'Not playing games more dangerous than playing violent games'

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Washington, May 9 (UNI) Playing violent games do not turn children into criminals or violent people, rather, not playing videogames at all may put them at greater risk of getting into trouble, according to Harvard psychologists.

Dr Lawrence Kutner and Dr Cheryl Olsen of Harvard Medical School who conducted a study to probe links between games and children's behaviour, found that there was no direct links between games and violence. However, a correlation between adult-related games and aggressive behaviour existed.

Citing the example of Virginia Tech massacre, Dr Kutner said Seung-Hui Cho who committed a mass murder in a shooting rampage in April last year, had not played any games at college, according to his roommates.

''That fell right into line with our research findings, that the kids who don't play games at all are actually at greater risk of getting into trouble,'' Dr Kutner said in an interview with G4 TV's X-Play program.

The two-year study of 1250 children and 500 parents found that half of the boys who played adult-rated games had been in a fight in the past 12 months, compared to 28 per cent of boys who played games with a less mature rating. Among girls, 40 per cent who played adult-rated games had been in a fight recently compared to only 12 per cent of those who did not.

However Dr Kutner and Dr Olsen said it was unclear if adult-rated games triggered aggressive behaviour, or if aggressive children were drawn to playing them.

''While it was normal for children to play games, there were certain ''risk markers'' that parents should watch out for that may indicate an increased chance of getting into trouble,'' suggested the study published in a book titled Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games.


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