*The following is excerpted from an online article from PsychCentral.
A new study finds that parents who are more anxious and emotional can prolong the amount of violent video games their children play.
Russell Laczniak, a professor of marketing at Iowa State University, says given the harmful effects of violent video games, he and his colleagues wanted to better understand how parents influence children’s behavior.
Their findings were insightful as parents who were more warm and restrictive were successful in limiting children’s play of violent video games. However, highly emotional and anxious parents had the opposite effect — their children played more.
“It’s not surprising that warmer and more restrictive parents, or what we call authoritative, are most effective at reducing the amount of violent video games played by their children,” Laczniak said.
“If parents are more anxious, their message is not as well received by their children and it inhibits what they’re trying to do. It’s pretty clear from our study that’s what’s happening with kids playing violent video games.”
Researchers found the emotional influence affected all children, but it was stronger for boys and first-born. This was not entirely surprising considering parents tend to be more anxious with their first child, Laczniak said.
Investigators specifically surveyed eight to 12-year-old children, because this is an impressionable time in their lives and an age when many children start playing video games.
“At this age, kids become more vulnerable to outside influences and their peers. As a result, people sometimes question whether parents can still have an impact,” Laczniak said.
“Our results pretty strongly suggest that they can, even among this group in which peer influences are starting to take over and have a stronger impact.”
Researchers believe the lesson to be learned from their study is that parents should set limits and be more calmly detached in the relations with their children.
“If parents want to reduce the amount of violent video games that their kids play, be warm when dealing with them, but somewhat restrictive at the same time, and set rules and those rules will work,” Laczniak said.
“For parents, who are more anxious, the rules become less effective and those kids are going to play more.”
The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs.