The influence of computer games on children in Thailand

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Using digital computer technology, video/computer games have become one of the dominant entertainment media for children in a very short time. The increasingly realistic and exciting nature of electronic games has helped to make them enormously popular. Thai children now play computer or video games on a regular basis. Besides being fun, some computer games include high levels of violence and are thought to be inappropriate for all children and harmful to some. This study attempted to explore the influence of playing computer games on Thai children. A growing body of research has linked violent video game play to increased time spent playing computer games, poor attitudes and behaviours, and lowered academic performance. Independent variables include the type of computer (violent and nonviolent) and gender (boy and girl). The first goal of this study was to document the video game habits of Thai children and evaluate the time spent playing computer games. The second goal was to examine the influence of playing computer games on Thai childrens' behaviour such as aggression, adaptive skills, and emotional status. Finally, analyses were conducted to test whether academic performance was influenced by playing violent computer games. Two hundred Thai students aged between 8 to 11 years from Nakhon Ratchasima Primary School participated in the study. The students were randomly selected from the school population and the data were collected by using survey questionnaire, self-report, parent rating scale, teacher rating scale, and accessing school academic records. Not surprisingly, this study found that boys prefer to play violent gan1es. However, a minority of girls were found to play violent games also. Furthermore, the results indicated that children who play violent games spent more time playing computer games, reported higher levels of negative behaviours such as aggression, conduct problems, and lower levels of adaptive skills, and performed slightly poorer in academic performance. Boys were found spend more hours playing violent games and non-violent games compared to girls. Boys who mostly like to play violent games had more negative behaviour and poorer academic performance than boys who mostly like to play non-violent games. Few differences in attitude and behaviour were found between girls who mostly like to play violent games compared to girls who mostly play non-violent games. In summary, this study indicated that violent games negatively influence boys more so than girls. Furthermore, the findings suggest that playing violent computer games rise of lowering academic performance and increasing maladaptive attitude and behaviour. Recommendations for playing violent computer games are discussed.
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