Psychologist Jerry Weichman Clarifies Bulletstorm Comments

February 23, 2011 -

Clinical psychologist and self-proclaimed adolescent specialist Jerry Weichman has clarified his position on comments made to Fox News that were used in a Bulletstorm hit piece written by John Brandon. Responding to a request for comment by Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Weichman said that he stands by his comments to Fox News, but adds that those comments do not clearly state his full opinion on violence, video games, and his position on mature rated games.

First, Weichman defends his comments in the Fox News article ("If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant. Violent video games like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems"), saying that greater regulation on videogames is necessary, because of this. He cites his own experience with teenagers as a psychologist, but does not provide any research data to back up his claims:

"My experience as an adolescent psychologist lies the behavioral work I have done with thousands of teens, including many teen gaming addicts. My opinion, as stated in my quote, is that there is potential to do harm, but certainly this is not the outcome for 100 percent of the game’s users. And obviously the folks at ESRB agree, since it’s rated M for Mature and was not designed for young audiences."

Despite sticking to what he told Fox News, Weichman says that he sees no problem with mature game content being enjoyed by the audience it is intended for, adding that he enjoys playing games such as Halo and Call of Duty. He does admit that his comments on Bulletstorm were based on several videos he watched online. He has not played the demo:

"I have not played it but seen videos of its content. As an adult, I enjoy playing first-person shooter games like Halo and Call of Duty and do so in my spare time quite often. But I would certainly not want my child exposed to these games either. Mature content should be reserved for mature or adult users."

The most interesting quote from Weichman is about parental responsibility and his disappointment that the article didn't offer some resources for parents to check out:

"My work with teens leads me to put the bulk of the responsibility on the parent and I wish that the article had given parents more information or tips on ways they can monitor their child’s gaming activities to insure that they are playing games which contain content appropriate for the individual child’s maturity level. It’s not easy being a parent today when many children are more technologically-advanced than their parents but ultimately the parents cannot just rely on the “system” for their child’s safety. They have to educate themselves, stay involved in the content entering their home, and work a little harder to make sure that they are aware of what their kid is doing."

Read the whole thing here. You can check out his web site here.


Comments

Re: Psychologist Jerry Weichman Clarifies Bulletstorm ...

If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant.

Is there any evidence of this? How he defines "damage"? How he defines "significant"? Does he consider that other media also has the same kind of content? Who I am kidding, he doesn´t care.

Despite sticking to what he told Fox News, Weichman says that he sees no problem with mature game content being enjoyed by the audience it is intended for, adding that he enjoys playing games such as Halo and Call of Duty.

Then, what´s the problem with Bulletstorm and all Mature rated games on Earth? They are meant for adults. This is not a problem coming from game companies or the ERSB or from retailers. This is a problem related to parents unwilling to do the job by themselves and oportunistic politics and "news" media like FOX.

------------------------------------------------------------ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Psychologist Jerry Weichman Clarifies Bulletstorm ...

He keeps referring to his "experiences" with teens with addictions, etc.

The problem with the "results" of his "experiences" is that they totally involve troubled teens and children, of one type or another.  Whether he's lumped them together as "addicted" or some other problem, he hasn't compared the overwhelming number of unaffected and "normal" individuals, child or adult, that DO exist.  He clearly hasn't bothered to compare/contrast the general population and determine why the troubled individuals are different from the not troubled individuals.

Yes, I know, psychological research eliminates the individual from the equation.  And that is where so much research fails at the core, despite all the "yup yup, uh huh" peer review nonsense.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Psychologist Jerry Weichman Clarifies Bulletstorm ...

Freud doesn't get away with it today, why are we letting clinical psychologists get away with it now? 

Re: Psychologist Jerry Weichman Clarifies Bulletstorm ...

He cites his own experience with teenagers as a psychologist, but does not provide any research data to back up his claims:

He takes a page out of Frederic Wertham's book here. Wertham based Seduction of the Innocent entirely on anecdotal studies on delinquent teens he worked with who mentioned they liked comic books.

Re: Psychologist Jerry Weichman Clarifies Bulletstorm ...

Ah, the ubiquitous "What I really meant was..." restatement.
 

There sounds like a lot of hindsight in this, like maybe doing the research, siting his sources, and PLAYING THE GAME before making the statment. Or maybe not making the statement in the first place.  Especially TO FOX!

"My opinion, as stated in my quote, is that there is potential to do harm, but certainly this is not the outcome for 100 percent of the game’s users. And obviously the folks at ESRB agree, since it’s rated M for Mature and was not designed for young audiences."

And that's another problem. People assuming what the ESRB might have researched, rather than looking it up themselves.

I mean, if games aren't harmful to kids, why do we even have a rating system? Obviously, the ESRB MUST agree with anti-gamers if they don't want kids to play these games, right?

Re: Psychologist Jerry Weichman Clarifies Bulletstorm ...

"Violent video games like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems."

And if your child takes that message as a fact of life then there is something significantly wrong with him/her.  And probably your parenting too (or, likely, lack thereof).

 

Andrew Eisen

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