Video games can induce good behavior

Media and legislators often portray video games as bad influences on children's behavior, but new research concludes that some video games influence good behavior, specifically the desire to help other people.
This is good news for educators, parents, and children who use video games for learning and entertainment.

Pro-social Video Games

In the June 2009 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a consortium of researchers from the U.S., Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia reported a positive correlation between playing "prosocial" video games and the likelihood of helping other people over harming them.

According to the researchers, prosocial games "involve characters who help and support each other in nonviolent ways."

Report co-author Brad Bushman said, "The type of content in the game has a bigger impact than the overall amount of time spent playing."

Video Games as Learning Tools

Many children today play extensively for both recreation and as part of their learning activities, oftentimes simultaneously through so-called "edutainment" games. Playing both adventure, quest, and simulation-type recreational games and curriculum-based educational games with obvious learning objectives motivate children to develop skills in order to solve problems and reach goals.

A group of researchers who gathered in Boston for the American Psychological Association convention reported on a series of studies which suggested that video games can be powerful learning tools. One study even looked at the popular multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft.

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