Can Video Games Reduce Youth Violence?

As Philadelphia grapples with a skyrocketing crime rate, residents are exploring various ways to help reduce violence, including the use of video games, Annette John-Hall writes at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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In her Philadelphia Inquirer column, Annette John-Hall explores the use of video games to help recondition the thinking of some of today's youths at a time when crime is skyrocketing in her city. She cites a gamer who wants to help stem the tide.

... Conventional wisdom says, if you want to understand the not-so-subliminal reasons for incivility, you don't have to look any further than the movies, the music, and the video games -- the elements of pop culture we so readily identify with and glorify.

Those blasted video games are the worst. Violent video games, more than violent television shows or movies, can increase aggressive thoughts and behaviors because they're interactive. At least that's what the American Psychological Association says.

Always sounded a little simplistic to me. I can't imagine a video game having more of an influence on a kid than a parent. But when Philadelphia has suffered 34 homicides in 33 days, you can't help but wonder about everything.

What I do know is, I didn't expect to come to this conclusion.

How about this: Yes, young people are playing violent video games, but as a way to decrease their aggressive thoughts, not increase them.

And parents are using video games as effective tools for raising their children.

That "aha" moment presented itself at the University Family Fun Center in University City, where Eric Small reigns as the gaming king supreme with a joystick as scepter.

Read Annette John-Hall's entire column at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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