ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Proponents and critics of video games have been arguing about their impact on kids almost since the first Pong games came into American homes in the 1970s.

Now a study finds that teenagers who play violent video games for long periods of time lose their sense of right and wrong,” reports the BBC.

Canadian researchers monitored the behavior of about 100 13 and 14-year-olds and found over-exposure to violent games weakened their “moral maturity.”

Brock University scientists were concerned about teens who played 3 or more hours a day of games which depicted realistic killings, maiming and mutilating of human characters without any other significant social interaction.

Those teens, they said, displayed less empathy, conern or trust for other people

“Spending too much time within the virtual world of violence may prevent [gamers] from getting involved in different positive social experiences in real life, and in developing a positive sense of what is right and wrong,” said the study.

The researchers urged parents to make sure their kids are exposed to positive social situations.

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