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Parents' and Sons Perspective on Video Game Play: A Qualitative Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2008
21 pages
Through focus groups, this study examined how parents perceived and attempted to regulate their children’s video game use and how children responded.
Parents of young adolescent boys have strong opinions and concerns about their sons’ use of electronic games. In line with proposed policies, parents are concerned about the influence of violent content. However, there was little consensus on what sort or amounts of violent content parents think might harm their sons; opinions varied based on the realism, target, and context of the violence. Parents and sons tended to agree that it is difficult for parents to carefully monitor video game play and exposure to inappropriate content. The most common parental mediation strategies appeared to be restrictive, including behavior contingency. Some parents reported occasional co-viewing. Public policy efforts to restrict children’s access to electronic games with violent or sexual content are often predicated on assumptions about parental concerns. As an initial step in determining whether those assumptions were accurate, focus groups were conducted of 21 adolescent boys and 21 of their parents or guardians to explore parents’ concerns, compare parents’ and children’s perceptions, and see whether these were consistent with the focus of proposed legislation and other public policy efforts. References
Date Published: January 1, 2008