You have no doubt read news stories about how playing video games can lead to violence and aggression in children. A new study suggests there may be more we need to understand. Namely, what a child’s name has to do with their violent behavior.
We interviewed Dr. Robert Carson* at the Institute of Psychophysical Learning, and he gave us the details about this new study.
“Video game violence has been the topic of debate for a long time. We realized there was a real opportunity to science this thing into a corner. We started by merely observing a few children playing regular games that involve crossing roads, or building things, and then slowly modified the game parameters until they were playing games that involved graphically harming one another. After about an hour of playing, they started to get bored, but we coaxed them on with the promise of candy and other sugary foods, because let’s face it, kids are suckers. After another hour, we noticed that one of our lab ra– er, children named ‘Stewart’ became pretty aggressive. Every time another test subject would kill him in the game, he would lash out and physically assault the virtual aggressor. We broke up a couple of fights, and then decided to call it a day. The next day, we continued our tests and a couple more hours in, we saw the same angry and aggressive behavior. But we noticed that ‘Stewart’ was the only person who exhibited violence in this way. After a week more testing, we concluded that it must be his name that actually caused the outbursts.”
That’s right, it’s the child’s name that actually helps determine if they will be violent or not. Dr. Carson* explained that they first thought it might be the number of syllables in the child’s name, but had to move past that once little ‘Randy’ was an absolute violence-less angel. For the time being, Dr. Carson* recommends taking away any video games from children named ‘Stewart’ until they can determine what the real deciding factor is. As a parent, if you want to be extra safe, we would even recommend taking away video games from any children who’s name starts with the letter ‘S’.
* Name changed for anonymity