people, there is no actual evidence of proving a long term effect on people playing violent games but unfortunate incidents for people to directly blame on them (May the victims rest in peace) I would be very happy for people to counter my opinions with reasonable evidence and claim of course, as in this will help me in my high school study and prepare myself for college.I myself, is a gamer.

  10. Wtf apparently all shooters are gamers I call bullshit I’m 12 and I play GTA 5, Call of Duty, Battlefield, and so do a life t of people my age and we are fine with that. Who gives a crap about video games cause violence it’s the stupid media again.

  11. You think that maybe ratings exist for a reason. Having games is all well and good. But there are restrictions that I think parents need to comprehend.

    1. I don’t know how you believe this, this is all bias dry invalid information. I have autism ADHD and play FPS games and am A minor (Along with many other types of games such as FANTASY, RPG, Click and point.ETC) and I NEVER have experienced ANY of these so-called “Side-effects”

  12. The very definition of violent is: using or involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

    Yet many people say, “oh its ok for them to play it’s not real”
    So, they’re still playing and obviously, there is a negative outcome.
    Kids talking about shooting and killing is not appropriate and I Agree that they shouldn’t be played, at least by teens and kids. Adults can make there own decision on how they want to spend there life playing shooting and killing games, that’s up to them. But if I have learned anything from history is that war, fighting, hurting, violence, it all needs to end.
    And it’s not gonna happen any time soon with these games.

    1. Don’t act like violent video games are what’s fucking these kids up at a young age. Video games do little to no harm to young children. The average age range for sexual acts and violent thoughts are from 12-16. As if 12-16 year olds won’t see such things in history books or from peers. Kids are going to be having sex and fighting till the end of time. It’s a circle of life and as long as you raise your kids right and get them checked for mental illnesses there is really no problem. If if video games got banned there will still be no difference. How much violence do you see in the news? On apps? Even at workplaces and schools. Video games aren’t the problem here.

    2. have you ever thought that if you do good at parenting your kids would NOT have any desire to just hurt somebody unless it was self defence

    3. Well, the definition of violence needs to change and be more specific. Think about it, if someone watches a violent movie with guns such as Mission Impossible, they aren’t suddenly gonna become a shooter or start a war. And if a video game uses guns it doesn;t necessarily mean it is violent. GTA 5 should definitely be considered violent and no kid should play it, but Fortnite should DEFINITELY NOT be considered violent and all kids should be able to play the game and be part of a wholesome community.

      1. Research literature defines violence as “intentional harm” e.g. the character acts with intent to harm others hence Fortnite would fit this definition. What is of highest concern is that despite the > 13 years warning, I work with children as young as kindergarten who are active players, and the reason they are referred to me is uncontrolled aggression. The issue with young users of media violence is that they are unable to discern fantasy from reality and are consequently far more vulnerable to acting out what they have viewed.

        In 2016 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement termed “Virtual Violence” indicating children under the age of 6 years should not be exposed to any violence (link below).

        A review of research on media violence effects on children from 1971-2011 (link below) indicates that early exposure to media violence in pre-schoolers is linked to increased aggression and self-regulation problems (tantrums, impulsivity).

        There is nothing “wholesome” about violent video games.

  13. Is your information based on a previous research study of children playing video games. Any game that is rated “violent” or “adult” should not be play by children under the age of 16. Now we all know that children get a high playing these type games but GTA-5 is the worse game for young children. I have an advt gamer in the house (over 18) who plays GTA-5 and I have watch this game. There is plenty of violence, high speed chases, gang violence, plenty of robbery, get you own place and have drunk parties, and sex with a partner, and you can kill anyone you want. This is not the game for young children or people with mental disabilities.

  14. This is almost all false it doesn’t cause violence in gta 5 there is no rape scene and i admit there is a torture scene but either way the game is rated 18 plus it is the parents fault by letting the child play the game and sure there is a torture scene like i stated before it is not very graphic you pour water on someones face omg its not a big deal really like i said before it is up to the parents mind set to either buy them gta or not. i do agree with sleep deprivation i suffer from that but its not as bad as you think it might only be a hour or 2 thats not a big deak if you set a bedtime for your child then they wont suffer from that as bad. I completely disagree with the rest of stuff especially pornography it reall isnt as bad as you think people are getting more mature earlier it has been a proven study please just check your facts next time you make a post about this if you would like to discuss this more please send to my email

    1. I actually agree on this even though i need to make a debate on why violent games must be ban Its their parents fault for letting them play

  15. I feel that this was slightly biased in a sense, The point about how ALL shooters have been linked back to games just kind of feels slightly ridiculous, other than that I found it to be a rather well stated article.

    1. People trying to assert correlation equals causation, hilarious.
      Maybe the shooters all played computer games because thy didn’t know how to deal with reality and needed an escape, and then they also got bullied mercilessly, pushing them over the edge, cracking them and making them want to make everyone else hurt as much as they do. I’ve been there, I’ve had those thoughts and I never played any violet games.

      Computer games, music, and etc are a release. They don’t cause these issues, they actually mitigate some of them. There are deeper issues here, and you all want to treat the symptom and not the cause.

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