Dr. Lawrence Kutner talks about his research findings on the topic of video games and violence among youth.
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Derek Allen: It's always been the standard perception that violence in video games leads to violence in teenagers. Hey, welcome to watchmojo.com, I'm your host Derek Allen and today we spoke to Dr. Lawrence Kutner who has studied this topic and he is going to tell us that there is maybe more to the subject that we don't know. So can you tell us a little bit about Grand Theft Childhood? Dr. Lawrence Kutner: Grand Theft Childhood is a book that my wife is partner in this, wrote based on a research study we did. That took about two years, it was funded by $1.5 million from the United States Government to look at violence in video games and whether kids who play violent video games are at greater risk for acting out violently into real world. And what we did was a complex survey of approximately 1250 seventh and eighth grade students. Everyone showed up in class in those particular days, it was a good representative sample in multiple states in the U.S., plus 500 of their parents plus some other things to find out, what they play, why they play, where they play, when they play, with whom or any of those function has markers of which kids are more likely to get into trouble with common behavioral problems. Things like getting into fights after school, things like having problems with grades, being a bully or being bullied. Derek Allen: And I am curious is that such a controversial issue, what exactly did you guys find in the study. Dr. Lawrence Kutner: Violence in schools has gone down and gone down dramatically in the U.S. over the past 20 years, the coverage of violence has gone up, and so there is this perception that schools are more dangerous than they used to be, they really are not at all, there are relatively few incidents, but they get a lot of coverage. That's why we wanted to look at the more common issues, like bullying, like problems in school, like destroying property which affect a lot more kids and to see if that was a marker. First of all for most kids there is no problem playing M-rated games. However, we found those kids who played a lot of M-rated games as they listened to among their favorite games and they played them for more hours that they were at greater risk for having a bunch of these common problems. I have to understand this does not mean that playing these games causes these problems. It may be that the kids who were attracted to violence in the real world are also attracted to these games. It may be a third problem or a third issue going on. This controlling both of them, we don't know but we did find that if you wanted to predict which kids are more likely to get into trouble, looking for kids who play more M-rated games among their favorites and play for example more than 15 hours per week, they are at greater risk.