field has gone way past trying to provide objec-tive information to parents and rather into tryingto pressure, scare, and shame them into follow-ing a proscribed moral path. So I have no prob-lem with the scholar who says, “There is someevidence to link media violence to aggression,there’s also evidence to suggest media violencemay be harmless. It’s my personal opinion that,taken together . . . blah blah blah.” No worriesthere. But the scholar who says, “All the evi-dence supports my opinion, and there’s no de-bate at all” is being dishonest (after all, here weare debating!) and that’s what I think needs tochange in the field. But I think you raise a reallyinteresting question as well . . . do differentnations/cultures differ in this respect? I thinkthat would be a great question for the type ofsociological analyses of our field I’d like to seepeople take on in the future.Parenting Children’s Media LivesElly: You mentioned before that you have achild, an 11-year-old boy. Do you have a “me-dia diet” for him or apply rules and regulationsabout his media use? How do you cope with thepotential for general “overuse” of media byyouth? And, how do you discuss possible re-strictions with your child and motivate him tosee their value?Chris: Yes, I do have an 11-year-old who islike my best bud. We’re actually a pretty easy-going family when it comes to media, but it’s“informed leniency” . . . we like to know abouta movie or game before we allow it. So, forinstance, we’ve let our son watch some R-ratedmovies (Prometheus is one of his favorites) butwe watched the movie first. I think people get alittle hung upon the ratings categories, whichcan be useful guidelines, but not all “R” ratedmovies are the same, nor “M” rated videogames. Because of our American cultural hesi-tancy regarding sexual themes, I’d be more hes-itant about a game like “Grand Theft Auto 5”because of the sexual content than I would beabout “Modern Warfare 3” even though bothare rated M. Even there though, for me, it’smore about morality than “harm” . . . I don’tthink GTA5 would change my son’s attitudestoward women or make him hostile, but I justdon’t feel that a game like GTA5 represents ourfamily’s values. My son and I play video gamestogether a lot too (indeed, I rarely play videogames on my own anymore), and we watchmost movies together so I’m very involved inmy son’s media life. For me, even where objec-tionable material comes up, it gives us the op-portunity to discuss it which, frankly, I thinkgives him a leg up on kids who have been“shielded.” So, for example, I don’t worry at allabout my son hearing strong language. We’vebeen to movies with s-bombs and f-bombs andthat just led us to have a discussion about themeaning of those words, how they can be hurt-ful or inappropriate, and how they are not beused at home or at school. I’ve yet to get asingle complaint about him using harsh lan-guage at school, and he doesn’t use that lan-guage at home.
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The Land, PowerPoint, American Psychological Association, Video game controversy, Media violence research, Elly A. Konijn