JAN. 27, 2006 | Parents who grew up with Pong and Ms. Pacman may not realize it, but today’s video games could have a more negative impact on their children than just keeping them from their homework.
In recent studies, Jeanne Funk, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Psychology at the
“Children with chronic violence exposure develop the idea that violence is normal,” Funk said, adding that many parents may not realize that this exposure includes violence on the television screen.
Funk has focused her research on the problem of violence in society and its impact on children. Specifically, she examines media violence – particularly violence in video and computer games – on children’s adjustment and behavior. One of Funk’s recent studies evaluates relationships between playing moderately violent games and empathy in kindergarteners. She is currently investigating desensitization to violence as a result of exposure to violent video games.
Funk testified before the Senate Commerce Committee in March 2000 about research on video game violence. She has written numerous articles and given presentations, including invited lectures at
Funk is quick to state that the findings do not conclusively say that the video games make the children less empathetic; it could be that children with lower empathy are drawn to violent video games more than others. She added that it also cannot be concluded that video games will make children more violent. She said children who already have several risk factors for violence are more likely to be influenced by the video games.