Last updated on: 2/3/2010 | Author: ProCon.org

Henry Jenkins, PhD Biography

Title:
Professor of Communication at University of Southern California
Position:
Con to the question "Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?"
Reasoning:

“According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low. Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. It’s true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers – 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts.

According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. The moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester.”

“Reality Bytes: Eight Myths about Video Games Debunked,” pbs.org (accessed Jan. 13, 2010)

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Experts
Individuals with PhDs, MDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to violence and video games. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to media violence and related issues.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, 2009-Present
  • Member, Editorial Board of Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, 2002
  • Member, Advisory Board, International Game Designers Association Committee on Violence, 2000
  • Member, Technical Advisory Board, Zenimax Corporation, 2000
  • Testified during US Senate Commerce Committee investigation into “Marketing Violence to Youth,” 1999
  • Director, Comparative Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1998-2009
  • Director, Film and Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993-1998
  • Acting Director, Gay and Lesbian Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993-1995
  • Professor, Literature, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1989-Present
  • Principal Investigator, The Education Arcade, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Director, New Media Literacies Project
  • Lead Principal Investigator, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab
  • Founder, Convergence Culture Consortium
  • Organized the Creative Leaders Program for Electronic Arts
Education:
  • PhD, Communications, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989
  • MA, Communication Studies, University of Iowa, 1985
  • Teaching Certificate, Secondary School Social Science, Georgia State University, 1982
  • BA, Political Science and Journalism, Georgia State University, 1980
Other:
  • Began his career writing about vaudeville and early sound comedy
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?