Violence in video games is bad for children's health. So says the American Psychological Association (search), which is calling on the industry to cut it back.
Research indicates exposure to violence in video games increases aggressive thoughts, aggressive behavior and angry feelings among youth, the association said in a statement issued Wednesday.
In addition, the APA statement said, this exposure reduces helpful behavior and increases physiological arousal in children and adolescents.
The statement said that studies of video games and interactive media show the perpetrators of violence go unpunished 73 percent of the time.
"Showing violent acts without consequences teaches youth that violence is an effective means of resolving conflict. Whereas, seeing pain and suffering as a consequence can inhibit aggressive behavior," psychologist Elizabeth Carll, co-chair of the APA Committee on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media, said in a statement.
Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association (search), the trade group that represents the U.S. computer and video game industry, charged the APA with disregarding credible research and analysis which challenge claims that video games cause aggression or crime.
"This resolution is hardly surprising since the APA has made it clear over a long period of time that it believes violent video games are harmful and thus justify enactment of unconstitutional restrictions on First Amendment freedoms," Lowenstein said in a statement.
The APA recommendations included:
—Teach media literacy to children so they will have the ability to critically evaluate interactive media.
—Encourage the entertainment industry to link violent behaviors with negative social consequences.
—Develop and disseminate a rating system that accurately reflects the content of the video games and interactive media.