Sociology ETDs

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The majority of literature that concerns itself with the effects of video games and youth focus on negative potential outcomes, like the potential for increased antisocial behavior. Whats more, that literature also focuses on the content of the games themselves and not necessarily on the actions of other players within games. This study considers what happens when players witness antisocial behavior acted out by other players as well as intervention against that behavior and the role that parental involvement plays in mediating the direct effects of gaming and youth civic engagement. Weighing three differing perspectives on the relationship between video games, technology more broadly and aspects of civic engagement, this study utilizes data from a nationally representative survey using multivariate regression analyses. Those analyses highlighted positive relationships between prosocial gaming behavior and three of the five aspects of civic engagement considered across increasingly complex statistical models. These results seem to support the perspective that argues that the effects video games and their content have on youth civic engagement is contextual, in that there is room for positive relationships, and not simply negative ones. These results are discussed in a way that reframes the discussion on the nature of games and their ability to foster more than just antisocial or aggressive behavior.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Thomas, Reuben

Second Committee Member

Velez, Maria


Sociology, Video Games, Civic Engagement, Youth, Parental Involvement



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