The Usefulness of Video Games to Mental Health and the Pursuit of Social Interest

The rise in popularity and use of video games has carried with it a number of concerns by parents and activist groups regarding what effect these games are having on those who play them, with special attention being paid to the effect of video games on children and adolescents. The majority of research in this area has confirmed a link between violent content in video games and increased aggression by those who play them. This is a concern among researchers. However, a possible solution to this problem can be found in the studies that have demonstrated a similar link between prosocial themes in video games and prosocial behaviors in those who play them. Instead of limiting video games as a whole, the best way to address the concern of increased aggression may be to mediate the content in such games by encouraging the development of games with more prosocial themes. This thesis reviews available research addressing the use and content of video games, the identification and practice of social interest, and how those two variables interact. Suggestions are included for further research possibilities as well as recommendations for video game developers, parents, mental health professionals, and gamers.

Robert Mantia
Year Completed: 
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