Are Violent Video Games Harmful?

First Posted: Jan 16, 2013 02:35 PM EST

It's undeniable that video games have gotten some bad press in recent years. World of Warcraft has been criticized for pumping out video game addicts while other games have been deemed too violent. In 2012, a 15-year-old boy from Ohio collapsed from dehydration after holing up in his room for four days while playing Call of Duty, and in 2011 Norway shooter Anders Breivik told a court that he had trained himself for the massacre by playing the same game.

But are violent video games really harmful? Studies have shown that video games can actually lead to an improvement in how well we pay attention, react, and how accurately we sort information, according to a recently published article in The Guardian. In addition, studies conducted by Dr. Daphne Bevelier of the University of Rochester suggest that playing video games can boost visual acuity.

Video games don't only have positive benefits, though. A study conducted in 2011 by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine showed that young men who played video games for a week showed an increased tendency toward aggression. A similar phenomenon, though, can be seen in people who watch violent television or hear about violence in the news.

Like anything, video games should be played in moderation. After all, doing anything for 12 hours a day is likely to be harmful to your health.

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