intently into the screen, and grip the joystick with my right hand and
franctically punch the red button with my left. If I could cleverly
maneuver the big yellow circle around the maze so it swallowed enough
dots and avoided those pesky ghosts, I could increase my score and move
on to the next level.
As a kid playing Pac-Man on my Atari, I never could've imagined how
cutting-edge technology would vastly improve video games through
high-definition 3D graphics, sound effects, and movie-quality acting
and editing. Now, instead of squinting at a small pixellated image on a
screen, Play Stations, Nintendo Game Cubes, and X Boxes allow "gamers"
to all but live out their favorite adventures—be it playing quarterback
in the NFL, web-swinging through the city of New York as Spiderman, or
solving puzzles and fighting off enemies as an ancient ninja—all from
the comfort of their living room sofas.
But with improved technology comes an important question—with so many
video games featuring "realistic-looking" violence, how does this
affect real-life behavior, especially in children? Years of research on
the effects of violent video games have been conducted, but debate
exists over the relationship between game-playing and actual
aggression. This week's feature article, "Deadening the Heart," delves
further into this topic. Don't miss its insights and opinions below.
As parents, it's rewarding to take credit for the positive traits your
kids glean from you, but disconcerting to see your children imitate
your worst characteristics. Advice and encouragement for this tricky
area of parenting is available in Christian Parenting Today
"Whose Child Is That?"—also featured below.
Whether or not you're a parent, faithful prayer is one of the best
features of a life worth imitating. Please take a moment now, and
continue joining us in prayer for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and
Thanks for reading this week.
ChristianityToday.com Connection e-mail:
video games are no 'safety valve'—quite the opposite.
Steve Johnson, author of Everything
Bad is Good for You, says violent video games are good for
children. He thinks that video games such as Grand Theft Auto: San
Andreas may "function as a kind of safety valve—they let kids who
would otherwise be doing violent things for the thrill of it, get out
those kind of feelings sitting at home at a screen." Says Johnson:
"This may have a deterrent effect on violence."
But the American Psychological Association thinks otherwise. Time spent
playing violent video games "increases aggressive thoughts, aggressive
behavior, and angry feelings among youth." Less than a week before the Ottawa
Citizen reported Johnson's remarks, the professional society for
psychologists acted on 20 years of research into the effects of violent
video games. After a "special committee" reviewed more than 70 studies,
the organization adopted a resolution calling for the "reduction of
violence in interactive media used by children and adolescents."