fast little loans
By Anne Harding
New York - After playing a violent video game, young men are more likely to think it's okay to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol, raising the possibility that exposure to violent media could negatively affect health-related behaviour.
"Parents have been told the message that violent video games and violent media in general can influence the likelihood that their kids will be aggressive," Dr Sonya S. Brady, now at the University of California, San Francisco, told reporters. "What this study suggests is that they might increase any type of risk-taking behaviour."
Brady and her colleague Dr Karen A. Matthews at the University of Pittsburgh also found that young men were more likely to see others' attitudes toward them as hostile if they had just played a violent game.
"You're kind of on the lookout for other people being rude to you," Brady said.
Brady and Matthews had a group of 100 male undergraduates aged 18 to 21 play either Grand Theft Auto III or The Simpsons: Hit and Run. In the Simpsons game, players took the role of Homer Simpson and their task was to deliver daughter Lisa's science project to school before it could be marked late. In Grand Theft Auto III, players took the role of a criminal, and were instructed by the Mafia to beat up a drug dealer with a baseball bat.
Playing the violent game boosted young men's blood pressures, and appeared to have more of an effect on those who came from more violent homes or communities, the researchers report in the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
In this game, Brady noted, the depiction of the violent task is quite realistic. "When they strike the person with the bat then the person crumples to the ground and a pool of blood starts to expand slowly underneath the body," she said. The more blows the player gives, the wider the pool of blood. For youth who had been previously exposed to real violence, Snyder added, the game may have seemed more real.
Regardless of whether they grew up in a violent environment, the researchers found, young men who had played the violent game were less cooperative and more competitive in completing an assigned task with another person, compared to those who played the Simpsons game. They were also more likely to have permissive attitudes toward alcohol and marijuana use.
After playing the game, study participants watched a scenario in which a teacher told a class he suspects some students of cheating on a test, and that while he is very disappointed in those who have cheated he is proud of those who did well. The teacher then asks to see "Billy" after class. The study participants were told to imagine themselves as Billy, and asked how likely it was that the teacher was going to accuse them of cheating. Students who'd played Grand Theft Auto were more likely to think they'd be accused of cheating.
Brady urges parents to be aware of what sorts of video games their children are playing. And kids themselves, she adds, should understand that violent games can change the way they think.