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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Some Video Games Make Kids Kinder to Others

Another study, this time from an international team of researchers, has found a strong link between playing violent video games and hurting others. But they also found something else: a strong correlation between playing video games that encourage positive social interactions and helping others outside of the game.
In one experiment, the researchers asked American college students to play a neutral video game, a violent game, or a game in which the characters help and support each other in nonviolent ways. Then the students had to assign puzzles to random partners, who would win money if they could solve them all.
Those who played the prosocial game were significantly more helpful than those who played the other games, assigning easier puzzles to their partners, while students who played the violent game were much more likely to assign the hardest puzzles. The researchers also found a link between playing prosocial video games and helpful behavior among kids in Singapore and Japan.
"Taken together, these findings make it clear that playing video games is not in itself good or bad for children," reports University of Michigan social psychologist Brad Bushman, who worked on the study. "The type of content in the game has a bigger impact than the overall amount of time spent playing." —Heather Wax