Christopher Ferguson’s book Children, Crime, and the Media: A Critical Analysis describes how the news media often speculates about a relationship between juvenile violence and violent video games, movies, and other forms of media. Ferguson suggests that speculation is sometimes without merit and then seeks to determine what link, if any, there is between youth crime and various forms of media.
Children, Crime, and the Media: a Critical Analysis is highly critical of studies researching a causal connection between media and youth violence, and there may be good reasons for those criticisms given the politicization of the issue. Perhaps surprisingly to those who are unfamiliar with this area of research, there is little evidence that exposure to violent or sexual media increases the prevalence of youth crime. Ferguson’s book suggests that concerns regarding perceived harmful effects of media seem generally unwarranted; therefore, media censorship, as related to minors, and the subsequent impediment to minors’ First Amendment rights are similarly unwarranted.
Natalie N. Short
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
“Christopher J. Ferguson: Adolescents, Crime, and the Media: A Critical Analysis” in Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Christopher J. Ferguson, Ph.D., is an associate professor of clinical and forensic psychology at Texas A&M International University. He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Central Florida and is an internationally recognized researcher of video game and other media effects, his work having been published in leading journals in psychology, criminal justice, pediatrics, and psychiatry. He recently served as guest editor for the American Psychological Association journal Review of General Psychology’s special issue on video game effects. He lives in Laredo, Texas with his wife and young son.