The positive and negative influences of violent/action games, henceforth called “action games”, remains controversial in the scholarly literature. Although debate continues whether action games influence aggressive behavior, little research has examined the influence of action games on civic engagement. The current study addresses this gap by examining the correlation between exposure to action games on civic engagement and on-line prosocial behavior in a sample of 873 teenagers. Results indicated that girls as well as teens who had parents who were more technologically savvy tended to engage in more civic behaviors. Exposure to action games predicted more prosocial behavior on-line, but did not predict civic engagement either positively or negatively. However, exposure to action games and parental involvement interacted to promote youth civic engagement. Action-game-playing-youth whose parents were involved in game play and supervision were most civically involved, compared to youth who did not play action games, or whose parents were less involved. These results indicated little support for the belief that exposure to violence in video games decreases prosocial behavior and/or civic engagement. Conversely some support was found for the possibility that playing action games is associated with small increased prosocial behavior and civic engagement in the real world, possibly due to the team-oriented multiplayer options in many of these games.
Computers in Human Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2011
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