- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Kutner and Olson, the husband-wife team who founded the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media, wanted to know if video games are, as commonly argued, responsible for a rise in social violence. New entertainments, from dime novels to motion pictures, have always made great social scapegoats; they've all been attacked as injurious to public morals on the basis of little or no evidence. With video games, it's hard to evaluate the kinds of violence in the games, even harder to measure the relationship between playing a violent game and engaging in real-life violent activities. Kutner and Olson's own study of some 1,300 middle-school gamers in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, while limited, produced interesting insights. Most boys do play video games, especially mature-rated games not to train to become psychopathic killers but often to test boundaries and to experiment safely with risky behavior. Many use games to develop social skills, release stress and relax. Kutner and Olson advise parents to be involved with their kids' game playing, just as they should be with their other activities. While not profound, the authors, in a calm, evenhanded approach to a problem many parents find frustratingly difficult, address many social fears and make them less scary. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.