Grand Theft Childhood the Surprising Truth About Video Games and What Parents Can Do

1827 WordsOct 23, 20128 Pages
In “Grand Theft Childhood,” Professors Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson do a good job of investigating whether violent video games are bad for kids. They present both sides of the argument in an unbiased way. In the early chapters of “Grand Theft Childhood” Kutner and Olson take on the relation between depictions of violence and their effects on child behavior by arguing that amount of crime decreased dramatically during the peak of violent penny gaff viewing in England. Penny gaffs were inexpensive theaters located throughout Europe in the 19th Century (Kutner and Olson, 2008, 34). Giving an example from over 100 years ago demonstrates that graphic representations of violence have been around for a long time, and their effects on…show more content…
Kutner and Olson also report on interviews with kids. One respondent said that he plays video games because he wants to see something that will hopefully never happen to him—experience it without actually being there (Kutner and Olson, 2008, 116). Some other kids said that they played M-rated games with groups of friends, and further research showed that M-gamers were more likely to play games in social settings or with more friends in the room (Kutner and Olson, 2008, 130). Other research shows that video games are a good tool for bringing people together—especially new kids, shy kids, or mentally disabled kids (Kutner and Olson, 2008, 132-134). This book does a good job of describing the effects of video games on lots of different kinds of kids—from different regions, different races, depressed kids, both genders, and mentally disabled kids (Kutner and Olson, 2008, 134). Near the end of their research monograph Kutner and Olson argue that kids get into trouble when they play games that are too mature for them. The authors give good advice on this issue by stating that parents need to consider their child’s developmental age as well as his or her calendar age (Kutner and Olson, 2008, 135). Kutner and Olson’s argument is also enriched when they incorporate depressed kids into their research pool. Many studies have suggested that video games help mentally disabled kids as well as depressed kids cope with life because it makes them
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