Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy

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Overview

Violent video games are successfully marketed to and easily obtained by children and adolescents. Even the U.S. government distributes one such game, America's Army, through both the internet and its recruiting offices. Is there any scientific evidence to support the claims that violent games contribute to aggressive and violent behavior?

Anderson, Gentile, and Buckley first present an overview of empirical research on the effects of violent video games, and then add to this literature three new studies that fill the most important gaps. They update the traditional General Aggression Model to focus on both developmental processes and how media-violence exposure can increase the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both short- and long-term contexts. Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents also reviews the history of these games' explosive growth, and explores the public policy options for controlling their distribution. Anderson et al. describe the reaction of the games industry to scientific findings that exposure to violent video games and other forms of media violence constitutes a significant risk factor for later aggressive and violent behavior. They argue that society should begin a more productive debate about whether to reduce the high rates of exposure to media violence, and delineate the public policy options that are likely be most effective.

As the first book to unite empirical research on and public policy options for violent video games, Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents will be an invaluable resource for student and professional researchers in social and developmental psychology and media studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Reviewer: Michael S. Goldsby, PhD, CCRP (Family Psychiatry of The Woodlands)
Description: This groundbreaking book presents three important new studies on the effects of violent media on children, adolescents, and young adults that yield a host of new findings. An overview of the previous research on the effects of violent video games helps to put these three new studies into historical context. The impact that this body of research has for policymakers and for those in the video game industry is discussed in detail.
Purpose: The purpose is to offer empirical evidence to support the position that exposure to violent video games and other forms of media violence constitutes a significant risk factor for later aggressive and violent behavior. Thus, policymakers and other concerned citizens can use these findings in an effort to strengthen their position on regulatory matters involving violent media content.
Audience: Clearly, there are two target audiences for this book. First, the authors have done a marvelous job of targeting professionals in psychological and sociological research by presenting significant research findings in the style and format typical for specialized research analysis. Second, incorporated into each chapter, the authors have transformed the technical language of each research study into a user-friendly format in plain language that will be useful to parents, policymakers, teachers, clinicians, and all who work with children.
Features: Readers are introduced to a brief history of violent video games as well as to early research studies about the effects that violent video games have on triggering aggressive behaviors in children and adolescents. The authors feature three new important studies that reveal further evidence regarding the ill effects of violent video games on children, adolescents, and young adults. The authors also introduce a slight addition to the General Aggression Model, which they state is a powerful theoretical advance because it not only includes the strengths of a developmental risk and resilience approach, it also posits special testable pathways of effect based on specific theories.
Assessment: The effect of violent video games on children and adolescents is such a hotly debated topic throughout society, it deserves a serious and comprehensive empirical investigation. We often seek solutions to tough moral, social, and ethical problems by looking to science for empirical evidence to guide our public policies. This book delivers on all accounts. The authors are widely regarded as the foremost experts on the effects of violent video games and the media, and this book is by far the most significant addition to the study of developmental psychology this year.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195309836
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/11/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 853,216
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Craig A. Anderson, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Iowa State University, is widely regarded as the foremost expert on the effects of violent video games. His research on aggression, media violence, depression, and social judgment has had a profound influence on psychological theory and modern society. His tireless efforts to educate public policy-makers and the general public have earned him recognition as one of the most influential and respected social psychologists in the world.

Douglas A. Gentile is a developmental psychologist and is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Iowa State University and the Director of Research for the National Institute on Media and the Family. As one of the country's leading media effects researchers, he conducts studies on the positive and negative effects of media on children and adults, including the effects of advertising, educational television, and video games. His studies provide valuable insights to parents, educators, pediatricians, and policy-makers about how to maximize the benefits of media usage while minimizing potential harms.

Katherine E. Buckley, who is completing her Ph.D. in Psychology at Iowa State University, has been researching aggression and media violence. Katherine received her M.A. from Wake Forest University in 2001. She is a member of the American Psychological Society as well as the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the Society for Research in Child Development.

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Table of Contents


Introduction
Violent Video Games: Background and Overview     3
Effects of Exposure to Violent Entertainment Media     12
The General Aggression Model     40
New Studies
Study 1: Experimental Study of Violent Video Games With Elementary School and College Students     61
Study 2: Correlational Study With High School Students     78
Study 3: Longitudinal Study With Elementary School Students     95
Risk Factor Illustrations     120
General Discussion (What Does It All Mean?)
New Findings and Their Implications     133
Interpretations and Public Policy     142
Reducing Violent Video Game Effects     160
Best Practices Coding     165
Video Game Ratings     167
References     173
Index     187
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