Whether parents like it or not, video games are a big part of many young teenagers' lives, but sometimes these games get a bad rap. A new study hopes to change that.
Researchers looked at more than 1,200 seventh and eighth graders who play video games regularly.
"We found that most boys 12-14 years old are playing Mature-rated video games, so this idea that 'M' rated games cause shootings or major violence just doesn't hold water," explained psychiatrist Dr. Cheryl Olson of Massachusetts General Hospital.
The study was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Mental Health and Media
Researchers say these games help teens deal with their emotions like stress and anger.
"We don't know whether playing to get anger out is a good thing or a bad thing for any individual child, but we suspect that it might be healthy for a lot of kids," said Olson.
Dr. Olson says playing video games is also a social activity.
"They're more likely to play with a group of friends in the same room or over the internet. This stereotype of a solitary violent gamer up in his room wasn't born out, at least in our study. It's not going to ruin them, they're not going to go out and pick up a gun. Violent video game play is typical and normal for kids nowadays. That doesn't mean that parents have to like it, but they shouldn't panic about it."
Researchers say parents should still be aware of the games their kids are playing and limit their use by keeping game consoles and computers out of their bedrooms.
The study was published in the 'Journal of Adolescent Health.'