Video Games: Eat and Cheat More

Yet one more reason to hate video games.  According to a new study, they make teens cheat and eat more after playing them.

"Playing violent video games not only increases aggression, it also leads to less self-control and more cheating," newswise.com reports.

Researchers found that teens who played violent video games ate more chocolate and were more likely to steal raffle tickets in a lab experiment than were teens who played nonviolent games.  (I don't need any more reasons to eat chocolate!)

"The effects were strongest in teens who scored high on a measure of moral disengagement – the ability to convince yourself that ethical standards don’t apply to you in a particular situation," the Web site notes.

Another recent study, this one on violence in films, can also be related to video games.  Research showed that people who simply see a gun, or even a picture of a gun, are more aggressive toward others.

“When people play violent video games, they show less self-restraint," newswise.com quotes Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University. "They eat more, they cheat more,” Bushman said. “It isn’t just about aggression, although that also increases when people play games like Grand Theft Auto.”

In one experiment, those who played violent games ate more than three times as much candy as did the other teens, the study showed. “They simply showed less restraint in their eating,” Bushman said.

Results also showed that teens who played a violent game cheated more when allowed to take raffle tickets for the amount of answers they got right on a test than did those who played a nonviolent game — more than eight times more.

“Very few teens were unaffected by violent video games, but this study helps us address the question of who is most likely to be affected,” Bushman said. “Those who are most morally disengaged are likely to be the ones who show less self-restraint after playing.”

And sadly, this held true for both girls and boys. Now, I allow my son to play video games (he's not into Grand Theft Auto, but he did ask for Call of Duty Black Ops II for Christmas), and I don't see any signs of aggression.  He's a pretty mild kid by temperament but what may be lurking down the road?  I have to admit, I'm not one who believes that violence in video games leads to violence in real life, but the more studies like this I see, the more I'm having to change my beliefs.


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