Where does the anger that children feel when they play come from?


  • 98% of children play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Publishers Union.
  • A third of gamers say that video games have helped them make friends and feel like they belong to a community. Most see their community as caring and welcoming.
  • If an hour of video games can be beneficial, it is recommended to limit the time of exposure to screens (television, video games, Internet) to a maximum of 2 hours a day for children, according to a Spanish study.

How can an activity that is supposed to be fun make your child so angry? If many times the video game has been unfairly singled out for its violence, the causes of this brutal nervousness are more complicated than that. Finnish researchers at the University of Eastern Finland wanted to understand this phenomenon.

To achieve this, they recruited sixth and ninth graders from three Finnish schools, aged between 12 and 15 years. The tweens told them how they felt as players during private interviews. The results of their study were published in the journal International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction. The authors have identified four main criteria in the origin of anger, which do not always come from the game itself.

The anger among young gamers does not come only from the video game itself

First of all, the feeling of failure, caused by losing a game or the death of your avatar, causes annoyance, which can turn into rage, even rage, if the situation repeats itself. The story of a sixth-grade girl, Amélie, cited in the study, informs this. “If I die all the time, it’s pretty annoying and… of course the anger comes later.” she says.

The second criterion is the behavior of other players. For example, having a team of broken arms as allies or facing opponents much stronger than you. Then the third source of frustration is technical issues. The famous “lag” (a connection that is too slow that prevents progress in the game) or bugs in particular.

Finally, the last one is the interruptions of the game by outsiders. Your son could blame you for that if you came to cut him up to put him to bed.

Multiplayer video games are the most annoying

But not all games are created equal on the rage scale. According to the researchers, the ones that cause the most frustration are multiplayer video games, especially when they are competitive. The best known are Fortnite, a competition that mixes survival and shooting game where up to 100 players can fight each other from a distance until the last survivor, or League of Legends, a more cooperative and highly competitive strategy and action game. Games with a demanding difficulty, in which you spend more time without being able to progress, are also a source of irritation.

Between these games, the community around the player can also be a source of negative feelings, due to the teasing or humiliation that beginners can suffer. Added to these annoyance factors are of course issues outside of the game, such as context (for example, having a bad day before playing) or environment (such as the noise around you).

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