Vertical News: Violent Video Games Damage Empathy, Study Finds

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Violent Video Games Damage Empathy, Study Finds

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A study from Brock University in Ontario, Canada has found that teenagers who spend more than three hours playing videos games a day may have an underdeveloped ability to empathize. Excessive focus on gaming, exposure to violence, and lack of contact with others makes it more difficult to tell right from wrong and to see a situation from the perspective of others.

The study analyzed the gaming habits of 109 girls and boys age 13 and 14. Over half of the group played games daily. Scientists examined the moral development of the participants and how they were progressing through the four developmental stages of moral judgment. The young people in the study, who should be at stage 3 – “developing empathy for others” – were disrupting their progress by playing violent video games.

Another study from the University of Belgium found that teenagers who spend hours playing video games have developed brains like gambling addicts. Those studied played games for more than nine hours a week and had an overdeveloped dopamine response, the same kind that makes gamblers unable to stop, even when they are losing (Fiona MacRae, "Violent Video Games Leave Teenagers 'Morally Immature,' Claims Study," The Daily Mail at, February 6, 2014).

The Bible speaks...

There's an interesting account of excess of violence and evil in the Biblical record. An observation, by God, about humanity during the time before the great flood of Noah's days:

"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart," (Genesis 6:5-6, NKJV).

It was this from situation that God chose to unleash a worldwide flood, which wiped clean the earth's population, the only exception being Noah, his wife, their three sons and their respective wives (2 Peter 2:5). The human population was so morally impaired that they had to be eliminated at that time in order for a new population to be built from Noah and his family. All of those who died, however, will one day live again and have the opportunity to understand God without delusion (Revelation 20:5, Revelation 20:11-13).

For those of us now, who are reading the Bible and understand the importance of God's way of life and getting rid of evil from our own lives, our opportunity to obey God is during this lifetime. Consuming undue violence, which in turn damages our ability to empathize with others also damages our ability to see things as God would have us see them.

Take responsibility for your life, guard your mind, and choose carefully what kind of and how much gaming you do!