Guest Columnist EducationNews.org
EdNews.org recently published an op-ed I wrote titled "Video Games for Christmas? Perhaps Not for Boys." It upset many gamers who wrote comments on the publication's website and on popular gaming blogs. The gamers did not reference any research that contradicted my position, but did provide numerous ad hominem arguments.
Parts of the op-ed were more controversial than others. For example, gamers were clearly angry that I wrote: "A definite link has been established between violent video games and antisocial behavior. Games like 'Grand Theft Auto' and 'Halo' can make your son more aggressive."
Typical responses from gamers were: "There have been no studies that prove a solid link between violent video games and aggression" and "It's possible there's a correlation between violent video games and aggression, but video games do not cause aggression" and "This article provides no references to back up its claims."
First of all, it was an op-ed, not a scholarly article written for a peer-reviewed journal. References aren't usually included in an op-ed because it's an opinion piece. While I have had scholarly articles published in peer-reviewed journals, I wrote the op-ed to express my opinion—which is based on having read many peer-reviewed articles on the subject at hand.
Second, there have indeed been studies that prove a definite link between violent video games and aggression. And these studies reveal the link to be causal.
I will break with tradition in this op-ed and list references: "Exposure to Violent Video Games Increases Automatic Aggressiveness," by Eric Uhlmann and Jane Swanson, "Journal of Adolescence," volume 27, pp. 41-52, 2004. "An Update on the Effects of Playing Violent Video Games," by Craig Anderson, "Journal of Adolescence," volume 27, pp. 113-122, 2004. "Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy," by Craig Anderson, Douglas Gentile, and Katherine Buckley, Oxford University Press, 2006.
This is not to say that all video games are bad for boys. Some video games are harmless when played in moderation. The problem is that boys are spending, on average, more than thirteen hours a week playing video games, many of which are violent.
Surprisingly, only a few gamers commented on the part of the op-ed wherein I wrote: "Research consistently confirms that the more time boys spend playing video games, the more likely they are to do poorly in school—regardless of age. At a time when boys are already underperforming in school, video games only make the situation worse."
One gamer commented: "As for the performance at school, it actually makes sense. So I guess there's some truth to that. I've graduated from college a few years now but video games took a lot of my homework time during school days."
Another gamer wrote, "Funny, in high school, I had two friends who were avid gamers, to say the very least, and they both ended up getting full rides to good colleges."
A different gamer responded with, "Yeah but if they didn't play games they might have gotten full rides to even better colleges."
The problems boys are having in school these days did not originate from video games, but from an education system that fails to teach boys in ways that boys learn best. However, video games are contributing to—and not helping—those problems.
Bill Costello, training director of Making Minds Matter, teaches parents and teachers the best strategies for educating boys. He can be reached at www.makingmindsmatter.com or email@example.com.
Published December 20, 2008
Enter your email to subscribe to daily Education News!
- Education Technology
- Teachers Unions
- Charter Schools
- California Education
- Education Research
- New York Education
- Online Education
- UK Education
- STEM Education
- School Choice
- Cost of College
- Education Funding
- New York City Schools
- Julia Steiny
- Florida Education
- Education Reform
- Parent Involvement
- Texas Education
- Math Education
- C. M. Rubin
- Los Angeles Schools
- Obama Administration
- Chicago Schools
- 2012 Election
- New Jersey Education
- Pennsylvania Education
- Tennessee Education
- Teacher Training
- UK Higher Education
- Early Childhood Education
- Louisiana Education
- College Admissions
- Ohio Education
- Teacher Evaluations
- School Health
- Illinois Education
- Arne Duncan
- UK Politics
- Michigan Education
Plan your career as an educator using our free online datacase of useful information.
- Select a City Subject
- English Schools in Banner Elk
- English Schools in Belmont
- English Schools in Buies Creek
- English Schools in Chapel Hill
- English Schools in Davidson
- English Schools in Greensboro
- English Schools in Greenville
- English Schools in Misenheimer
- English Schools in Montreat
- English Schools in Mount Olive
- English Schools in Pembroke
- English Schools in Raleigh
- English Schools in Rocky Mount
- English Schools in Salisbury
- English Schools in Swannanoa
- English Schools in Wilmington
- Social Work Schools in Bowling Green
- Social Work Schools in Campbellsville
- Social Work Schools in Elizabethtown
- Social Work Schools in Frankfort
- Social Work Schools in Grayson
- Social Work Schools in Hazard
- Social Work Schools in Hopkinsville
- Social Work Schools in Lexington
- Social Work Schools in Louisville
- Social Work Schools in Morehead
- Social Work Schools in Murray
- Social Work Schools in Owensboro
- Social Work Schools in Pikeville
- Social Work Schools in Prestonsburg
- Social Work Schools in Richmond
- Social Work Schools in Saint Catharine
- Social Work Schools in Williamsburg
- Social Work Schools in Wilmore