Grand Theft Childhood (Questioning the impact of violent video games)

islandgirl1

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Im not sure if anyone is following this, but I'm wondering who to believe.
Drs. Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson, psychiatry faculty at Harvard, have authored a book entitled 'Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do'.

According to the site:

Despite the media hype and political posturing, new, federally funded research on violent video games and teenagers indicates that the politicians and even some health professionals may have it all wrong!

In 2004, Drs. Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl K. Olson, co-founders and directors of the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media, began a $1.5 million study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice on the effects of video games on young teenagers. In contrast to previous research, they studied real children and families in real situations

What they found surprised, encouraged, and sometimes disturbed them.

Coming to the project with no agenda except to conduct sound, responsible research, their findings conform neither to the views of the alarmists nor of the video game industry. In Grand Theft Childhood, Kutner and Olson untangle the web of politics, marketing, advocacy and flawed or misconstrued studies that until now have shaped parents’ concerns.

What should we as parents, teachers and public policy makers be concerned about?
  1. •The real risks are subtle, and aren’t just about violence, gore or sex.
  2. •Video games don’t affect all children in the same way. Some children are at significantly greater risk. (You may be surprised to learn which ones!)
Grand Theft Childhood gives parents practical, research-based advice on ways to limit many of those risks. It also shows how video games—even violent games—can benefit children and families in unexpected ways.
  1. Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all prescription, Grand Theft Childhood gives the information you need to decide how you want to handle this sensitive issue in your own family.
  2. •You’ll learn when—and what kinds of—video games can be harmful, when they can serve as important social or learning tools, and how to create and enforce game-playing rules in your household.
  3. •You’ll find out what’s really in the games your children play, and when to worry about them playing with strangers on the Internet.
  4. •You’ll learn how games are rated, how to make best use of those ratings—and the important information that ratings don’t tell you.
In this ground-breaking and timely book, Drs. Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson cut through the myths and hysteria, and reveal the surprising truth about kids and violent games. Grand Theft Childhood takes video games out of the political and media arenas, and puts parents back in control.​
http://www.grandtheftchildhood.com/GTC/Home.html

And at the same time, first on the 'Most Popular' links on APA's homepage is the April article 'Violent Video Games Can Increase Aggression'.

Who to believe? Interesting tossup of theories.

There is also a thread in Psychiatry: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=519020
 

Quynh2007

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eh, I think the reading I've done on this, is that the aggression isn't salient...it only lasts a little bit after playing...then you've got the problem...is it violent video games causing kids to be violent, or that violent kids would be more likely to be playing it. maybe playing video game is an outlet, who knows...I just know the research done out there isn't that great. the comparison (violent vs nonviolent) is often one extreme (violent = fun, exciting) to the other (nonviolent = bland and boring). Maybe the violent video is more stimulating than the nonviolent. what do they mean by violent? blood and gore, cars crashing, killing, abuse? I think they should compare "violent" video games to games that are exciting the same. so many questions still....
 

73BARMYPgsp

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I kind of agree. There are so many variables left un-studied as to which children are affected and how. I know in my case, when I was a kid I had a real grip on reality (this is just a tv show/video game was always playing like a loop in the back of my mind) but some of my friends would REALLY GET INTO IT and throw things at the screen, etc. I just thought they were weird.

My son, on the other hand, has a totally different problem. He gets really nasty with me and his mom when we interrupt his playing time. Therefore, we end up making time limits and he has to do other things because he starts to get pulled into it and his frustration tolerance goes way down if we say "Ok time to put it away."
 

SeaSquirt

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My anecdotal evidence is that I watched horror flicks (unbeknownst to my parents) such as Freddy Kreuger and Halloween as early as the 4th/5th grade, then played Grand Theft Auto in my teens. I'd never dream of hurting another person and I have no violent tendencies. I like talking over problems and think resorting to violence is stupid and pointless.

I don't think violent video games causes people to become violent. Being subjected to violence, or witnessing it in your own home and growing up to see it as an appropriate way to deal with problems or to survive, does.
 

Quynh2007

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okay, i can't remember the exact study, but it was done looking at violence against women in porn vs something neutral and saw a week later (?) that those that saw violence in porn were more likely to view that it was okay to treat women (in a degrading manner) and that they were more likely to believe that women in those positions would enjoy it. Of course, this study was asking about feelings etc versus if they would act on it (i doubt it would have made it through IRB if it was an experimental study that looked to see how violent they would get).
 

Thrak

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okay, i can't remember the exact study, but it was done looking at violence against women in porn vs something neutral and saw a week later (?) that those that saw violence in porn were more likely to view that it was okay to treat women (in a degrading manner) and that they were more likely to believe that women in those positions would enjoy it. Of course, this study was asking about feelings etc versus if they would act on it (i doubt it would have made it through IRB if it was an experimental study that looked to see how violent they would get).
If you can find the reference, I'd love to read the study. I'd also like to know how they classified "violent" porn. It could have been BDSM, or it could have been spanking, or it could have been simulated rape. I'd also be curious if they had a companion condition showing violence against men in porn, and if they found similar results.

Either way, to compare the results with video games, you'd probably need a game that simulates sex (or, I suppose, violent sex). To the best of my knowledge, there aren't many of those, at least in the US. You could probably find a few in Japan. I think most sex games in the US are nonviolent "sex simulators" or are games like strip poker/memory/uncover the picture beneath. Unless you count Custer's Revenge, which is one of the most offensive things I've ever crossed paths with in my life, but that was way back on the Atari 2600.
 

Quynh2007

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i'll look for the article, I had to read it for one of my psych courses in undergrad.

I don't think this is the article (I think there might have been women subjects), but something similar:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/tl8321x611l22275/

you can only read the abstract
 

cara susanna

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There are a ton of Japanese video games that simulate violent sex, sadly.