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interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kids

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* How_science_proved_that_DnD_doesn’t_harm_your_kidskyonshi
`* Re: How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kid s (was: How science provedgbbgu
 `* Re: How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kid skyonshi
  +- Re: How science proved that DnD doesn?t harm your kid sSpalls Hurgenson
  `- Re: How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kid sAlex Schroeder

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How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kids

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From: gmke...@gmail.com (kyonshi)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.advocacy,rec.games.frp.dnd,rec.games.frp.misc
Subject: How_science_proved_that_DnD_doesn’t_harm_your_kid
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 by: kyonshi - Fri, 29 Dec 2023 11:14 UTC

https://www.wargamer.com/dnd/safe-for-kids

How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kids

In the 80s, people thought D&D was corrupting their kids, so scientists
investigated - here's how their work proved the satanic panic wrong.
How science proved DnD doesn't harm your kids - stock image of a
magnifying glass showing a stock image of RPG dice within the glass
Wargamer

Joe Stammeijer

Ah, DnD – great fun, super social and, as we explored in an earlier
article, even a great tool for therapy. No arguments there, right? The
public (and scientific) opinion of Dungeons and Dragons wasn’t always
this rosy, though – once upon a time, DnD was viewed as a menace.

My name is Dr Joe, Wargamer’s Resident Psychiatrist, and today we’re
going to explore the Satanic Panic, how scientists tried (and failed) to
find the harm in DnD, and how we proved that playing tabletop RPGs
doesn’t harm your kids. Or you.

Just don’t eat the dice.

Even the stars of Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves were shocked
to hear DnD inspired a ‘Satanic Panic’, so don’t beat yourself up if
it’s news to you too! It was a wild era.

Geopolitics and the redefining of the American psyche aside, the 1980s
showed a general tendency for public terror in the face of threatened
corruption – and one of the many forms that took (primarily in the USA
but also the UK) was a widespread fear that DnD was corrupting the youth.

At the extreme end of the phenomenon, some people were fairly convinced
that DnD was leading young people into literal satanic worship. There
were relatively few of these extremists, but they were the thin end of
the wedge in an impressively pervasive sociocultural backlash. So many
people began claiming RPGs were causing harm, so loudly, that
researchers began actively investigating it.

The drivers of this (along with DnD’s part in it) have already been
really well explored in this Dicebreaker piece by Olivia Kennedy, so our
focus here is going to be the part science and research had to play in
the panic.

See, scientists hunted pretty thoroughly for proof that DnD harms
people, and – as we’ll see below – received a reassuringly empty haul
for their efforts.

The hunt for harm

Now, some folks had made their mind up already – in their 1987 book ‘A
Christian Response to Dungeons And Dragons’, Peter Leithart and George
Grant called the game “the chief weapon used in this spiritual raid on
our children”, saying it was outright dangerous; an “introduction to
evil, a catechism of occultism” and “a recruiting tool of Satan”. What
an advert…

That year brought some slightly more professional work too – in 1987
researchers undertook a study looking for emotional instability in
players, starting out by highlighting the claim DnD was linked to
suicides, homicides and promoting those acts. What did they find when
they looked? Nothing. No link.

In an ideal world, scientists and their priorities should be immune to
peer pressure from a public flap like the Satanic Panic, but the
questions they started asking showed they were anything but. A 1991
article by Abeyta and Forest, for instance, hypothesised – based on the
media portrayal at the time – that playing RPGs would be associated with
increased criminality.

The paper’s opening lays out the public critique of DnD, even including
the claims it was linked to emotionally unstable behaviour, suicides and
homicides. It explores the foundation of the organisation ‘Bothered
About Dungeons and Dragons’ (B.A.D.D.) in 1983; it examines claims that
DnD lead to a breakdown of the ability to differentiate fantasy from
reality; and it looks at previous academic explorations of RPG harm.

The researchers not only found no link between DnD and criminality, they
actually found an increase in criminality-associated traits among people
who did not play RPGs.

The paper’s authors did comment that people denouncing RPGs “have not
considered the possibility that other factors besides role-playing may
be involved in the expression of the criminal behaviour”, and they do
really seem to have tried to explore the question impartially.

But the fact that Abeyta and Forest’s hypothesis was even accepted as a
reasonable starting point demonstrates the sheer strangeness of the
Satanic Panic era. For a brief few years, folks were positively obsessed
with nailing DnD as the malign influence behind Satanic worship and even
murder.

The Cultic Studies Journal published work in 1995 looking for a link
between satanic practices and playing DnD – i.e. directly investigating
the popular idea that DnD was just Satanism with a D20.

They assessed and compared multiple personality dimensions between DnD
players, controls, and satanists (can you imagine the recruitment
posters?) and found – drum roll please – no link. They also found:

* Significant personality differences between Satanists and players.
* No evidence whatsoever that RPGs lead to satanic practices.

A 1998 paper similarly started off from a ‘DnD harms’ standpoint,
suggesting previous research showed DnD players were “less empathic and
more introverted” (if you’ve read my earlier Wargamer article on DnD
therapy, you already know this isn’t true; DnD players are more
empathetic). The research seems to start from a view that DnD must be
associated with low mood or even suicidality – but finds no link.

One paper, published in 1990, did find a negative correlation. It was a
small sample size and the negative association they found was an
increased sense of alienation. Amid a public primed to see DnD players
as corrupted souls and devil worshippers, we probably shouldn’t be too
surprised they felt a bit on their own.

Interestingly, this paper also found DnD players had fewer feelings of
meaninglessness compared to non-players. Despite their alienation, the
RPGers still felt a stronger sense of purpose and self-identity than
their peers.

These papers all highlight the lack of evidence that DnD causes harm,
but it doesn’t seem to stop detractors from hunting for it. What’s
brilliant about this process, though, is that it’s inadvertently built a
great body of evidence to support the conclusion that DnD doesn’t cause
harm.

So what was all the fuss about, then?

We know that DnD is now used for therapy, and has brilliant effects even
beyond a therapeutic space. The unproven allegations of harm even led
researchers to suggest a more useful question than ‘Is DnD bad?’ might
well be: ‘Why do people falsely conclude that DnD is bad?’

It’s a good question, too. Why did people feel so strongly that DnD was
harmful? The authors of the 1991 paper mentioned earlier suggested the
‘availability heuristic’ likely had a part to play. This is the
psychological mechanism that means more ‘available’ or memorable events
(things which come more easily to mind, like vivid or shocking moments)
have the illusion of occurring more often than they actually do.

It combines nastily with humans’ inherent tendency to believe statements
and arguments that sound straightforward, logical, and intuitive,
regardless of whether they’re true or not. The idea that playing fantasy
games might make you lose touch with reality sounds half decent – until
you think about it properly and realise it’s nonsensical bilge.

That gruesome twosome, working together, is what makes folks jump on
simplistic, scapegoating answers to complex questions. It’s why, instead
of a logical, scientifically sound answer, we frequently see some very
bad ideas presented as the solution to the world’s problems.

So you can relax – DnD is great fun, Satan isn’t coming to steal your
dice, and the therapeutic benefits are something to be celebrated. The
hunt for harm came up short, and even managed to find some of the great
things DnD can do for you.

Re: How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kid s (was: How science proved that DnD doesn???t harm your kid s)

<qBLnN.44544$CYpe.25679@fx40.iad>

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 by: gbbgu - Thu, 11 Jan 2024 06:08 UTC

On 29 Dec 2023, kyonshi wrote:

> https://www.wargamer.com/dnd/safe-for-kids
>
> How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kids
>

Great article, can I send it back about 30 years ago?

Re: How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kid s

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From: gmke...@gmail.com (kyonshi)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.advocacy,rec.games.frp.dnd,rec.games.frp.misc
Subject: Re:_How_science_proved_that_DnD_doesn’t_harm_yo
ur_kid_s
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2024 09:43:04 +0100
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 by: kyonshi - Thu, 11 Jan 2024 08:43 UTC

On 1/11/2024 7:08 AM, gbbgu wrote:
> On 29 Dec 2023, kyonshi wrote:
>
>> https://www.wargamer.com/dnd/safe-for-kids
>>
>> How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kids
>>
>
> Great article, can I send it back about 30 years ago?

Back then it would have been discounted as satanic propaganda.

Also my time machine is on the fritz, I only seem to be able to travel
to the future, one day at a time.

Re: How science proved that DnD doesn?t harm your kid s

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From: spallshu...@gmail.com (Spalls Hurgenson)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: How science proved that DnD doesn???t harm your kid s
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2024 10:09:18 -0500
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 by: Spalls Hurgenson - Thu, 11 Jan 2024 15:09 UTC

On Thu, 11 Jan 2024 09:43:04 +0100, kyonshi <gmkeros@gmail.com> wrote:

>On 1/11/2024 7:08 AM, gbbgu wrote:
>> On 29 Dec 2023, kyonshi wrote:
>>
>>> https://www.wargamer.com/dnd/safe-for-kids
>>>
>>> How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kids
>>>
>>
>> Great article, can I send it back about 30 years ago?
>
>Back then it would have been discounted as satanic propaganda.

Nah, you'd have to go back 40 years for that. While there were still
some hold-outs on the whole "D&D=Satan!" issue even in the 90s (heck,
even in the 2020s!), on the whole the idea wasn't given much creedence
anymore. D&D's bigger problem in the 90s was that it was seen as an
extremely nerdy hobby, of interest only to the extremely introvert and
weird. Playing D&D, according to the public mindset of the 90s, was
more likely to lead you into a life without friends than it was into
the temptations of the devil.

And, in fact, the benefits of D&D were already being recognized in the
80s (usually as a direct reaction to the more inflamatory claims of
the evangelicals deriding the game, and often backed up by studies
showing positive results amongst youngsters who took up the game). It
wasn't - at the time - enough to outshout the panic-mongers but it set
a foundation for acceptance in later years.

>Also my time machine is on the fritz, I only seem to be able to travel
>to the future, one day at a time.

I too have a time-machine, but I accidentally parked it in tomorrow.

Re: How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kid s

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From: ale...@alexschroeder.ch (Alex Schroeder)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.advocacy,rec.games.frp.dnd,rec.games.frp.misc
Subject: Re: How science proved that DnD
doesn’t harm your kid s
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2024 14:41:41 -0000 (UTC)
Organization: Campaign Wiki
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 by: Alex Schroeder - Fri, 12 Jan 2024 14:41 UTC

kyonshi <gmkeros@gmail.com> wrote:.
>
> Also my time machine is on the fritz, I only seem to be able to travel
> to the future, one day at a time.
>

I laughed. 😂


interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / How science proved that DnD doesn’t harm your kids

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