Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and

Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and

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by Lawrence Kutner, Cheryl Olson
     
 

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Listening to pundits and politicians, you'd think that the relationship between violent video games and aggressive behavior in children is clear. Children who play violent video games are more likely to be socially isolated and have poor interpersonal skills. Violent games can trigger real-world violence. The best way to protect our kids is to keep them away from

Overview

Listening to pundits and politicians, you'd think that the relationship between violent video games and aggressive behavior in children is clear. Children who play violent video games are more likely to be socially isolated and have poor interpersonal skills. Violent games can trigger real-world violence. The best way to protect our kids is to keep them away from games such as Grand Theft Auto that are rated M for Mature. Right?

Wrong. In fact, many parents are worried about the wrong things!

In 2004, Lawrence Kutner, PhD, and Cheryl K. Olson, ScD, cofounders and directors of the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media, began a $1.5 million federally funded study on the effects of video games. In contrast to previous research, their study focused on real children and families in real situations. What they found surprised, encouraged and sometimes disturbed them: their findings conform to the views of neither the alarmists nor the video game industry boosters. In Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth about Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do, Kutner and Olson untangle the web of politics, marketing, advocacy and flawed or misconstrued studies that until now have shaped parents' concerns.

Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all prescription, Grand Theft Childhood gives the information you need to decide how you want to handle this sensitive issue in your own family. You'll learn when — and what kinds of — video games can be harmful, when they can serve as important social or learning tools and how to create and enforce game-playing rules in your household. You'll find out what's really in the games your children play and when to worry about your children playing with strangers on the Internet. You'll understand how games are rated, how to make best use of ratings and the potentially important information that ratings don't provide.

Grand Theft Childhood takes video games out of the political and media arenas, and puts parents back in control. It should be required reading for all families who use game consoles or computers.

Almost all children today play video or computer games. Half of twelve-year-olds regularly play violent, Mature-rated games. And parents are worried...

"I don't know if it's an addiction, but my son is just glued to it. It's the same with my daughter with her computer...and I can't be watching both of them all the time, to see if they're talking to strangers or if someone is getting killed in the other room on the PlayStation. It's just nerve-racking!"

"I'm concerned that this game playing is just the kid and the TV screen...how is this going to affect his social skills?"

"I'm not concerned about the violence; I'm concerned about the way they portray the violence. It's not accidental; it's intentional. They're just out to kill people in some of these games."

What should we as parents, teachers and public policy makers be concerned about? The real risks are subtle and aren't just about gore or sex. Video games don't affect all children in the same way; some children are at significantly greater risk. (You may be surprised to learn which ones!) Grand Theft Childhood gives parents practical, research-based advice on ways to limit many of those risks. It also shows how video games — even violent games — can benefit children and families in unexpected ways.

In this groundbreaking and timely book, Drs. Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson cut through the myths and hysteria, and reveal the surprising truth about kids and violent games.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451631708
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
01/01/2011
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
825,751
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence Kutner is the author of five books about child psychology. He wrote the award-winning weekly New York Times "Parent & Child" column, was the "Ask the Expert" columnist for Parents magazine and has been a columnist and contributing editor at Parenting and Baby Talk magazines.

Cheryl Olson, a former teen issues columnist for Parents magazine, was the principal investigator of the first federally funded, large-scale research project to take an in-depth look at the effects of electronic games on preteens and teenagers. She has served as a health behavior consultant to a number of nonprofits and corporations, and is an award-winning video producer and writer.

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Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree. I play video games for an hour every day and am one of the smartest kids in the class. Also, I know any smart and nice kids in my grade that play violent video games. The reason I dont play the games is that the games give me nightmares. Also I use nintendo systems. Actually, some studies show that video games actually improve the IQ of kids. It isnt that bad. ~poopwoop11
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
People who right crap about how video games are corrupting our youth and is causing children to want to kill people make me angry. I am a gamer and i dont have an overpowering urge to kill people, sexually assault women, or steal things. If kids are doing these things its the parents fault they should have taught their kid right from wrong. Games are rated M because you have to be mature enough to handle the content in the games. Why don't you people get up in arms about movie violence children are more likely to see violence in a movie than in an M rated game because store clerks ask for an ID when M rated games are purchased so it would have to be the parents buying the games for the children then they want to get pissed off when there 10 year old drops an f-bomb and if their kid is outside tourturing animals its probably because he has a phsycological problem or has gone completly insane. So dont blame a violent video games for your kids problems and your terrible parenting skills and to the authors who write this garbage why dont you devote your time to something more productive instead of talking out of your asses about how terrible video games are and spend time with your kids instead of handing them the game controller then doing what you want instead of getting to know your kid. So why dont you get mad at the lazy parents instead of the game industry.