Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

January 14, 2010 -

Dr. Michael Rich, Director (and self-described “Mediatrician”) of the Center on Media and Child Health for Children’s Hospital Boston  recently fielded a question on the hospital’s blog from a parent asking about the impact Call of Duty might have on teenage boys.

Dr. Rich’s first attempt at answering the question resulted in a bit of a misstep, in that he misrepresented the Modern Warfare 2’s controversial “No Russian” scene, referring to it as the game’s opening scene and then falsely wrote that the player earns points by gunning down civilians in the airport.

The doctor’s recommendation? “Given all the evidence, I personally would never recommend that a parent give this game to a child or teen.”

Following a handful of comments on the original post which pointed out his errors in describing the game, the good doctor scripted a second blog in which he apologized, writing, “… even though I play video games, I have neither the skills nor the practice time to be a great gamer, so Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was demonstrated to me—I have not played it.”

He then went on to explain his interpretation of how violent games affect younger gamers:

…many research studies have shown that the majority of violent video game players do not go out and start shooting people—but they do show that those who view violent movies or play violent video games experience a consistent, measurable shift in their attitudes and behaviors toward greater fear and anxiety (especially in children), desensitization to suffering, and, in some, increases in aggression.

Therefore, as a pediatrician, I would steer parents and kids toward video games that are sports-, logic-, or strategy-based, instead of those that center on violence.

GP: A relatively even keel, non knee-jerk recommendations from the doctor in that at least he didn’t claim that all studies suggest violent games have a negative impact on youth. Or maybe we’re just learning to expect less from non-gaming experts that judge games. What do you think?


Comments

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

The pediatrician should stick to his job & what he knows to do rather than think he is giving advice to parents & mind his own business.

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

To be honest why would anyone ask a peditrican (typo) for advice on MW2


 

 

Never underestimate the power of idiots in large amounts.

Never underestimate the power of idiots in large amounts.

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

When will they stop treating gamers like lab rats? People have grown up on violent games and remained normal people, violent games are not arsenic. This effort could have been put into finding new ways to treat victims of cancer.

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

If this guy thinks sports aren't violent, he's clearly never played football or seen a riot at a soccer match.

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

A lot of the comments made are indeed false in a lot of cases or at least misguided, but I generally agree with his conclusions.  I have 2 nieces and a nephew who love games; each has a DS and they share a Wii.  I would not buy them a violent game at this stage in their lives (the eldest is 10) and make sure my sister is aware of what to get them as well.  I dont think there is anything wrong with the conclusions that are outlined in this article, infact I think they are common sense, but the means by which he came to them are flawed.

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

All this proves is the same thing gamers have been saying for a while: Parents, it's your responsiblity to know what your kids are playing.

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

It is an even and non-kneejerk reaction. At least as even as you should expect from someone who calls himself a 'mediatrician,' and probably more. (I cringed when I saw the title) One can't (or can but shouldn't) attack the man simply for holding and expressing an opposing point of view.

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

As a self professed 'expert' he has the responsibility of knowing what he is talking about. It is painfully clear he hasn't any idea about videogames, and is just re-spewing old scare-mongering propaganda. If a contractor built a house with four walls, a roof, and no floor, he'd be out of a job (or still in prison as Lewis Black would say).

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

Sorry Rich, but if you say "the player earns points by shooting as many tourists as possible, including those who are injured and crawling away" then you are either lying about having the game demonstrated for you or you have absolutely no understanding of how games work.  If it's the later, I take it a quick game of video solitaire or something similar is about the extent of your recreational gaming?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

The same "kill things, earn points" bullshit i can't even remember a game where i last saw points...

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

Rock Band, Devil May Cry, COD4 multiplayer (you get XP!)...

Points are still alive and well in many games, but sometime they're just hidden a bit in a lot of cases (anything with XP is equivalent with "points")

Not saying he has a valid argument here.  He clearly doesn't, as COD MW2 doesn't have points in the single player campaign.  However, saying "nope, no points in games anymore" is also not a very valid argument.

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

You have a point here :D

Well, maybe i'm not seeing them because i don't play games to have the highest kill count, but because it's fun to trap idiots with claymores.

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

at least he didn't single out games, he mentioned violent movies too

岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

Yep, instead of shovelling bullshit about one medium, he;s shovelling about 2. What a champ.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

I've got more "knee-jerk recommendations" from the mediatrician. But I do think that he's not suited for being a "mediatrician" given how he makes a lot of mistakes.

http://vgresearcher.wordpress.com/

Re: Doctor Asked About COD’s Influence on Teen Boys

No GP, an overly neagtive analysis that says that some (but a minority) of studies show the opposite of the shit he's shovelling is NOT a relatively even keel, non knee-jerk recommendation.

An even keel non knee-jerk reaction would be to go the (hugely absurd) route of suggesting parents play through these games first, or with their children or at the very least be aware of their content.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.
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