Violent Video Games Alter Boys' Heart Rates, Sleep

Filed under: Toys

Two boys playing video gamesScientists in Sweden have found that violent video games affect boys' heart rate -- both during play and during sleep afterwards -- more than non-violent games. For the study, the boys were given two video games to play at home in the evening while their heart rate was monitored. It was discovered that their heart rate variability -- the slight changes in length of time between heartbeats -- was impacted more while playing video games with violent aspects than during non-violent games. The effect continued during the night while the boys slept, although the boys did not report feeling as though they slept poorly.

The study, reported by Science Daily, shows that the central nervous system can be affected by violent video games without the player even noticing. That is, such games affect us in ways that don't register on a conscious level. While this might be a great boon for advertisers and unscrupulous politicians, I suspect there may very well be effects we don't want our kids to experience.

I also wonder if a similar finding would be uncovered if the study were done with violent movies and television shows. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that that were the case -- and maybe people would stop laughing at me for telling my children that Disney is for big kids.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.