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I.H. Bulut, S. Bakay, O. Delialioglu

Middle East Technical University (TURKEY)
Violent video games has been a serious concern for society since they become an important part of children’s spare time activities. The concern of society and government resulted in comprehensive investigation of violent video games by academicians to determine whether violent video games cause aggression and violent behavior in real life. Although it is a controversial issue that violent video games affect real lives of children in a negative way, the governments and families have tendency to support censorship and limitations regarding violent video games that children are highly exposed to. This indicates that families have strong inclination to perceive that violent video games have serious effects on children. In this study, the perceived effects of video games by society is going to be examined based on the third-person effect theory proposed by Davison (1983).

Third-person effect is the leading perspective on perceived effects. This perspective assumes that people have tendency to assume or believe that media have stronger effects on others than themselves, and these assumptions and negative expectations result in reaction and and take some actions of people to prevent others from negative effects of media (Davison, 1983). In our context, violent video games can also be considered as one of the media source and be assumed that third-person effect can be observed on the perception of violent video games. This study conducted a survey and gather data from a sample of 49 individuals to examine the third-person effect on violent video games. A self-report questionnaire was conducted to measure the perceived influence of participants regarding violent video games. Social distance and exposure concepts that try to explain third-person effect is analyzed to understand why censorhip and restrictions might be supported by parents under the third-person effect. The educational effects of perceieved effect is discussed. By analyzing data, it is aimed to interpret why parents might set rules for their children about violent video game use.