Sex, Drugs, and Video Games

Friday, May 02, 2008


This week's release of Grand Theft Auto IV provoked a frenzy of media coverage heralding the game's design, touting the record-breaking sales and of course, examining the threat the game poses to our children. But Lawrence Kutner has authored a new book suggesting violent video games do not create violent children.
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Comments [4]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Thanks John and Trudy. Last week I was pining for the Comics Code Authority.

Evan, I have never found any way to relate to these violent games. I know kids who were virtually addicted to the early ones, though only one who got violent with me. I see home invasions by young men in my city and drunk driving accidents by young people all over our state and I can't help but think our popular culture is encouraging such senseless slaughter. Making committing murder a game is not a value to share.

From what I can see, the games are excellent for training operators of robot armies and nothing more. How many Predators are we planning to launch?

May. 08 2008 12:44 AM
john from san francisco

Rather than study the question of whether or not violence on video games makes kids or adults violent, it may be just as important to ask whether or not this violence makes people numb to the violence around them. Would those people help someone in trouble? Or have they become devoid of caring? Or maybe too fearful? This type of research may offer more insight as to why, during the 1930's when Jews and Gays and Gypsies were being rounded up, that it was so easy for others to look the other way.

May. 06 2008 02:37 AM
Trudy Heffernan from Fairbanks, AK

I'm not sure that questioning kids who play violent games what they feel afterwards reflects actual "research". I would guess that kids of that age will often tell you what they want you to believe. They are unlikely to admit that playing a game is having a negative effect on them, since I'll bet they'd be afraid they would be asked to stop if that was the case.

I haven't read Kutner's book though, so maybe there was a more scientific approach that your show didn't elucidate. But it has been my personal experience that kids playing violent videos do tend to focus on violence more. Adults too for that matter--it fires you up, it doesn't release you from violent thoughts.

Til I see real scientific studies that advocate violent video games as ways for kids to work things out, I am going to encourage kids to talk things through and avoid losing themselves in video games.

--Not an expert here, just using some common sense

May. 06 2008 12:00 AM
Evan Garcia from Santa Monica, CA

I was disappointed to hear OTM follow so many other media outlets and focus on the endlessly discussed topic of video game violence and children, even in an interview that debunks many of the most common fears espoused in the media. By focusing on violence, even when refuting its supposed effects, only perpetuates the tendency not to only focus on violence in video games.

Why not a discussion of why video games are only talked about in terms of a possible danger to society, and not as works of popular culture that are enjoyed--surprise!--by an audience whose majority are adults.

Lawrence Kutner gave the examples of the feared effects of cheap novels and gangster films that strike us today as outlandish. When will video games win the right to be discussed on their own terms?

May. 04 2008 02:32 PM

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