How much visual stimuli and activities that include violent or adult themes may effect child behaviour is an issue that comes to the forefront of discussion more often as video games are played more frequently.
Some teachers and educational groups have voiced concern that children are developing more 'violent' tendencies due to parents leaving them unsupervised while they play games with high age ratings, or those that are deemed 'inappropriate' for young children.
At the ATL annual conference in Manchester, UK, the BBC reports that the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) will be hearing teacher perspectives on just how far computer games may be influencing child behaviour.
There are concerns that students as young as four are acting out 'graphic scenes' from games with age-inappropriate ratings in both class and during break times. Not only this, but there is a worry that by not supervising and monitoring gaming activity, children are also losing the ability to separate 'fantasy worlds from reality'.
One teacher from Bradford, Alison Sherratt, spoke about the issues she sees in class:
"The inspiration for this motion was when I watched my class out on the playground throwing themselves out of the window of the play car in slow motion and acting out blood spurting from their bodies. I followed it up in circle time and talked about what they knew about playing games on the computer.
Out of 27, four or five-year-olds, most have TVs and laptops in their bedrooms, most have sight of or actually own Nintendos, PlayStation, Xboxes and Wii and many said they watched older brothers, sisters and cousins playing games."
Sherratt believes she has seen a surge in aggressive behaviour in recent years; and video games may be one of the factors attributed to it. Due to this, many teachers have questioned whether children are being left unsupervised by parents in their rooms in order to access and play inappropriate games.
She adds that the problem is compounded due to young age, impressionability and the "addictive quality of these games meaning that many children are already hooked into these fantasy worlds, separating themselves from reality".
However, it may only be a small number of titles that are being played 'inappropriately' by young children, and to judge computer games by a violence-inducing stereotype is not necessarily correct.
Playing games on consoles including the Wii and XBox 360 is very common in the West, and if we judge all games based on age-restricted titles, then surely the issue of 'violent' children would be more widespread and difficult to control.
Image credit: Visibly Damaged
- Kids: 'Google it' or ask parents and teachers?
- Strange and creepy iPad, iPhone apps and software
- Students and a yearly ritual of electronic abstinence
- Teenagers: Mobile gaming, apps and data greed [Infographic]
- Do Wii games encourage kids to exercise?