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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Grand Theft Childhood: The Scary Nightly News

When I interviewed Kutner and Olson for my story, they said right away that Grand Theft Auto was different than “typical violent videogames.” Olson spoke eloquently about how the kids they interviewed loved “the freedom” in the game. She told me that the kids didn’t want to become thugs when they grew up after playing San Andreas, but that they enjoyed playing as a thug.

The other thing they told me that made me want to drop to my knees in gratitude was that kids were totally capable of distinguishing between reality and fantasy. Olson said the kids interviewed knew they were playing, plain and simple. The kids also told her that they found the nightly news far more disturbing than Grand Theft Auto. That, they knew was real, and it scared the bejeesus out of them.
-- REVIEW: Grand Theft Childhood [Next Generation]

The book also points out a few other facts - for instance that 1994 marks the start of declined juvenile violence in the U.S. as well as being when the release year of the original PlayStation.

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