Kids who play video games like “Manhunt” and “Grand Theft Auto III” are more likely to drive recklessly, according to a new study published in the academic journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
Research has long shown that kids who play violent video games are more likely to have risky thoughts. But the new study went a step further, asking teenagers to admit whether or not they had actually performed the dangerous driving acts.
The researchers, of Dartmouth College, conducted a series of phone interviews over a four-year period with thousands of youths, starting when the subjects were not yet old enough to drive. This allowed them to determine whether the kids’ video game play preceded any risky driving.
In later stages of the study, once the participants were driving regularly, the scientists asked kids questions such as whether they had ever been pulled over by the police and whether they had been in an accident in the previous year. The researchers found a significant correlation between violent video game play and reckless driving: People who played violent video games were more likely to also drive recklessly. The researchers did not, however, report how much more likely such behaviours were when kids played violent video games, only that the two were strongly related. Participants who played such games were also more likely to admit a willingness to drink and drive, researchers said.
The findings were consistent even when the researchers controlled for a number of variables, including parenting style in the kids’ households, and held even when the kids reported playing violent games that had nothing to do with driving, like the game “Spider-Man.”
So if the games don’t directly teach kids poor driving habits, what gives? The authors of the study propose that violent video games change a young player’s self-perception, so that they see themselves as someone who does risky things.
In other words, the researchers suggest, the players become more like the characters they are controlling on screen.
©2012 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Columns & Advice
Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X