Role of violent video games in adolescent boys’ development (Olson et al., 2008)

Now at, Cheryl K. Olson and colleague Lawrence A. Kutner, had a book that’s going to be published in April and a lot of the commentators seem so excited over news that support their beliefs about violent video game effects. Well, I’m not really excited, just interested to hear what she and her colleagues has to say about the violent media research. You can read some excerpts from their website at By the way, I commented that I read her papers, it turns out to be the wrong person, it was Sheryl L. Olson. Well, they sound similar, so it’s a normal and understandable mistake.


Numerous policies have been proposed at the local, state, and national level to restrict youth access to violent video and computer games. Although studies are cited to support policies, there is no published research on how children perceive the uses and influence of violent interactive games. The authors conduct focus groups with 42 boys ages 12 to 14. Boys use games to experience fantasies of power and fame, to explore and master what they perceive as exciting and realistic environments (but distinct from real life), to work through angry feelings or relieve stress, and as social tools. Boys did not believe they had been harmed by violent games but were concerned that younger children might imitate game behavior (especially swearing).

Olson, C. K., Kutner, L. A., & Warner, D. E. (2008). The role of violent video game content in adolescent development: Boys’ perspectives. Journal of Adolescent Research, 23(1), 55-75.


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