Children are more likely to introduce violent themes into their pretend play, such as imaginary fighting or killing, if they are with playmates whom peers consider bad-tempered, new research suggests.
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Academics from the University of Cambridge believe that the tendency for children to introduce aggressive themes in these situations — which seems to happen whether or not they are personally easy to anger — may be because they are ‘rehearsing’ strategies to cope with hot-headed friends.
The finding comes from an observational study of more than 100 children at a school in China, who were asked to play with toys in pairs. Children whose play partners were considered bad-tempered by their peers were 45% more likely to introduce aggressive themes into their pretend play than those whose partners were reckoned to be better at controlling their temper.
Importantly, however, a child’s own temperament did not predict the level of make-believe
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Violence against animals in video games is ubiquitous. Players can kill or torture animals in various popular games, including Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto V. The rise of this (increasingly realistic) trend in games, along with people’s tendency to go along with it, raises important questions.
Violence against humans in video games has long been contentious—underpinned by the never-ending debate over whether on-screen violence begets the real thing. But violence against animals in video games has attracted considerably less attention.
In a recently published paper, we argue there is good reason to think violence against animals in video games is problematic—perhaps even more so than in-game violence against humans. We think game violence against animals is more likely to promote disrespect for their living counterparts.
The jury is out
In 2005, Australia banned a first-person shooter game called Postal 2, in which players could mutilate and desecrate (virtual) human bodies.
Brisbane-based family lawyer Kay Feeney has seen a lot when it comes to domestic violence, dealing with forms of abuse that are both visible and invisible. Clients have come into her practice, Feeney Family Law, having been physically or sexually assaulted. They also come in having had their partners watch their every move by installing cameras in their homes, placing tracking devices on their cars, or constantly check-in through GPS applications on mobile phones to see exactly where they go.
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She’s seen people who have so little control of their own finances they’ve had to stand at the check-out in the supermarket with a trolley full of groceries for their families, call their partners and ask for the exact amount required to complete the transaction, and wait for it to be transferred.
Domestic violence can occur in many ways. Its broad definition includes emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse.