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Video Games Could Impact Kid's Behavior - KOAM TV 7

Video Games Could Impact Kid's Behavior

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Video games are likely at the top of many kids and teenager's Christmas lists this year. But some parents may want to be cautious about which games they pick up based on the images kids are being exposed to during the game.

The gaming aisles in Best Buy are bustling with parents browsing video games with names like "Assassin's Creed," "Kill Zone," and "A Thief's End."  Obviously filled with violent themes, what impact do some of the most popular video games have on players?
“kids that are on these games for so long, that’s all they see, they learn these habits so parents need to watch that,” says Doug Irwin of Carl Junction.
“Anything that goes in, that affects children definitely. I'm a teacher so I wouldn't want them seeing anything that they shouldn't be seeing at that age,” says Grove resident Paige Yarborough.
Therapist at Renewed Mental Health, LLC Amanda Stewart says there's a big correlation between video games and the impact they have on kids. Research shows games can stir up aggressive and unhealthy behaviors and a new report shows tobacco use is widespread in many games.
“It transfers into why do I like this so much, this is one of the only things that I’m enjoying right now, so it’s easier for them to be susceptible to whatever message the video game is trying to portray,” says Stewart.
A video game rated mature is for those 17 years and older and will have a lot of violence, blood and sexual content. Video games rated teen for 13 years and older will have some violence and suggestive themes. But smoking cigarettes does not fall into that criteria and usually characters doing so will end up in teen rated games.
“If someone that they idolize when they're playing a video game is smoking then it normalizes it and makes it something that they want to do as well,” says Stewart.
Some believe good parenting can cancel out the impact.
“We’re parents, we're there all the time he has as much time with us as he does with anyone else. It’s kind of the nature verses nurture thing, the influence of us is more powerful than the influence of the game,” says Eureka Springs resident Gabe McCurry.
Despite mature ratings, several kids will get the games for Christmas, with these parents saying they will monitor or limit the amount their kids play. But others still may not.
Another thing parents may want to monitor, the way women are portrayed. "Grand Theft Auto" and other games sexualize women.

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