The Department of Justice spent nearly $800,000 to develop a computer game to “limit the aggression” of middle school boys.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) paid for researchers at Rhode Island Hospital to team up with a multimedia company in Colorado to create the game, which seeks to prevent dating violence among eighth graders in Providence, Rhode Island.

“The aim of the proposed study is to develop and refine a web-based intervention that reduces the risk of dating violence among middle-school aged males,” the NIJ grant states. “The final intervention, to be used by parents and adolescents together, is based on the empirical literature linking emotion regulation deficits to violent behavior as well as studies showing that parental involvement is crucial to offset dating violence risk.”

The proposal argued that since teenage boys like to play video games, they would also like to play one about “partner violence.”

“Research has also shown that game playing is the most popular internet activity for early adolescent boys; thus interactive, web-based games and videos are ideal to engage young males in dating violence programming,” the grant said.

The grant said the game would have “important implications” across the country.

The project cost taxpayers $791,846, which was secured by Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse through the latest reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

The project also intends to study the “effectiveness of Web-based games and videos to limit aggression in eighth-grade boys.”

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