Dr. Olson on What She Plays, Media Hysteria

When Grand Theft Childhood co-author Dr. Cheryl Olson first became active in generating videogame research, she said that she wasn’t prepared for how controversial the subject actually was.

In an interview with This Is My Joystick, Olson stated that as her research progressed, she felt “morally obligated to correct myths and misinformation that make parents worry needlessly, and may cause them to overlook more subtle but real problems.”

On the pro-gaming side, we all should be thankful for Olson’s sense of obligation. Her latest mass media appearance on CNN saw her inject a heavy dose of logic into the RapeLay debate. Olson commented on the panic that these types of reports attempt to induce:

To be fair, many older adults, including politicians, have never played video games. They may know only what they have heard others say about how terrible video games are, or they may have seen videos or screenshots of the most violent game content and assume all games are like that.

For people who are upset about social change, video games are an easy target to blame. I think that these attacks on video games will lessen over time, as young people who see such games as a normal part of life grow older and attain positions of social influence.

Olson told the interviewer that she personally prefers games with “stories or humor,” but recently picked up BioShock and Portal to play on her son’s computer. The Dr. and her 20-year old son, an avid PC gamer, take a co-op approach to playing games, as it allows Olson to "enjoy the story and graphics without being slowed down by my lack of skill.”

Queried on whether sex or violence might have more of an impact on young gamers, Olson replied:

There seems to be a European/American split on this issue. American parents tend to be very upset about any nudity in games, but more tolerant of violence (especially if it involves aliens or orcs). I personally would be more concerned about games featuring demeaning treatment of women (as in some Def Jam games, for example) or violence aimed at religious/ethnic/racial minorities, than exposure to minor nudity.

Much more over at This Is My Joystick.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone

Leave a Reply