As Christmas is looming I would like for all parents and grandparents to remember that we don’t always have to give into the whims of our children, when we know what is best for them, is not what they are wanting! I think that the fight that we, as parents, are constantly making is; do we buy the gift that is easiest, or do we buy the gift that is best in the end? I know that we are always trying to make this Christmas one that they will never forget, but in the end we hurt our children and ourselves. We hurt them because then they spend endless droning hours in front of the computer filling their brains with violence, gore, filth, rape, degradation of the weak, as well as allowing them the prime opportunity to become addicted. If we chose an option that is less appealing at first, it could be better for everyone in the end. i.e. Athletic Lessons that could spur some unknown interest, an art lesson or acting lesson that could ignite a creative streak, or even a mini vacation for the weekend that could make a lasting impression forever. For pre-teens and teenagers, to get them socks instead of their favorite game is not the answer, but maybe a membership somewhere could lead them on a new career path that they hadn’t even thought of, or a lesson that brings a new social and physical outlet that they never knew they had before. These are the decisions that grandparents and parents need to make at Christmas as well as the entire year!
Violent video games and children is something we’ve focused a lot of time on since launching MediaViolence.org. The reason behind that is that the video game industry is continuing to grow at a staggering pace. Earlier this year, research from Gartner, an influential and respected technology researcher, estimated the industry to grow to $112 Billion by 2015.
As the article goes on to say, the fastest growth category within the already incredible pace will come from mobile gaming – which is outside the gaming taking place of iPhone’s and other smart phones.
With a game like Call of Duty: Black Ops selling over $650 Million in just five days, and games like it growing in popularity, overlayed with the growth of mobile gaming, two multipliers are in place that make it more challenging for parents. More games, that are more realistic, seeking to outdo one another in the level of graphic violence, coupled with increased access, and that access being mobile, means that parents must be even more vigilant than ever to prevent their kids from playing the games that they deem inappropriate. Of course, this is all assuming they have an opinion on the subject, and want to prevent their kids from playing a certain game.
And, that’s the major impetus behind our effort with this site. We seek to inform parents about the real risks, so that they can be armed against the increasing demand they’ll have directed toward them. A $74 Billion industry well on it’s way to $112 Billion is certainly filling the airwaves with messages that seek to downplay any risk. We just want to be a voice of subtle opposition. The stakes are our children, and we think there’s no stakes higher.
After another tragic incident at Virginia Tech last week, investigators are once again looking for answers to determine what turned the eyes of the nation to Blacksburg for all of the wrong reasons. While there’s little connecting the two incidents besides the location, any time a seemingly arbitrary act of rage takes place, the media and the public immediately begin comparisons with incidents that have come before it.
Like the most notorious recent mass killings in Tucson, Norway, and Columbine, and many other tragic killings that get less exposure, one of the trends between many, if not all, of these incidents is the perpetrators significant exposure to violent video games.
Now, before we get derided by gamers across the world, we are not saying now, nor have we ever stated, that there is a direct correlation between violent video game play and mass killings. Nor would we say that violent video game play directly leads to any specific acts of violence. We will unfortunately likely always live in a world where deranged madmen will commit horrific acts of violence like those mentioned above.
While giving the caveat above, gamers and non-gamers who reflexively call those that even begin question the impacts of such games anti-First Amendment or heretics, should at least acknowledge that ignoring the consistent violent video game play would be negligent on the part of authorities.
But, instead of entering into a public discourse with those who have researched evidence that their are indeed impacts to the brain, and adverse effects of video game violence in aggressive behavior, there is consistently an effort to ignore differing research, and build a case against a straw man like in this Time article stating video games don’t make kids violent. Mr. Ferguson has clearly done his research, and probably would enter into a meaningful discussion among researchers given the opportunity, however when all that is put out there is dismissive, at best, it makes that viewpoint somewhat suspect.
Nonetheless, we look forward to seeing what the investigation reveals about the latest tragedy in our country. We hope that for the victim and his loved ones, some closure can be found. For our country, we hope that if once again violent video games are part of the equation, we can have a true public discourse about the topic, and what steps should be taken as a result.
We at the Media Violence Resource Center have just recently become aware of an effort by the International Committee of the Red Cross asking the question above about violent video games that depict acts of war.
As the group indicates on their site, at “the 31st International Conference that met Geneva in November 2011 participants also explored the role that the law of armed conflict plays, or does not play, in simulations of war. They considered various ways in which the rules applicable in armed conflict could feature in simulations. The side event was an informal discussion; no resolution or plan of action was adopted.”
The mere idea that such a prestigious and influential organization is hosting such a discussion is great news. We hope that it doesn’t end here. More than an internal discussion, the Red Cross can be just the beginning of an important public discourse about the impacts of video game violence.