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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: 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.