A well publicized article in the UK Daily Mail today reported an unusual story of a man, Mark Bradford, 46, accused of assaulting a 13 year-old boy after being “killed” by him in the popular interactive video game, Call of Duty. A grown up assaulting a child is appalling anytime, but to have been provoked by something supposed to be for fun has to call into question the culpability of these games. The mother of the alleged victim said this, “If you can’t stand losing to a child, you shouldn’t play the game.”
Gamers and proponents of games like Call of Duty, often dismiss incidents like this as actions of a small minority, and that the games themselves should not be questioned as a result. But think about it, when was the last time you heard of a grown man throttling a young boy over losing at Monopoly? What you do see, time after time, in many violent crimes is that the accused are gamers. Does it mean everyone who plays these games will attack kids, or go on violent rampages? Of course not.
But, should light be shed on the fact that all too often violent video games are part of these stories? We think so. It doesn’t necessarily mean that government needs to prevent their distribution, it does lead me to think that there is some collective imperative that more research is done on the correlation between the two.
As a parent, pediatrician or involved citizen, what do you make of these growing incidents between violent video games and real life violence?