Health:Video Games aren't bad for children

Friday, February 13, 2009

A new report by the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection says that video games may be good for children, promoting cooperation and creativity.

The report, which found a number of benefits and no definitive link to aggressive behavior, counters the violent reputation of some titles, and may help reassure nervous parents of game addicts.

"Video games are in most cases not dangerous and can even contribute to the development of important skills," Toine Manders, the Dutch liberal lawmaker who authored the report, told Reuters.

"(They stimulate) learning of facts and skills such as strategic reflection, creativity, cooperation and a sense of innovation," said a news release about the findings.Rather than issuing a call for new legislation banning certain games, the report instead urged EU states to collaborate in strengthening the current voluntary code known as "PEGI", which rates games according to their content.

Last year, total revenues from the video gaming industry were more than seven billion euros ($9 billion), the report said. In Britain, video games outsold music and other video products for the first time last year, according to a separate study.

However, the EU report said that not all games are appropriate for children, and noted that some books and movies are targeted solely to an older audience. It also conceded that some games that contain violent content could "stimulate" aggressive behavior in certain situations.

The report emphasized parental involvement, and proposed the development of a "red button" to allow parental control of game content and the duration of play. However, the report did not provide specific details about what form such a button might take.

The report questioned prevailing wisdom that games were targeted mainly towards children, citing data that showed the European video game player is 33 years of age.





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