life on the funny farm

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I-Need-Therapy-Thursday: Who's To Blame, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote this:

I've been thinking and talking and reading and writing a lot lately about "who's to blame" for the tragedy in Sandy Hook.

And though there has been much discussion about gun control and mental illness and video game violence, I think we all know, in our hearts, that the only one to blame is the shooter himself.

That being said, I don't think that means there is nothing to "fix".  The fact that there will always be bad people who will find ways of doing bad things is not enough, in my book, to simply do nothing to fix what we can. 

There is much work to be done in all of the above areas.  I love my country fiercely, and wouldn't want to live anywhere else, but in many ways, I think our country has turned into an over-indulged child.  We cry out for our rights and we demand what we want, without considering whether it's "good for us."   As any parent worth his salt knows, just because we want it doesn't mean we should have it.

Over the next few weeks, I'd like to touch on some of the issues that have been bandied about.

The first issue I tackled was gun control, and you can read that here, if you're so inclined.

Today I'd like to share my thoughts on video game violence.

One could argue that video games have nothing to do with violent crime, since the games are not weapons in and of themselves.

But in my book, the wrong in them lies in their contribution to an acceptance, or a desensitivity, to violence.

Don't get me wrong, I believe violence is here to stay, and nothing is going to change that.  But I believe we have a responsibility to portray it as something wrong with society, instead of glorifying it like we do.

We have a gaming system in our house. We've had it since our oldest was probably about 8 or 9 years old. Is he violent? No. But if I could go back in time, I would not make the decision to get a gaming system.  There is so much violence in the games they want to play, and it's just not right. We have time restrictions in place, and we've generally kept reasonably close to the ages on the ratings guide, and I don't let them get just any game they want, but still, too much violence. And it's different than the violence viewed on TV (though there is too much of that,too), because it's not just passively viewed.  It puts the control of the violence in the hands of the player.

Sadly, like violence itself, I think the games are here to stay.  There are already age restrictions in place, so I don't think there's much to be changed there. And there will always be parents who are too permissive in what they let their kids play, and I don't see a way to change that.

So what's to be done?

I think a fairly simple solution would be to "keep it legal".

What I mean by that is that the "protagonists" of the games shouldn't be engaging in illegal activity.

So soldiers engaged in battle? OK.
Cops fighting crime?  Alright.
Civilians fighting off zombies or robot warriors? Acceptable.
Gang-bangers stealing cars and shooting their rivals? Nope.
Don't make it, don't sell it, don't buy it, don't play it.

It's not much, but it's a start. 

Ratings systems would not have to be changed.
Adherance to age requirements could stay the same.
Boys (if you'll pardon the gender stereotyping) could still get their fill of shoot-'em up video games.

Only thing different would be they could not engage in play that would be illegal in real life.

Like I said, it's a start......



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  1. We have a game system too...and there are times I really wish we didn't. I don't think it makes kids violent, but I agree that it can desensitize us. the egg wipes in the mail a day or so ago...they work nicely! Thanks! :)

  2. As a member of the older generation, have never seen the point of video games in the first place. However, now that they're here, it's certainly difficult to see how they can be controlled - but, there is no question that once desensitising kicks in, then inevitably, the difference between wrong and right, legal and illegal begins to get terribly fuzzy! Alas, as the years go by, cannot help but feel we're ALL losing the ability to distinguish the difference between those two levels of behaviour.

    Good luck to you in trying to control your youngster's appetites for video games = violent games.


  3. Thanks, Isobel. Thanks, Alicia!

    Alicia, glad you got your egg wipes. Thanks for participating!



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