Monday, March 26, 2007

New Book Alert: Craig Anderson on Video Game Violence, Kids, Policy and Other Items of Interest

I found the following announcement on Game Politics today, about a new book co-authored by Craig Anderson. Anderson is most famous (to me at least) for his high-profile testimonies on the relationship between playing violent video games and exhibiting real-life aggressive behaviours, in two landmark video game cases: Interactive Digital Software Association v. St. Louis County and American Amusement Machines Association v. Kendrick. His findings (and testimony) were contested in an Amici Curiae brief signed by 33 media scholars (many from cultural studies) and eventually dismissed by the Courts, but he continues to produce research in this area and to play a key role in the push for video game regulation. You can access the Amici Curiae brief here, and/or read a great critique of it (by SFU's Steve Kline) here. Anyway, it looks like this new book will attempt to tackle some of the issues raised by the whole legislative process that Anderson became involved in, and explore the strange and inconsistent ways policy and research interact when it comes to US media regulation. No matter what side of the debate you fall on, I think this will be an important text to keep track of in the coming months of political/legislative discussions around violent media.

Here's a link to the book on (not yet released in N.America), and a copy of the publisher's description:
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.


Benjamin Woo, Esq. said...

Stephen Kline and I have an updated (streamlined) version of that critique coming out in the new/forthcoming edition of Communications in Question: Canadian Perspectives on Controversial Issues in Communication Studies. Just, you know, fyi.

Sara M. Grimes said...

Thanks Ben! I remember you telling me about this - I look forward to reading it when it comes out.