The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

Quickfire CEO challenges Child Commissioner’s violent video games belief

Thursday, 14 February 2019, 14:33 Last update: about 7 months ago

It’s easy to blame video games when one does not have a deep understanding of the ample scientific evidence against video games causing violence in children, Quickfire CEO Simon Theuma said.

Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli yesterday warned during a Family Affairs Committee that video games are often violent and stimulate aggression, also adding that video games are especially attractive to young boys and that these games allow young men to take the role of the aggressor in virtual reality


Apart from noting the “ample scientific evidence” against her statements, Theuma maintained that there exists such scientific evidence that points towards actual benefits of video games.

He also insisted that education in general is not keeping up with technology and newer methods of teaching that actually incorporate video games into curricula in a number of different ways, not to mention that parents are not being equipped with the tools, skills and potentially even the help they need to empower their children to live a balanced lifestyle.

One of the issues, Theuma continued, was that we are lacking in other basic areas, such as teaching children how to treat each other properly and with respect, and vice versa

“With all respect to our commissioners, who I'm sure do sterling work, I would be happy to meet up with them to discuss a way forward. Or, at the very least, show how not only are video games NOT the problem, but they could actually be part of the solution."

Oxford Behavioral Study

Just this Wednesday, a study from the University of Oxford published by the Royal Society Open Science surveyed more than 2,000 British teens and their parents or carers to find a link between violent video games and teen aggression.

The research found that playing violent video games has no link to teenage aggression.

The teenagers were assessed and evaluated for gaming and aggressive behavior in the month leading up to taking part in the study, and the behaviours as noted by their parents and carers were also collated.

Professor Andrew Przybylski, the lead researcher and director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute said that there are some effects of gender and some people who are from different life backgrounds have higher or lower ratings, but video game play didn’t really seem to matter there.

“But really we should be looking at other things – maybe it is frustrations, maybe it is family or life circumstance – that we should be spending more time on.”

“Despite interest in the topic by parents and policy-makers, the research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern.”

As an anecdote, Przybylski did note that you do find things such as trash-talking, competitiveness and trolling in gaming communities that could qualify as antisocial behavior.

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