Saturday, July 12, 2008

Video Games Do Not Kill II

I am crossposting this from my video blog as it is a very interesting piece (I think the video):

Doctors Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson speak with X-Play about their book, Grand Theft Childhood.

In their 2008 book, Grand Theft Childhood, Harvard Medical School psychiatrists Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson warn about video games. The gist of their warning: don't jump to conclusions.

Video games have a dual reputation as harmless, exciting fun and as home training systems for mass murderers. Dr Kutner and Dr Olson's book shows that neither characterisation is true across the board, although one is much closer to the truth.

Using a $US1.5 million ($A1.56 million) grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, part of the US Justice Department, the two set out to explore what kinds of video games children aged 12 to 14 play, how they play them, why they play them, and what relationships there might be between game habits and other behaviour.

The couple, who are also the parents of a video game-playing teenage son, surveyed more than 1200 US school students aged 12-14 and 500 of their parents.

Their survey did not directly ask about serious criminal behaviour, in part to avoid children incriminating themselves, but their book uses statistics published by the Justice Department to conclude that "videogame popularity and real-world youth violence have been moving in opposite directions.

Violent juvenile crime in the US reached a peak in 1993 and has been declining ever since."

Mass shootings at schools are the ultimate juvenile crime nightmare, but Grand Theft Childhood cites a US Secret Service study concluding that only "one in eight school shooters showed any interest in violent video games".

Shooting holes in gaming theories

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