The answer may someday be written in history books, but for now we should consider some changes in our lifestyles. In the 1950s most mothers stayed home and the family watched their one television together. Today, both parents typically must work and many children frequently fend for themselves.
Many children are regularly left alone and watch too much television, others roam neighborhoods, and some busy themselves with text messages or the Internet. Unfortunately today, there are hosts of opportunities for our children to have negative outside influences.
What is in a video game? Could the adolescent with his nose in a video game be slaughtering people? Too often children play video games as interactive participants in violence, evil slaughter and rape. Some video games depict people begging for mercy while being mutilated or exterminated.
Did children of the 1950s actually become aggressive from watching comic violence like Popeye and Bluto slugging it out, or Wile E. Coyote getting blown to smithereens while trying to catch the Road Runner? Are today’s video games so realistic in violence that some children will try to replicate in real life the moviemaking actions they see in their video games?
It may be about children’s constitutional rights but it is more about parental discretion and responsibility! It is pretty easy to find out about a game before it is purchased by just reading the label. Parents can also visit the website www.esrb.org/
index-js.jsp and see content descriptors to learn how the game is rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
If you are not Internet active or if the game has already been purchased and the package has been tossed, it doesn’t take long before most violent video games get down to business and show violence. Turn it on and see for yourself.
Would you want your child or grandchild to hear someone beg for mercy before they decide to set them on fire? How about actively maneuvering the game to kill a police officer in cold blood? It may be peer pressure that encourages a child to lean toward a specific game. That same child may feel the pressure to lie, cheat or steal, but there is an inherent responsibility for parents or guardians to supervise and educate children. It is not about old-time cartoons or children’s fun, it is a real issue about adults nurturing the mind of a child.
Some people say the shooters in Connecticut, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and the 1999 shooter at Heritage High School in Conyers were mentally ill. Others say they were evil. The diagnosis is not relevant to my point.
There may not be a correlation between mass murder and video games, but extensive exposure to violence in any form can be a desensitizing factor. Could the video game your child is playing be a foreshadowing of violent rage? What are you waiting for, go play a game.
Charlie Sewell is the Powder Springs chief of police. His column runs occasionally in the Marietta Daily Journal.