Study: Not all video games are bad for tweens; some games encourage positive behavior

Study: Not all video games are bad for tweens; some games encourage positive behavior

Feeling some guilt about letting kids play video games?

There may be no need to feel bad, because depending on which games your kids are playing (or addicted to), they could be learning some positive behaviors.

Psychology researchers and professors from Iowa State University have studied the impact of video games on kids ages 9-14. They found that playing prosocial games or educational games can be good for kids.  Such games can reinforce positive interactions and teach kids how to help others.

I hope you're sitting down for this next bit of shocking news: violent video games did not have the same impact. In fact, violent video games reinforced negative, antisocial behaviors in tweens.

Interestingly, though, the study focused on only cartoon character video games in the categories of prosocial, neutral and violent games.  Cartoon-type games which are probably not what most parents think of when thinking about violent video games, but the researchers pointed out that even games rated E for Everyone can include depictions of violence. They recommended playing the game yourself.

I would next like to see a study that examines the impact of prosocial behavior in tweens that comes from parents playing video games with their children.  Or perhaps a study of the endorphins released in my tween when she laughs at me for being unable to keep my MarioKart vehicle on the course.

What do you think?  Are some video games a good thing for kids? Do you have any favorites that you feel encourage prosocial behavior?

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