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Role of Violent Video Game Content in Adolescent Development: Boys Perspectives

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2008
21 pages
This study explored how children, specifically boys perceived the uses and influence of violent video games.
Boys from a range of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds used games in similar ways and raised similar themes. Boys use violent games specifically (1) as a means to express fantasies of power and glory, (2) to explore and master what they perceive as exciting and realistic environments, and (3) as a tool to work out their feelings of anger and stress. Games, especially violent or sports games are also social tools that allow boys to compete with and/or work cooperatively with peers. This supports the idea that video game play with violent content may serve a function similar to rough-and-tumble play for young adolescent boys. Most boys did not believe that they were negatively influenced by violent games. All boys believed that they knew the difference between behaviors that are rewarded in games and behaviors in real life. Numerous policies have been proposed at the local, State, and national level to restrict youth access to violent video and computer games. Although studies are cited to support policies, there is no published research on how children perceive the uses and influence of violent interactive games. This study conducted focus groups with 42 boys ages 12 to 14. References
Date Published: January 1, 2008