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Research seems to suggest that fantasy has a negative effect on the amount of aggression found in children. Children with behavioral problems are less able to employ fantasy in play and have difficulty identifying themselves with a different role than that of their own self. Empathically well developed children are better in fantasy games."
In other words, it is unlikely that teenagers with pent up rage like seen in recent high school shootings are avid role-players or have been negatively influenced by role playing. Clearly they had issues, but its not related to role playing. Perhaps to the relief of many a parent, it also suggests that role players have a healthy emotional development.
If finding a rebuttal to the psychological scientific approach is difficult, refuting the anti-rpg claim about Satanism and the very real nature of role playing is near impossible. The claim seems absurd (this is make believe, we do not actually do anything), yet no logic can be used against it since it moves in the realm of mysticism and religion instead of science; there are only opinions, no absolute truths. And thus ironically its precisely these claims that do role-playing the most harm.
We can only point you to recognized pillars of the community who don't share the opinion of the anti-RPG groups. As one of our staff members related on the RPGconsortium forums "Until recently I was involved with an interesting gaming group. I was GM and I asked one of my players one night to respond to the Gaming (and thus DL in turn) is Satanic claims. His answer (in his Irish lilt) was "That is the biggest load of horse shit I have ever heard in my life!" Now you ask "what does this really have to do with me?" Well, this should clear it up. That player is a Bishop of the Catholic Church." There are also various Christian role playing groups that proof that religion and RPG can mix.
This leaves the argument that Role Playing teaches the wrong morals, or at least morals alien to Christians. Well again, that is only a matter of opinion. But R.A.D.I.C.A.L. would like to point out that in most settings good always conquers evil. It is the essence of fantasy. No matter how strong the evil and its demons, there is always a knight in shining White Armor to battle it and win the day.
So is Role Playing safe for your children to enjoy? R.A.D.I.C.A.L. says it is and invites you to explore this exciting hobby. We will post our scientific research, and point by point rebuttal of anti-RPG arguments and hope the pro-RPG defense movement will bring us a brighter future.
Names withheld on request to protect privacy. R.A.D.I.C.A.L. is part of the RPG Consortium (www.rpgconsortium.com).