Supernanny Tries to Prove Violent Games Are Bad

Austin MacKenzie

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Jan 26, 2010
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Supernanny Tries to Prove Violent Games Are Bad



With a handful of kids and some videogames, Supernanny Jo Frost hopes to prove our children are being desensitized to violence.

Frost, known to American audiences for her show Supernanny, revealed in her UK show Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance the result of an experiment in which she gathered 40 boys, split them up, and had 20 play a football game and 20 play an FPS. She then showed them a clip of a particularly violent news story, monitoring their heart rate. The heart rates of the boys who had played the football game increased more than the heart rates of those who played the FPS. With this, Frost hoped to demonstrate the desensitization our children are undergoing at the hands of violent videogames, but her methodology is suspect.

"I'm no neuroscientist, but with the biological stress response recently engaged, surely it's no surprise that in the few minutes after violent gameplay, test subjects react differently to violent stimuli?" author Keith Stuart said in a rebuttal to the experiment.

Frost said the results indicated a desensitization and lack of empathy caused by violent games. Later in the show she invited them back for an interview, where she knocked over some pencils. Of the boys who played the football game, 80 percent helped her pick them up, as opposed to 40 percent of the boys who played the shooters. That would seem to say more about manners than desensitization, but who are we to argue with Supernanny?

Source: <a href=http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2010/feb/10/games-controversy>The Guardian via <a href=http://gamepolitics.com/2010/02/10/fps-gamers-less-likely-help-pick-spilled-pencils>GamePolitics


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Spudgun Man

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Oct 29, 2008
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As usual there is a flaw with this.

She could have hand picked the ones she knew were right little bastards to play the shooter.

But alas we will never be able to prove it. And I Doubt Soopar Nana will do anything to do so either.
 

Hybridwolf

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Aug 14, 2009
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"I'm no neuroscientist..."
No. No you are not, and as such I refuse to think this test has any validety. Thing is about these sort of tests is that you can prove a link, but you'll never be able to get the evideince to back it up. Sure the kids playing video games might be more calm, but who's to say they weren't hand picked? Or more mature? Or the football kids where more...List goes on.

Being a TV superstar does not make you a psycologist jo, so bugger off and do what you do best, sort out little brats.
 

Xersues

DRM-free or give me death!
Dec 11, 2009
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That's the good thing about research. WE don't have to prove anything. SHE has to prove her evidence otherwise its just opinion or a flawed research methodology. Empirical science ftw *****
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
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Zephyr892 said:
Yes, because we can trust the Supernanny to correctly conduct scientific research.
Indeed! For she is the fore front of the whole community.

I declare this test null and void.
 

Sporky111

Digital Wizard
Dec 17, 2008
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When I see a test perfomed by a professional, educated, unbiased person, using scientific method I'll be more likely to believe it.

However, she is a child care specialist, not a psychologist. She's setting out to prove her point, not find results. No credibility at all.
 

Truly-A-Lie

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Nov 14, 2009
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What's the definition of desensitization? If it's just "not screaming or over reacting when something bad happens" shouldn't we start by looking into whether that's a bad thing? Having a neutral stance on things makes my life easier, and if games are responsible for my not being bothered all the time, then I thank them.
More people being desesitized means less people that whine about violent games.
 

Beeple

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Apr 16, 2009
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To add to the points against this experiment I actually watched the show on TV last night.
Firstly the average resting heart rates (Beats per minute) for the non-violent group was apparently 80ish and just over 90 for the violent lot. Not only is the difference a little large for a test on heart rate jumps if the kids resting heart rates are that high I think finding out why should have been priority over doing this experiment. I mean 0.0.

The other half of the experiment involved in them being interviewed and the interviewer intentionally knocking down a pot of pens. The hypothesis was that the non-violent group would be more inclined to help. Whilst this was the case the procedure was in no way standardized as the researcher leant over to pick up the pens himself in 2 of the 4 shown from the non-violent group before they offered to help. Whereas in the violent group he was quick to ignore it and ask another question. Either they didn't help or otherwise would have been labelled ignorant etc. The test was biased to begin with.

I also fail to see the relation between helping to pick up pens and being desensitized to violence (Whilst it is worth research it isn't related to violence >.>)

I'm not a neuro scientist either but I am a psychology student well educated enough to notice bias and lack of standardization.

Summary: The experiment was too flawed to be considered valid. Another pop at videogames. Move along.

(What will be interesting is next week with the kid with an 80 (Something around there I believe) hour per week game addiction)

(An extra point: The football (Soccer) games themselves actually have footage of players squaring up to each other over disagreements, it can hardly be considered non-violent altogether as well (Tackling is a basic fundamental. Not really [email protected])
 

G. Alarimm

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May 2, 2009
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The sample size is much too small, the article does not mention a control, the "evidence" or rather "results" are trivial and are affected by FAR too many factors to point to a single thing, and no, you are indeed not a neuroscientist.
 

TheNumber1Zero

Forgot to Remember
Jul 23, 2009
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I call Bullcrap on her test, because football is violent, and involves taunting your opponents as a feature. If this test actually worked, the football kids would of laughed at her and slapped each others bums. (not meant to offned football fans, just a joke)

She just made sure that the majority of the Football section were the type of kids to do it on their own.

Plus, I don't like Supernanny,. She can't fly, she isn't faster than a speeding bullet, She probably can't jump half a foot let alone over a building, what's so super about her?
 

StarStruckStrumpets

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Jan 17, 2009
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Oh FUCK OFF!

What pisses me off about this is all of the bat-flapping mothers who will listen to this because someone they relate to says it. I'm done with all of this hate on games. Don't let them play the shit if they aren't mature enough. I'm 14, I play M games and I'm not a raving lunatic or a rapist waiting to happen. If anything, I'm completely the other way. I'm socially backward in my views on society. I've not been brainwashed. The media is trolling us.

I say: Feed them some warm TNT.
 

azncutthroat

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May 13, 2009
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I could do an experiment that links watching Supernanny to aggressive behavior by basing it on the subject's reactions. I wonder how she would feel about that?

And wtf... no control group? Supernanny you fucking fail. Go back to your sad, pathethic existence, babysitting the immature 10 and 12-year-olds whose parents can't even raise themselves, so we don't have to do your fucking job dealing with them on the internet.
 

Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
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You know, this is countered with the fact that the children shouldn't be playing these games at that age. OH WAIT! She didn't specify the age, did she?
 

Darth Pope

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Jun 30, 2009
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I sincerely hope that video games are to the 21st century what comics were to the 1950's.

With luck they'll follow the same path as comics: used as a scapegoat by every politician, social activist, and soccer mom on the planet, but people eventually see reason and realize they're harmless.
 

Canadamus Prime

Robot in Disguise
Jun 17, 2009
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Sporky111 said:
When I see a test perfomed by a professional, educated, unbiased person, using scientific method I'll be more likely to believe it.

However, she is a child care specialist, not a psychologist. She's setting out to prove her point, not find results. No credibility at all.
Pretty much this. Until then, Supernanny can go join Jack Thompson and Micheal Atkinson as just another dumbass who hates video games.
 

The Rockerfly

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Dec 31, 2008
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Why do we keep posting articles like these?

There is always some idiot saying video games are evil, what are we suppose to discuss?
 

oneplus999

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Oct 4, 2007
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G. Alarimm said:
The sample size is much too small, the article does not mention a control, the "evidence" or rather "results" are trivial and are affected by FAR too many factors to point to a single thing, and no, you are indeed not a neuroscientist.
Actually the 8/20 vs 16/20 is enough samples to establish a difference with an alpha < .05, which is generally acceptable as a strong result. The control is the football playing group. This is better than a group that did "nothing", since then it could be blamed on plenty of other factors, like adrenaline. You're right about there being too many factors tho, a non-violent but equally engaging game, like say Portal vs HL2, would have made more sense.

My problem is more with her methodology. This was not a double-blind experiment, because based on this description I'd say it's likely she knew which students had done football vs videogames when she conducted the pencil-drop test. She should have someone else performing this test who didn't know.

Of course, I'm not going to address the heart-rate study, since that's not actually showing anything meaningful. Yes, they were primed so they were familiar with violence ahead of time, and we're surprised when they saw more. Big deal.
 

GeekFury

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Aug 20, 2009
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Few problems there, first off she did'nt knock the pens over the male doctor did and secondly the heart rates of the boys who played the football game were not shown it was only said that those that played the violant games heart rate when up.

Though my main problem with that test was the fact that if you watched closely you saw the doctor move for the pens, not always obvious but he made a subtle move for them when he had the kids that played the football game there and when he had the kids that played the violent video games on he shrugged the dropping of pens off and just continued asking the questions, without a pause.

Debunked.