Cooperating in violent games like Fortnite is good for children, actually

Social psychologically speaking, anyway

    
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Here’s something that might bake your noodle: A new study suggests that children playing violent video games cooperatively such as Fortnite are actually more willing to engage in prosocial behavior.

The paper, titled The Fortnite social paradox: The effects of violent-cooperative multi-player video games on children’s basic psychological needs and prosocial behavior by Anat Shoshani and Maya Krauskopf, pulled together a sample of 845 nine- to 12-year-olds, had them play games that were either violent (Fortnite) or neutral (Pinball FX2) and single-player or co-op, measured the players’ perception of the level of violence, and then afterward had them engage in two types of prosocial tasks where they could provide assistance to the experimenter and donate raffle money to charity.

According to the researchers, participants in violent cooperative games were more engaged in the prosocial behaviors than not, regardless of the actual game’s violent content:

“The violent co-player condition was associated with more helping behaviors than the neutral co-player condition. Increased satisfaction of psychological needs was shown to act as a mediator. The social context and the psychological experience influenced the participants’ prosocial behavior more than the formal content of the game.”

The paper is paywalled and set for publication in the journal Computers in Human Behavior later this spring; the preprint we viewed aims to “[contribute] to the growing number of studies that challenge the common assumption that violent video games lead directly to a decrease in prosocial behavior” with results that “emphasize the importance of the context of the game, not just the content, when examining the effects of video games on social behavior.” The authors also note that they hope future studies will have a more even balance of gender (more boys than girls participated in the survey) and a broader range of games (though they note the prosocial effect was stronger for people playing violent content in Fortnite than neutral content in Fortnite).

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Bruno Brito

Seeing kids work together like little murderous psychopaths brings tears to my eyes.

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Scorp Gang

Off Topic: I do not like or play Fortnite but I respect it because of all the PC Gamers it’s creating. Don’t believe me? Type “Switched to PC” in YouTube.

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styopa

Of course it teaches social behavior. Humans, like chimps, have more or less ALWAYS cooperated to kill others – whether they’re prey or other humans or frankly both.

We are extremely poorly equipped in terms of natural weapons – no claws, teeth, stingers, armor, and infantile muscle development – and lots of other animals work socially, so clearly language was the thing that made us wildly successful in our ability to outcompete everything else on the planet.

It’s likely literally one of the foundational human skill sets. Probably some of the first intelligible words uttered by a proto-human were effectively “hey, you and me let’s go kill Ook over there”.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Considering a lot of ‘charities’ nowadays are just a scam someone’s using to funnel money to their own pockets…I wouldn’t necessarily consider a charity ‘prosocial’ to begin with…considering greedy behavior is technically antisocial…but that’s a semantic argument…

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Ironwu

Well, street gangs have prosocial behavior. Fascist regimes have prosocial behavior.

Like most things, context is everything. Having prosocial behavior within your own group may, or may not, translate to prosocial behavior outside your group.

These days, I think we are seeing the direct result of ‘prosocial’ behavior that is only applied to members of one’s own group of like minded people. Outside that group? The behavior is most definitely antisocial.

So, I take this ‘finding’ with a huge dose of salt, and a wary eye of skepticism.

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Soy

Yeah. This was a stretch. “Sharing in a common interest as a group promotes doing things with other people.” Who would have thought?

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

This seems to be a broad misunderstanding of what they meant and measured with “prosocial.”