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January 31, 2009

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Ian

Paper should be accessible to you via the PDF link. If it's not, drop me a line (unless I misunderstood and you're all set with access to the paper). I can't tell whether I have access just in general, or through PsycINFO. Looks to be an interesting read for Saturday night!

nbr

For a proof copy of the paper, go here: http://bit.ly/7qWc

It's the author's personal page.

Melanie

Thanks for posting about this. I've been thinking a lot about how how "cyberstories" tend to come in two extremes: moral panic and overhype. That said, having worked with at-risk student populations I feel there is an absence of important social scaffolding for them in relation to negotiating complex social codes and being further enabled into risk behaviours (this is not to say that the web, alone, contributes more than other factors but that we DO need to examine the role of the web as one of those factors). As howard just tweeted, the issue here is nuance - we're not getting it from those who profit from tech shilling or, conversely, fear mongering. The old media (and other old guards) benefit enormously from manufacturing "culture of fear" content. One issue that's concealed in all of this (and rarely touched upon) are the political/ideological stakeholders in culture of fear rhetoric and cultural production. Those who, traditionally, benefit from a society who do not recognise each other as friends/allies but competitors or threats.

Ian

Done reading. Will C&P my thoughts here.

Declaration of conflict of interest: I've played first-person shooter games since Doom was in beta and Wolfenstein 3D was the height of technology. If you don't know what that means, just assume it means a really long time (though my computer can't handle the new games, sadly).

It's an excellent read. Given numerous examples from the more recent school shootings, the author quickly makes it clear that an element assumed to be in all of them is missing: the element of video games. The shooters weren't involved in playing violent games, and it had little if any effect on the outcome.

Ferguson goes on to point out, among other things, that generalizations from laboratory experiments to life require massive leaps, that most studies supporting the game-violence link fail to include crucial factors like personality, family violence, or genetics, and the research is conducted on typical rather than the more important at-risk individuals. He raises the red flag on false-positives in violence assessments, and requires a more meaningful quantification of terms like "unusually high interest in...".

It's an excellent article. I'd say two aspects of it struck me most. The first is that Ferguson gives a great explanation of the concept of moral panic. The second is the peanut butter analogy.

Thanks for bringing this one to my attention!

monique

there must be something wrong

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