Violent Video Game Playing, Moral Reasoning, and Attitudes Towards Violence in Adolescents: Is There a Connection?
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In this study of 109 adolescents from the eighth grade of seven public elementary schools in Ontario, the relationship among adolescents’ violent video game playing patterns, habits and attitudes, their levels of moral reasoning, and their attitudes towards violence in real life was investigated. In addition, gender differences were addressed. The mixed-methodology was employed combining qualitative and quantitative data. The research results confirmed that playing video games in general is a very popular activity among those adolescents. Significant negative relationship was found between adolescents’ amount of time playing violent video games during the day and their scores on The Sociomoral Reflection Measure. Significant difference was also found between adolescents who play violent video games and those who do not play violent video games on their scores on The Attitudes Towards Violence Scale. Boys and girls significantly differed in the amount of playing video games during the day, the reasons for playing video games, their favourite video game choices, and their favourite video game character choices. Boys and girls also significantly differed on their choices of personality traits of selected video game characters, the identification with video game characters, and their mood experiences while playing video games. The findings are put into the educational context and the context of normal development, and suggestions are given for parents, for educators, and for future violent video game research.