Is your iPad or some other device keeping your child occupied with video games? If yes, think again.

In a study conducted in Canada, Brock University academics found that playing violent video games for long periods of time can hold back the ‘moral maturity’ of teenagers. They also warned of adolescents losing a sense of ‘right and wrong’. Empathy, trust and concern for others, which should develop as teenagers grow up, were found to be delayed.  (BBC News website)

Another report states: “Research has long shown a cause-effect relationship between television violence and aggression among children and youth who watch it. Many social scientists expect video games to have an even greater impact for the following four reasons:

– Children are more likely to imitate the actions of a character with whom they identify.

– Video games require active participation rather than passive observation.

– Repetition increases learning. Video games involve a great deal of repetition. If the games are violent, then the effect is a behavioural rehearsal for violent activity.

– Rewards increase learning, and video games are based on a reward system.

Early research confirms those concerns. A 2004 study by Gentile, Lynch, Linder & Walsh found that teens who play violent video games:

– Tend to be more aggressive.

– Are more prone to confrontation with their teachers.

– May engage in fights with peers.

– Decline in school achievements.

While the above effects are serious enough, the negative impact on imaan and akhlaaq (character) are even worse. May Allah Ta‘ala guide us all, aameen.