Computer games and children's behaviour

Games, Games, Games. Everyone wants to play computer games and no one wants to miss out, especially our children. But, how does this affect their behaviour? Playing a computer game is most certainly fun and gives us a thrill. However, playing computer games have their advantages and disadvantages and mainly depends on what type of game it is. In computer games we also find examples of Pro and Anti Social Behaviour.

What is Pro and Anti Social Behaviour?

According to the Home Office website, Anti Social Behaviour can be defined as "any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages another person's quality of life. More information about Anti Social Behaviour can be obtained on (

In many computer games we can see this type of behaviour. The more this type of game is played the more we want, this is what is called disinhibition. As this type of game is played, the players become desensitised which means that they become less customised to violence.

Computer games don't just show Anti Social Behaviour some games also contain Pro Social Behaviour. Pro Social Behaviour is the total opposite to Anti Social Behaviour. This type of behaviour is described as any helping, caring and honest behaviour. This type of behaviour can also be called as a helping behaviour and doing something without gaining anything out of it.

Research from Virtual Psychology website confirmed that Pro Social behaviour is a lot harder to imitate, as Anti Social Behaviour seems as a naughty behaviour which is seemed as more fun. More on Pro Social Behaviour can be found on

Do we get affected by the media? Media affects us positively and negatively.

An experiment was carried out in 1961 by Albert Bandura. The aim of this experiment was to demonstrate that if children were passive witnesses to an aggressive display, they would behave in an aggressive way when given the chance to. This experiment was carried out in the hope that aggression could be explained through Social Learning Theory which where a role model is being imitated.

However to show another side to this, a study was carried out on St. Helena Island in the South Atlantic. Its inhabitants received television for the first time in 1995, but there is no evidence of any adverse effects on the children or adults. According to Charlton 1998 '' The argument that watching violent television turns humans to violence is not borne out, and this study on St. Helena is the clearest proof yet.'' So children were exposed to Anti Social Behaviour on television but they did not behave in Anti Social manner.

Pro Social Behaviour in games and the impact on society?

The media can educate, by providing role models, especially if they shown a problem solved. Pro Social Behaviour is a lot harder to imitate because Anti Social Behaviour gives more thrill and higher volume of arousal. However a study that was carried out by Friedrich and Stein in 1973 shown that children that watch Pro Social Television context behave more helpfully especially when given the chance to. Many people's opinions are going to be different on these issues however, how our children get affected also depends on parents. How parents raise up their children, what are the rewards and punishments if children are behaving inappropriately and appropriately. If good behaviour is shown it should be recognised straight away and rewarded immediately. However if bad behave occurs then it should be addressed immediately and punished fairly.

Anti Social Behaviour in games and the impact on society?

According to University of Michigan professor L. Rowell Huesmann 1986, argues that fifty years of evidence show "that exposure to media violence causes children to behave more aggressively and affects them as adults years later." Aggressive cues on television or in computer games may lead to an aggressive thought or feeling. The more realistic the aggression is seen to be the greater level of arousal. The more we watch or play aggressive and violent scenes on television the more addicted we become. Some people that suffer from aggression play sport for example boxing. In this case the aggression gets out by punching the boxing bag. Different individuals deal with aggression in different ways, some people cry and feel suicidal and some people feel angry and want to fight. Seeing aggression on television is becoming more of an issue as violence and aggression is getting more accepted in society. If Anti Social Behaviour keeps occurring the behaviour should be punished, and have consequences. If the consequences are serious people should not behave inappropriately in the future.

To conclude this article we can point out that media affects us positively and negatively. The more we watch television and play games that contain Pro and Anti Social Behaviour the longer the effect will last. When more computer games are played the higher the addiction becomes. But all this depends on the individual and how they get affected by the media.

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