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It’s Alright: Teens Playing Video Games

Despite the occasional mass media hype surrounding video game violence and teens, a new survey published by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation last Tuesday shows that not only do most teens and kids play video games, but by far it is a positive social action for them. This quote seems to capture the researchers’ findings best:

The stereotype that gaming is a solitary, violent, anti-social activity just doesn’t hold up. The average teen plays all different kinds of games and generally plays them with friends and family both online and offline,” said Amanda Lenhart, author of a report on the survey and a Senior Research Specialist with the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which conducted the survey. “Gaming is a ubiquitous part of life for both boys and girls. For most teens, gaming runs the spectrum from blow-‘em-up mayhem to building communities; from cute-and-simple to complex; from brief private sessions to hours’ long interactions with masses of others.

Although it’s easy and convenient for us to draw conclusions based upon what may seem like common-sense connections between two things, this survey shows how wrong it is to jump to such conclusions. Keep in mind, though, that however convincing these results may be, it was only a survey, not a scientific research study that actually compared teens’ game playing behaviors with their real-life behaviors.

We’ve previously blogged about how video games may be linked to violence and how violent video games show up as activity in the brain. But in this entry we described some of the findings published in Grand Theft Childhood, a book published earlier this year which refutes the violent video game = violence connection. Grand Theft Childhood does an excellent job at detailing the prior research on this issue and puts it into much-needed context. It’s a recommended book if you want to do a deep dive on this topic.

Read the full article: Major New Study Shatters Stereotypes About Teens and Video Games

It’s Alright: Teens Playing Video Games

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). It’s Alright: Teens Playing Video Games. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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