As GTA IV Launches, Harvard Med School Author Advises Parents: Relax

April 28, 2008 -
Today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer features a front page article on GTA IV which includes an interview with one of the authors of Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth about Violent Video Games.

Authors Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson are both members of the Harvard Medical School faculty and the recently-released book has been widely acclaimed by the video game community for its reasonable - and unqiue - perspective on video game violence.

Kutner told the P-I:
For most kids and most parents, the bottom-line results of our research can be summed up in a single word: Relax... We have a long history of panicking over the introduction of new media. We have no evidence this is different.

The real question is which kids if any are at significant risk, and can we use behavior involving violent video game play as markers as what kids [should watch].

If you're looking for more of Kutner's thoughts, the Toronto Star has an excerpt of Grand Theft Childhood in today's edition.

The Post-Intelligencer story also features interviews with a concerned parent, as well as with What The Play editor John Davison and Hilarie Cash, author of the upcoming book Video Games & Your Kids: How Parents Stay in Control.

GP: Big thanks to GamePolitics reader Phantom for the tip!

Comments

I know of the Toronto Star article, didn't get a chance to read th whole thing though.

Kutner?

Ignore him, would you listen to anyone who has "That guy from Harold and Kumar" on his resume?

I read the seattle article this morning. It's funny, but you can tell that the writer really doesn't want to give games a fair break. For instance he/she brings up that several studies have linked violence with videogames but doesn't explain that the link is not causal.
Still, I guess that's as close to objective as we can get from the media.

@ Vinzent

Yeah I saw the same thing... Still it WAS a lot better than most.

The author did seem let down that Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson didn't go game bashing. :)

Yeah, it surprises me when these parents hear about "GTA?!? OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG SAVE TEH CHILDREN WTFWTFWFTWFTFTWWTF!!!!1111ELEVENELEVEN111ONE111!!!!!!!PORK!!!!!" when we have much bigger issues that are actively happening, like the economy (without sufficient funds, you can't buy little Tommy his daily mac & cheese), $4.00/gallon gas (little Tommy will have to walk on his poor little feet all day long, and the Iraq conflict (little Tommy will never sleep knowing the fact that his daddy could be drafted or, worse yet, those scary terrorists will kill him in his sleep). All these issues are happening right NOW, and here in Washington, we have 8 hours and 14 minutes until GTA IV starts corrupting Tommy's wee wittle mind. Stay cool, gamers.

I should read this book!
I'll add it to my list.

It's much easier than done when you have so many people trying to sway everyone else's judgment on an industry that somehow is different from every other media genre on the planet.

I guess it's a good thing that kids don't like to read books or we would be in real big trouble.

Correction:

easier SAID than done....

darn this cold

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptToday’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer features a front page article on GTA IV which includes an interview with one of the authors of Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth about Violent Video Games. Authors Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson are both members of the Harvard Medical School faculty and the recently-released book has been widely acclaimed by the video game community for its reasonable - and unqiue - perspective on video game violence. Kutner told the P-I: For most kids and most parents, the bottom-line results of our research can be summed up in a single word: Relax… We have a long history of panicking over the introduction of new media. We have no evidence this is different. [...]

The SF Chronicle also has an article about the release tonight that talks about the controversy, the financial TT and EA deals, and even about the lofty cinematic ambitions of the game. And the best part is that He-who-must-not-be-named wasn't named once!!! Woohoo!!!

Betcha he's royally pissed about it as is going to harrass them and attempt to commit faxcide unless they put his name in the article... after he's done trolling the forums here of course.

http://www.sfgate.com/flat/archive/2008/04/28/chronicle/archive/2008/04/...

@GryphonOsiris

And the best part is that He-who-must-not-be-named wasn’t named once!!!


Are you talking about Voldemort?

(Harry Potter joke)

*Head explodes*

Unfortunately, the calm voices of reason will always be overwhelmed by the panicked screaming of the extremists and their fear-mongering.

At first glance, I saw the paper today (with that article right in the center of the front page) and thought, "Oh, great, here comes another slam." But they actually played it pretty much down the middle, and even listed Gamerdad as another resource parents could turn for further information.

Major props to the P-I today. :)

Read the article on Toronto Star and enjoyed it :) .

@Shadow, Gryphon:

That's what the guys at the site in my link call him, when we have to mention him.

and in before 'overeducated'. :P

I want to read that so bad!!

Good advice. It's what I've always said: CALM DOWN!

Have we learned nothing from books?

"Don't Panic" works better.

@ Dark Tetsuya

Exactly, nothing for him to Google there for his Ego surfing.

@Gryphon:

Yeah... he does come up in conversations, but more of a footnote to end the show with (I'd say 'as it should be' but him disappearing off everyone's rader is really 'as it should be'...)

I read and enjoyed the Toronto Star article, but... Um... "The video game Halo involves shooting an unrealistic gun at a giant alien bug."?

...eh? (lulz)

Definitely #1 on my book list.

CH-CH-CH-CHILL THE F$CK OUT!

It's hard getting a copy of that book from my part of the world. I'm asking my aunt in NY to get it.

Ahh, relatives :)

Relax. Amen to that.

I just found this:

http://gamerdadforums.redbirdsolutions.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=5476&p...

Please read the post from momGamer as I think her post sums it up quite nicely. Her tale of her her son playing GTA IV is just -ehm- funny and explains that you can do other things than steal, maime or kill in the game.

And 4 US dollars for a gallon of gasoline? Try about 8 US dollars for a gallon a gas ? (or about 2 US dollars a litre...)

'Harris and Klebold enjoyed playing the bloody shoot-'em-up video game Doom, a game licensed by the U.S. Army to train soldiers to effectively kill.' - The Media

Sorry, just made me laugh, Doom has NEVER been used to train, thats a complete media-promoted myth.
How the heck can the army train to kill insurgents in a pixelated game where you can hardly make out a red devil creature from the background?
Right sure, it really shows you how to kill, and in case you did not know, the army prefears to train soldiers to use the weapons, desensitizing the last on their mind, and in most cases is not done since it can lead to soldiers refusing to kill.


But anyway, the artical is good, and does show you the media are over reacting, I wish Jack Thompson would read reports from actual members of harvard medical school instead of finding a self proclaimed 'child' psychologist and getting her to bad-mouth video games.
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