In the ongoing debate over what influence gaming has on the behavior of adolescents, one Yale study has found no correlation between the two. Taken from a 4,000 student sample, the study found that boys who game were not only less likely to be associated with other addictive behaviors (smoking, drinking, etc.), but that they were instead getting higher grades in school versus teens who didn’t game.
What is most interesting about this study are the results tabulated from the female members of the survey. Of the females who stated they play video games a higher percentage were involved with problematic behavior, suggesting that video games have a greater appeal for girls with more aggressive tendencies.
Surveys are not without their outliers and contained in this particular study were both boys and girls who did demonstrate signs of problematic behavior. While it isn’t enough to give credence to California’s violent gaming law, it might not be enough to defeat it altogether. After all was said and done, study author Rani Desai discovered only a small amount of teens exhibited compulsive symptoms that lead to problematic behavior. While this conclusion does defeat the theory as a whole it doesn’t mean that teens that game are not without their problems. Desai still believes that those who are affected should be carefully looked at, saying:
“We found virtually no association between gaming and negative health behaviors, particularly in boys. However, a small but not insignificant portion of kids find themselves unable to control their gaming. That’s cause for concern because that inability is associated with a lot of other problem behaviors.”
No matter where the public falls on the issue of game regulation — pro California’s law or against it — the idea of restricting someone’s rights as a citizen of the United States will always be a very tricky situation. Both sides of the coin must navigate the issue with the utmost care as one misstep could certainly mean victory for the other side.
After the “Hot Coffee” incident with Grand Theft Auto it almost looked as if the politicians had a slam dunk on their hands, but luckily those against the laws were able to bounce back and are continuing the fight to this day.
With such a hot button topic like the connection between negative behavior and gaming, where do you fall? Do you see the addictive nature of gaming leading to other less reputable acts?