Press Start to Play, Pause to Reflect: The Effects of FPS Video Games on Teen Mental Health

digital safety digital well-being Mar 13, 2024
Press Start to Play, Pause to Reflect: The Effects of FPS Video Games on Teen Mental Health | Digital4Good

By: Cameron Grodi, Seasonal Public Relations Intern | Digital4Good


With the recent rise in mass shootings across the United States, many are seeking to identify the factors that drive predominantly young male perpetrators to unleash such devastating violence. The surge in these tragic events is primarily attributed to issues such as mental health conditions, political agendas, and the accessibility of automatic weapons. However, an increasing number of individuals are considering the possibility that video games are inciting violent behavior.


How Mature Games Affect Teens’ Mental State 

The influence of first-person shooter (FPS) games on adolescents’ mental well-being has been a growing concern for years. In “Effects of Violent Video Games on Teens”, Arastou Aminzadeh claims that violent video games have the potential to induce negative behaviors, such as pathological lying, manipulation, impulsivity, irresponsibility, and a preference for instant gratification. These traits can contribute to the manifestation of antisocial tendencies like aggression and misbehavior.


A Guide to Healthier Gaming Habits

From graphic content to addictive gameplay mechanics, there are various factors to consider when it comes to managing children's gaming habits. However, with proactive measures and informed decision-making, parents can ensure a healthy balance between gaming and other aspects of their children's lives. 


Follow these tips to help your child stay safe while enjoying their favorite digital hobby.


  1. Set age-appropriate boundaries

Applying age restrictions to video game consoles is an essential step in preventing exposure to inappropriate content. Age restrictions prevent access to content including violence, explicit language, and mature themes, which may not be suitable for their age and developmental stage. You can also set a time limit on most consoles, helping to curb excessive gaming time. 


  1. Review game content

Checking game ratings is a quick, simple method to determine whether a game is age-appropriate. However, the more research you do, the better. To help you make an informed decision on whether to purchase a game for your child, read the game’s reviews and look up its content online.


  1. Encourage open communication

Create a safe and non-judgmental environment where your child can freely discuss their gaming experiences and concerns with you. Listen actively, validate their feelings, and provide guidance and support as needed. Be proactive in initiating conversations about video game content, setting boundaries, and discussing the potential impact of mature themes on their well-being. 


  1. Suggest alternative hobbies 

Activities that support physical, social, and intellectual development, such as reading, socializing, and exercising, are essential to your child’s health. Playing video games is not inherently harmful, but just as with everything else in life, balance and moderation are key.


In a Nutshell

Video games can impact teens in various ways. By fostering open communication, setting healthy boundaries, and encouraging balanced gaming habits, we can empower them to navigate this digital landscape responsibly. 

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