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Journal Articles

There has been only limited discussion and analysis of computer games in academic journals both here and overseas, but what is actually available does go far in providing some answers to the questions asked in the eBrief topics.  Most prominently, these articles tend to address the violence and/or degradation accusations.  They also address stakeholders in the debate and issues surrounding player demographics.  Article writers come from all sides of the debate. 

Beavis, C. (1998). Pressing (the right?) buttons: literacy and technology, crisis and continuity. English in Australia, 123, 42-51.

Beavis argues that schoolteachers should not shun new technologies such as computer games as a means of teaching their students literacy and other useful life skills.  The games should not entirely replace traditional teaching aids, nor should they be introduced into the classroom with little sense of caution.  Teachers are encouraged to adapt to and use new technologies rather than resist them, especially seeing that such technologies can make lessons more relevant to children and increase their motivation to learn.

Dietz, T. (1998). An examination of violence and gender role portrayals in video games: implications for gender socialization and aggressive behavior. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 38, 425-442.

Sexism, racism, and encouragement of violence is common in video games - as they are in most media - according to the author of this study.  Such adverse themes negatively impact upon children to the extent that they are probably more liable to perpetuate such negative beliefs and actions in the real world.  The author concludes that much more research needs to be conducted in this area. 

Lumby, C. (1997). Panic attacks: old fears in a new media area. Media International Australia, 85, 40-46.

Cohen's moral panic theories are just as relevant today as they were decades ago, writes Lumby.  She readily applies them to numerous contemporary concerns such as computer games and the Internet and links movements to protect children with movements to excessively control them.  The persistence and political power of those who promote censorship should not be underestimated.

Marshall, P. D. (1997). Technophobia: video games, computer hacks and cybernetics. Media International Australia, 85, 70-78.

As technology encroaches into modern life, considerable resistance is forming against it by those who are somehow unwilling or unable to adapt to such change.  Marshall contrasts the youthful culture of technological embracement with the older, traditional, and mainly adult/parent culture of technological caution or rejection.  The video gaming and computer hacking subcultures are given particular attention in this article.

Scott, D. (1994). The effect of video games on feelings of aggression. The Journal of Psychology, 129, 121-32.

One psychological study examined the commonly believed assertion that children who play computer and video games have greater chances of becoming aggressive in the real world than children who are not participants in this pastime.  The study found no scientific evidence to support this assertion.  Results were determined via questionnaire after the study's subjects played selected aggressive games.

Sneed, C, and Runco, M. A. (1993). The beliefs adults and children hold about television and video games. The Journal of Psychology, 126, 273-83.

Another psychological study involving the use of questionnaires found that adults and children hold different beliefs about the affects of television and video games.  In general, adults believed both media had more negative effects on children than did the children themselves who largely rejected such criticism.  The authors call for more studies to be conducted into these issues, particularly into any differences between male and female opinions. 

Sternberg, J. (1997). Generating x: lifestyle panics and the new generation gap. Media International Australia, 85, 79-90.

Sternberg links intergenerational conflict between the baby boomers and Generation X to moral panic over various issues in which age tends to be a factor, from musical tastes to video game playing.  In doing so, he emphasises the fear, distrust, and incomprehension that can exist between age groupings in modern society.

Wark, M. (1994). The video game as an emergent media form. Media Information Australia, 71, 21-30.

An overview of the history and culture surrounding video and computer games shows the rapidly rising popularity of this new form of media that defies most attempts to restrict it.  The author is supportive of these new expressions of media and urges society not to react adversely in a moral panic.

© Anthony Larme 2002
Comments and questions are most welcome