With the release of GTA IV, the arguments that "videogames are destroying a generation of children" have again begun being thrown about like fistfuls of mashed potatoes in a cafeteria food fight. Sometimes, it seems like anyone with an internet connection can sound off from left field and pronounce how our society is going to unravel into chaos and disorder ala Mad Max because we let our children play a game where you can shoot people. Well, not everyone.
Harvard professor Lawrence Kutner, co-author of the book Grand Theft Childhood, recently sat down for interview with Open Education to discuss the revitalized criticism of violent videogames and to defend games such as GTA IV. He quickly admits to not having the opportunity to play GTA IV yet, but he has some incredibly interesting and intelligent things to say about the nature of videogame criticism in general. At one point, Dr. Kutner observes:
This is strikingly similar to the concerns over and editorials against comic books, radio, gangster films and—back in the late 19th century—the evil influence of paperback novels on teenage girls. None of those bore out. Each time, the pundits and politicians said that earlier concerns may have been silly, but that this time it’s different. So far it hasn’t been.
For the full interview, check out Open Education.
For more Grand Theft Childhood, check out X-Play's interview with the authors from last month.