May 6, 2013
Violence & Video Games
It's a tireless task parents have keeping their kids safe. Graphic TV programs, sexually explicit magazines and alcohol all must be kept out of reach. Unfortunately, parents must add another pop culture challenge to their list: video games. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shows that more than 90 percent of parents don't monitor ratings on the video games played by their kids. Many are unaware that a ratings system for video games even exists, and children probably know more about the rating system than their parents do. Worse yet, parents may not know that the content of certain games could affect the social and emotional development of their child, and may even be hazardous to children's health. When my 10-year-old son comes home from school, the first thing he does, is make a beeline for the computer, his tablet or video game console. He wants to play some type of video game. I frequently have to tell him to go get a book to read or go outside and play – which he does after some type of protest. Increasingly, we as parents are seeing this more and more, video game addiction. It is a problem that is prevalent throughout the United States. No longer do children want to take a ball and throw it or kick it around, or ride their bikes around
the neighborhood unless you force them. They want to sit inside the house, on the couch, or on their beds playing a video game of some sort. But these games are not the same that our generation used to play. Gone are the days of Pong, Pac-Man, Duck Hunt, Centipede and Galaga. They have been replaced by the more realistic, bloodier and gorier games like, Call of Duty, Killzone 3, Battlefield 3, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and the sociopathic Naughty Bear. Yes, I said Naughty Bear. With a name like that, one would expect to find that it would be a game rated for a 4 or 5 year old. It was rated to for teens by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), but was found to be more appropriate for audiences 18 years or older. (ESRB) The Pew Research Center reported in 2008 that more than 90 percent of games rated as appropriate for children 10 years or older contained violence, including games rated "E" for everyone. (Oskin) Critics described Naughty Bear as “one of the most violent and disturbing games of the year. It's about a sociopathic bear that spends his time choking his peers with golf clubs, slamming their heads in car doors, and frightening them until they commit suicide. The absence of blood and gore is like removing one letter from a curse word; its meaning is implicit and only superficially censored. This is a game about imaginative murder, plain and simple.” (Sapieha and Tahnk) Some people fear that this trend of gaming is causing a serious problem in our children. They correlate violence in extreme gaming with some of the mass shootings that have occurred
in recent times. On April 20, 1999, two heavily armed adolescent boys walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and shot 12 of their classmates and a teacher to death. Then they kill themselves. When authorities investigated, they discovered that the boys had played thousands of hours of a “first person shooter” video game that had been modified to occur in a layout identical to that of their high school, with yearbook pictures electronically pasted onto the game’s imaginary victims. What led these boys to deliberately kill their fellow students is complicated and no single reason has been identified as the cause. Some say that “the young men who opened fire at Columbine High School, at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and in other massacres had this in common: they were video gamers who seemed to be acting out some dark digital fantasy.” (Carey) These sentiments were echoed by Senator Joe Lieberman, who said, “The violence in the entertainment culture, particularly with the extraordinary realism to video games and...
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Hicks, Marybeth. "HICKS: Violent Video Games Create Unhealthy Emotions." TheWashingtonTimes.com. The Washington Times LLC, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 6 May 2013. .
Oskin, Becky. "Teens and Video Games: How Much Is Too Much?" Foxnews.com. FOX News Network, LLC, 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 6 May 2013. .
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