Consulting, Research and Speaking on Health and Media Issues

New book for schools: The Video Game Debate

Routledge just published The Video Game Debate: Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Digital Games, edited by Rachel Kowert and Thorsten Quandt. (I contributed Chapter 3, "Are Electronic Games Health Hazards or Health Promoters?") Designed for college students, the book works for any curious person who wants to promote more intelligent and nuanced ... [Continue Reading]

The persistence of “Smurfette Syndrome”

Today, my son and I were watching a taped Colbert Report broadcast, when the issue of including females in animal research came up (cue the fetching girl rodent in lipstick). It reminded me of my first academic publication: a letter to Science (249:612), titled “Shoehorning” Men Into Studies? Published in 1990, when my son was learning to crawl, it ran as follows:    Regarding ... [Continue Reading]

What can we say about teen suicide?

During the past three years, six students at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax County, Virginia died by suicide. Newton, Massachusetts lost three high school students to suicide in recent months. Both communities are heavily populated with high-achieving families, who start plotting their children’s pathways to elite colleges at ever-earlier ages. (My own son, who starts ... [Continue Reading]

Why video games are not like cigarettes…

A recent series of opinion pieces in the New York Times resurrected the debate on whether media violence causes actual crime or violence. One article dredged up a discredited claim that the link between media violence and actual violent behavior is "on par with the correlation of exposure to secondhand smoke and the risk of lung cancer" (the original claim involved "first hand" ... [Continue Reading]

New paper: Video game effects on teens with psychological problems

The Journal of Youth and Adolescence just issued a press release for a forthcoming paper that I wrote with Chris Ferguson of Stetson University. Revisiting data collected from my government-funded studies at Harvard Medical School, Chris and I focused on the subset of young teens who reported symptoms of depression and/or attention deficit disorder. Here is an excerpt from ... [Continue Reading]

New book: Sports Videogames

If your household includes a preschooler, teenager or young adult, there's a good chance you already own a potentially powerful weapon against couch-potatodom: sports videogames. I say this because of a surprising finding from my Harvard video game surveys and focus groups. Our survey of middle-school youth found that boys who play realistic sports games (e.g., soccer, ... [Continue Reading]

Piers Morgan Live on CNN – Video games and violence

Today's Piers Morgan Live (CNN) features an interview with Joshua Cooke--from prison. Cooke killed his parents with a shotgun ten years ago. At the time, news headlines called this The Matrix case, because Cooke admitted watching that film over and over. He also played violent video games, including Grand Theft Auto, BloodRayne, Resident Evil and Doom. (See this Washington Post ... [Continue Reading]

Hidden benefits of videogames

As parents, we often focus more on potential dangers than potential benefits. This is especially true for video games, with news stories linking gaming to everything from too much sitting to anti-social behavior. Certainly, not all video games are right for children; that’s why we have game ratings. But there are many video games that (played in moderation) could boost your ... [Continue Reading]

Five Keys to a Great Radio Interview

Here are some powerful tips that you won’t find in the typical guide to doing interviews on radio.   1. Remember that radio is fundamentally a visual medium. That may sound strange at first, but it’s a concept that network and major market radio personalities and reporters use all the time. Skilled broadcasters realize that radio creates visual images in the minds of its ... [Continue Reading]

The “Awareness” Trap

Not long ago, a medical supply company had a nice thought. One of their product lines was hospital gloves; what if they manufactured a special line of pink gloves, to increase awareness of breast cancer? “We thought that seeing health care workers wear pink gloves would remind people to talk about breast cancer,” a company spokesperson told ABC News. It became a minor hit on ... [Continue Reading]