Panel on violent video games next week

Shaggy April 30, 2008 3

A little while back we had a brief discussion on violent video games along with a look at some new research where it was suggested that the effects of violent video games may not be as bad as it is generally made out to be. While arcade titles have been out of the media spotlight when it comes to the subject (Paradise Lost was a recent red label game and I’m sure that Rambo will be as well) and at the moment the media is focusing on GTAIV, that doesn’t mean that we’re invulnerable as video games are video games no matter what format you play them in.

Some of the same people responsible for the research I mentioned above are holding a panel next week (May 6th)where the facts behind violent gaming are going to be discussed, presented by Greater Good Magazine. It should be interesting to see where it goes and how much attention will be attracted, especially where I just caught on the newswire that there was a shooting on a Florida college campus this morning – it sounds like so far no deaths are being reported fortunately but either way the media always jumps to “they must be playing violent video games to make them do this” argument no matter what might be the case. And with the aforementioned release of GTAIV and violent games coming back into people’s minds, hopefully some attention can be brought to reason on the subject. There is a press release after the break, if you’re interested.

[Via University of California, Berkley] [Discuss on the Forum]

Grand Theft Childhood?
A Greater Good magazine panel on the surprising truths about violent video

When: Tuesday, May 6th, 6-7:30 pm.

Where: North Gate Library, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, on
the northern edge of the UC Berkeley campus. North Gate is a brown shingle
building on the southeast corner of the intersection of Hearst and Euclid
Avenues. For map, additional directions, and information on parking, see

Tickets: This is a free event.

The popularity of video games--and the bloody, pyrotechnic action of some
games--have fueled a wide range of fears. Are those fears justified?

To celebrate the release of its new issue on play, Greater Good magazine
is hosting a panel discussion that will reveal the newest facts about
video game play, and what guidelines they suggest for parents, teachers,
kids, and the people who create video games.

The panel will feature Harvard Medical School psychologist Lawrence
Kutner, whose new book, Grand Theft Childhood?, reports the results of his
landmark study on the effects of video games on teenagers. Kutner's
presentation will be followed by questions and responses from Stephen
Hinshaw, the chair of UC Berkeley's psychology department, and Greg
Niemeyer, game developer and Assistant Professor for New Media at UC
Berkeley. There will also be ample time for a Q&A with the audience. The
discussion will be moderated by Jeremy Adam Smith, senior editor of
Greater Good and author of Twenty-First-Century Dad, forthcoming from
Beacon Press.

The Panelists:

Lawrence Kutner, Ph.D., is co-founder and director of the Center for Mental
Health and Media, based in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts
General Hospital in Boston, and is on the psychiatry faculty at Harvard
Medical School. His new book, Grand Theft Childhood?, written with Center
for Mental Health and Media co-director Cheryl K. Olson, is based on the
results of a $1.5 million study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice
on the effects of video games on young teenagers. Kutner is also the
author of five previous books about child psychology and parent-child
communication. 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. He's a licensed psychologist and a Fellow of the American
Association, which awarded him its National Psychology Award for the best
newspaper writing about psychologyin the United States.

Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D., is the chair of the psychology department at the
University of California, Berkeley. His main interests lie in the fields
of clinical child and adolescent psychology and developmental
psychopathology. Major themes of his work include the diagnostic validity
of childhood disorders, the role of peer relationships in normal and
atypical development (particularly ADHD), the utility of identifying
subcategories of aggressive behavior, and the early prediction of
behavioral and learning problems. Recently, his has also focused his
research on the stigmatization of mental illness. He is the author of the
books The Mark of Shame: Stigma of Mental Illness and an Agenda for
Change, The Years of Silence are Past: My Father's Life with Bipolar
Disorder, and the forthcoming Breaking the Silence: Mental Health
Professionals Disclose Their Personal and Family Experiences of Mental
Illness. Hinshaw is also a co-founder of the Greater Good Science Center.

Greg Niemeyer received his MFA from Stanford University in New Media in
1997. At the same time, he founded the Stanford University Digital Art
Center, which he directed until 2001, when he  was appointed at UC
Berkeley as Assistant Professor for New Media, where he focuses on the
critical analysis of the impact of new media on human experiences. His
creative work focuses on the mediation between humans as individuals and
humans as a collective through technological means, and emphasizes playful
responses to technology. His most recognized  projects were Gravity
(Cooper Union, NYC, 1997), PING (SFMOMA, 2001), Oxygen Flute (with Chris
Chafe, SJMA, 2002), Organum (Pacific Film Archive, 2003), Ping 2.0 (Paris,
La Villette Numerique, 2004),  and Good Morning Flowers (SFIFF 2006,
Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt, 2006) and, with Joe McKay, the Balance
Game (Cairo 2007, London, 2007). His current project, the Black Cloud, an
Alternate Reality Game, is funded by the MacArthur  Digital Learning

Event presented by: The UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, the
Harold E. Jones Child Study Center, and the Graduate School of Journalism
Felker Magazine Program

For more information about this event, please visit the UC Berkeley
Graduate School of Journalism at:

For more information about Greater Good, please see

Jeremy Lee
Greater Good Magazine
Greater Good Science Center
University of California, Berkeley
2425 Atherton St. # 6070
Berkeley, CA 94720-6070
Ph: 510-642-2490
Fax: 510-643-7350
Subscribe at


  1. Geo April 30, 2008 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    The problem with many people is that they don`t make difference between fiction and reality, in my country and i bet in many others beside USA a lot of people act in violent acts inspire by Hollywood movies, is not the movie or the game but our own actions that made us the persons we are…

  2. Geo April 30, 2008 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Movies or Games may fuel violence in some way, but as i said a lot of people dont get it, we humans are sometimes too weak to control our own behaviors, and sometimes people is too dumb to not act in violent acts inspired by the media, we need our mind soul and spirit in the right place….so we dont damage people around us…..

  3. editor April 30, 2008 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    I agree with all the points – but I am still unhappy with the individuals that are carrying out the evaluations and making the claims.

    When once asked for the qualifications of a spokesperson of one of the committees into children affected by violent stimulus, it was revealed that it was a parent and no more – no back ground in physiology or psychometry. Too many vested interests and too little expertise. Love watching the TV media trying to cover GTAIV!

    Just look how long it took to get the arcade PAS system!

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