Grand Theft Childhood and the Case Against Media Sensationalism

Grand Theft Childhood and the Case Against Media Sensationalism

Today marks the retail release of Grand Theft Auto IV. If many analysts are to be believed, the latest installment in the lucrative but notorious franchise will sell as many as nine million copies. And if certain politicians and activists are correct, it will almost certainly lead to widespread youth depravity and violence. But if the authors of Grand Theft Childhood are right, parents actually have very little reason for concern.

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Sounds like a good read & a necessary publication. Doubt well see it being promoted on Fox though, indeed on googling it the only news publication/news programme website mentioning it is a brief contributor blog on the Guardian website.

It is such a pity that news has turned into sensationalism rather than the well-researched information source that it should be. All parents should read this book before they criticise the gaming habits of their children. I consider myself lucky that my mother was not influenced by the media and trusted me to choose my own games.

Too bad the media is gonna ignore this book, which actually contains studies and proper scientific data, in favour of the sensationalism that floods our news. Shame.

Finally a voice of reason. even if it is ignored by the mainstream sensationalists in itself, sounds like the research and arguments contained in it can be used as a tool for gamers/activists/whatever. not to mention parents.

as for the media, well the whole industry seems to be going down the whole. when I'm king things'll change. I'd like to see journalists provide solid references to any claims they make.

One of the main failings of the Anti-gaming groups is that they state "Gaming is Addictive" and then "Gaming makes you go out and kill people".

Both can't really be true.

"You coming out to murder some homeless guys, Brian?"
"Hold on a moment, I've just got to get to the end of this level..."
(Hours later)
"Are you coming now?"
"Nearly there... Just one more crystal."

Finally something to say gaming isn't the main problem of everything that happends(nothing new though for people who are involved in the gaming industry and such). Gaming gets hammered on too much, and they will continue to do that.

They will probably ignore this book, but atleast there is something to give gaming some credit.

I want that book :p

I Googled this and found out that Lawrence Kutner was on FOX and was given very little to say. Much like in the Mass Effect hate saga, the only guy who ANYTHING about video games was cut off before he could say anything to protect it.

ShadeOfRed:
I Googled this and found out that Lawrence Kutner was on FOX and was given very little to say. Much like in the Mass Effect hate saga, the only guy who ANYTHING about video games was cut off before he could say anything to protect it.

Well, thankfully, over here the BBC and Sky news pretty much ignore video games, aside from this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/3936597.stm . However, even then, they aren't very sensationalist about stuff and it petered out pretty quickly. Newspapers are more sensationalist, especially gutter papers like 'The Sun' (from what I can tell about Fox, its Fox in printed form), but that doesn't really influence people.

Wow, combine this with that super-balanced article on pbs.com and it almost makes me feel like the media scare tactics might come to an end someday. Wow, a day when games are judged on their own terms. Then maybe someone could admit to the social relevance of gaming.

Doug:
aside from this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/3936597.stm .

Ooh, that story. Now, living in Leicester, I can tell you the true story.

14 year old Stefan played the game; 17 year old (Both underage btw) was obsessed, but never played it.
17 year old killed the 14 year old.

As for Braunstone...take a look.

It's nice to see these articles that disprove all the government propaganda against video games.

tbh i always find games as a vent for aggression, not the cause of. I've said it near as damn everything i've seen regarding videogame leads to crimes. I've learnt more about crime committing from movies than gta could ever teach me.

I really think people criticizing the content of GTA 4 have a point. Especially for young people, but in my mind for older people as well, this type of close-up, reality depiction is hard to disgest correctly. Even if it may be a satire - to me it is shallow... but anyway:

I always like to put the problem like this. Our brain deals with emotions and events in its emotional part. Then there's the logical part of the brain. Now, when showing somebody a satire and expecting them to understand it, they always see the events and emotions that are communicated first hand. Between adults and children then there is a big difference. Adults have learned by convention what a logical NO means, but especially young people hear "no", but instead mostly think about what they have seen. There isn't this mechanism that puts a "circle" around violence, saying no. They just do not get the satire and they do not get the prohibition. They hear/see "xxxxx violence" - and think: oh, voilence! ;) No question. That's basically hard work for parents.

its the parents perogative though. just as it is with any other form of media that isnt intended for younger audiences. They are the ones who ultimately have to say no if they so wish & take steps to ensure their children arnt exposed, not turn a blind eye till something goes wrong then cry foul at the product that wasnt aimed at the audience.

_daxter_:
I really think people criticizing the content of GTA 4 have a point. Especially for young people, but in my mind for older people as well, this type of close-up, reality depiction is hard to disgest correctly. Even if it may be a satire - to me it is shallow... but anyway:

I always like to put the problem like this. Our brain deals with emotions and events in its emotional part. Then there's the logical part of the brain. Now, when showing somebody a satire and expecting them to understand it, they always see the events and emotions that are communicated first hand. Between adults and children then there is a big difference. Adults have learned by convention what a logical NO means, but especially young people hear "no", but instead mostly think about what they have seen. There isn't this mechanism that puts a "circle" around violence, saying no. They just do not get the satire and they do not get the prohibition. They hear/see "xxxxx violence" - and think: oh, voilence! ;) No question. That's basically hard work for parents.

No, actually that's what the book is about...the fact that that sort of thinking is (suprise) incorrect. And I quote: "kids are surprisingly capable of recognizing the difference between in-game and real-world violence - sometimes even more so than the researchers themselves." This came as no surprise to me.

For those who find informative reads interesting, I recommend this one as well:

Killing Monsters - Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence
By Gerard Jones (Published in 2002 by Basic Books)

The dedication even reads: "To my son, Nicholas Jones, hoping to give you a slightly saner world."

A likely good book which will likely be ignored.
Your media have failed you. Of course, when you consider the acts of the government, it's much better that way... *wink wink*

FFS.

xD Finally. a book that tells the world what gamers have known for absolutely YEARS. Games are a good way to get rid of frustration.
*Sigh* This is really sad. It shouldn't even need to be said, really...

CanadianWolverine:
For those who find informative reads interesting, I recommend this one as well:

Killing Monsters - Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence
By Gerard Jones (Published in 2002 by Basic Books)

The dedication even reads: "To my son, Nicholas Jones, hoping to give you a slightly saner world."

Good to see there are proper anti-sounds. Now just get them under the attention of the general public ;)

I really should get to reading this; in a just world, this would top the best-seller list.

 

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