Moral Development Higher in Young Video Game Players


Online gaming is at an all-time high right now. People can now enjoy various online games, from Mr Bet to the first-person shooter, spy-based and cross-platform video games. A recent survey by tech giant Verizon concluded that digital play has gone up 75% over the past year.

Video games help develop the brain and cognitive skills. According to a study, videogamers improve in sustained attention and selective attention.

However, recent video game news says the influence on moral development is still debatable. Is there a connection between aggression and violent video games? Moreover, children sometimes have access to adult games that are not allowed to people who are not 16 or 18 years old. Let us see what studies reveal.

Moral Development Higher in Young Video Game Players

What the Experts Say

‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ has been a common mindset when it comes to critics. There is backlash trying to prove the negative impact of video games on moral conviction.  

Playing a video game develops a higher level of moral reasoning. How an individual chooses to process an in-game ethical dilemma says a lot about their innate perceptions. As players face and overcome these challenges, their moral reasoning grows.

Currently, the best video game definition of a morally challenging version is BioShock, an FPS. Players have to choose whether to shoot or save a little sister. In The Walking Dead, the character may have to do something morally ugly like eating human flesh.

When players come up with a solution to such problems, they display a more remarkable ability to reason along with moral guidelines. If playing supports moral development, we can only conclude that playing across a broader genre increases moral reasoning.

Sex Differences: Males vs. Females

Lots of studies have been conducted regarding the sexes. Some video game facts state that females generally:

  • Spend fewer hours playing
  • Tend to prefer less violent games
  • Apply more emotion when gaming.

Sex disparities in gameplay show a sex difference in morality (not forgetting other factors). 

Using this model to determine the effect on morality, one comes to an inevitable conclusion. That males who regularly play video games have a higher level of moral reasoning, even though females have more moral development.

Young Video Game Players

Eudaimonic and Hedonic Experiences

We’ll define these two terms in the most straightforward words: 

Eudaimonic experiences derive from meaning and purpose, while hedonism is achieved through experiences of pleasure and enjoyment. But what do they have to do with gaming and morality?

Most video game genres focus on enjoyment and fun challenges. Most developers aim at hedonistic emotional experiences of digital play. 

On the other hand, players will (most probably) tap into eudaimonic appreciation to overcome moral challenges. Players get a mixed effect influenced by both positive and negative emotions. And believe it or not, most people prefer a morally challenging video game to a non-moral one.

Over 18 Years

Overall, studies show that video games affect moral development in the adolescent stage between 14 and 17 years.  However, there is little evidence to show that it affects moral development in 18 to 21 years olds.

The main reason is that 18 years is when young people in many countries become adults. They experience a huge change in their life at this age, such as higher education or getting a job. The drastic life transformation strengthens their moral development, and as a result, video games may not affect them in any way.

Under 18s are more susceptible to video games effects; thus, they should observe age rating on video games using systems such as ESRB and PEGI. However, how teenagers play video games also makes a big difference in their moral development. 

All in all, they should play different genres and also engage in age-appropriate games to ensure minimal effects on moral development.

Final Thought

Most new video game releases in 2021 prompt players to make decisions that define their gameplay. It is best to analyze the effect of digital entertainment on moral development on an individual basis. 

After all, there is evidence of the positive influences and relationships that video games have on morality. There is no significant video game influence in people who are over 18. However, under 18s should play age-appropriate games and a wide variety of genres.

Let us know your thoughts or experiences. We would love to hear from you.