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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 September 2008
Violent, sexually explicit video games are corrupting today's youth! Our children are becoming desensitized, isolated, warmongering zombies and we need look no further than the game box for inciting influences behind such incidents as Columbine, Paducah, and Virginia Tech. Today's children are more aggressive, sexually active at younger ages, and even more foul-mouthed than ever before thanks to the rampant societal disintegration promoted in games like Grand Theft Auto, Vice City, and S.W.A.T.

Well...not exactly.

According to GRAND THEFT CHILDHOOD co-authors and social scientists, Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl K. Olson, there aren't enough up-to-date, clearly defined studies to make any determinations about the effects of graphic video games on children's behavior. Most data cited by public officials, watchdog organizations, and the media is at best inaccurate supposition which fans the flame of societal panic and ultimately diverts attention from the real issues.

Kutner and Olson give a thorough context to their study, laying out the details, methods of investigation, inherent shortcomings, and need for further research, all in an informative, straightforward manner. The information can be a little dense to slog through at times, with the authors packing quite a bit of information into one book. (Everything from a brief history regarding previous research studies -- or, rather, lack thereof; the attributes and flaws of the game industry's current rating system; to an in-depth recounting of their own study's results).

That being said, I am the first person to jump ship when it comes to dry recitations of scientific data, but not once did I consider abandoning GRAND THEFT CHILDHOOD. I found it an invaluable, thought-provoking treasure trove of information which any concerned parent or gaming teen would do well to read.

Reviewed by: Cat
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