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“Grand Theft Childhood” Authors: Kids Who DON’T Play Videogames are at Risk

Grand Theft Childhood is a new book written by Dr. Lawrence Kutner and Dr. Cheryl Olson, a husband-and-wife team who co-founded the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media. In the video above, Drs. Kutner and Olson talk with X-Play’s Adam Sessler about some of the findings from the study documented in their book.

Read on for more (and to see the video at a larger size)…

Grand Theft Childhood is a new book written by Dr. Lawrence Kutner and Dr. Cheryl Olson, a husband-and-wife team who co-founded the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media. In the video above, Drs. Kutner and Olson talk with X-Play’s Adam Sessler about some of the findings from the study documented in their book.

Some notes:

  • Their study lasted several years and received $1.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • In their study, they surveyed and interviewed over 1250 kids and 500 parents.
  • There is “absolutely no evidence” that playing violent video games turns children violent.
  • What’s more important are patterns of play — there are some that parents and teachers should note.
  • In their research, Drs. Kutner and Olson tried to find out which videogame playing behaviours are normal, and which aren’t, a cataloguing of behaviours that did not previously exist in the literature on this topic.
  • They debunked the experimental methodologies used by researchers who’ve made the vidogames-violence connection.
  • One of the flaws in those older experiements was that it didn’t take short-term vs. long-term behavioural effects into account. He cited an example of boys’ horseplay after seeing an action film: it wears off pretty quickly.
  • They found that both boys and girls who played M-rated or violent videogames exclusively more than 15 hours a week to be statistically more like to get into trouble, but they also found that boys who didn’t play videogames at all were also at greater risk.
  • At least for boys, gaming is a marker of social competence.
  • Consider the case of the Virginia tech shooter: although the pundits were quick to place the blame on videogames, he didn’t play them at all, and his dorm-mates said he wouldn’t play videogames with them.
  • Kutner: “Kids who don’t play [videogames] at all are actually at greater risk for getting into trouble. It says something about their social relationships.”

2 replies on ““Grand Theft Childhood” Authors: Kids Who DON’T Play Videogames are at Risk”

[…] [This was also posted to Global Nerdy.] This entry was written by Joey deVilla and posted on April 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm and filed under Games, Geek, Global Nerdy. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Bumper Sticker of the Day […]

The kids who don’t play video games are at risk? Try it like this: the kids who don’t bond with friends are at risk. The troubling issue regarding the Virginia Tech incident isn’t that he didn’t play video games, but that he didn’t play with every one else, and they WERE playing video games.
The 2 extremes referenced regarding boys and video games both point to the same thing- exclusion/ seclusion. Too much and you’re secluded, none at all (when that’s the game of choice) and you are excluded. I suggest the subtitle to your aticle here is a risky abuse of context.

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