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A new study based on data from Singapore suggests children who spend many hours playing violent video games may show more aggression later in life or may believe that hitting is OK, compared to children who don't play violent video games.
"Just like children's bodies can be affected by what they eat, their brains can be affected by what they repeatedly do," said Douglas A. Gentile when speaking with Reuters by e-mail. Gentile's study was conducted at Iowa State University, while the data was gathered from Singapore.
3,000 children age eight to 17 were asked yearly to report how often they played violent video games, which games were their favorites, and how much gameplay was made up of violent acts. Researchers then asked the children if they would hit someone else if provoked, followed by a series of questions to better establish the child's feelings about violence.
Christopher Ferguson, researcher on the effects of media behavior at Stetson University in DeLand, FL told Reuters "This is not a very good study. This data set has been criticized before."
Gentile told Reuters that the effect was statistically small, but that didn't stop the national news organization from running the story with the headline "Violent vidoe games may be tied to aggressive thoughts."
How about a study that better establishes what causes parents to stop caring about what media their children are consuming?