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Game Violence

Digital medium held accountable for bloodshed

By Jared Amdahl, social media editor
On November 5, 2012

  • Breathing treatment — Author Toyla L. Thompson informs the audience about respiratory problems with her new children’s book at the pajama party hosted in the Knox Center Friday. George Morin / The Advocate

Too often in the world have people been willing to pass the blame for their problems and fears onto the first thing they can think of.
One form of artistic expression that has been the victim of many detrimental claims since its creation is video games.
Video games and violence, when meshed together, have been controversial since the 1970s.
In this decade we saw the release of the game "Death Race," that offered the capability of running over gremlins, something quite risqué for the funky early digital era.
The gremlins, because of the technological and graphic limitations in the 70s, resembled stick figures more than little green monsters.
The player's objective was to drive down a single repeating road, kill any gremlins in the way, and watch the creature be replaced by a tombstone.
Due to its "evil" and "sickening" displays of violence, it was the first game to be pulled from store shelves after too many "concerned parents" sent complaints to the game's developers.
These parents would not allow their young children to possibly witness such cruelty to gremlins, or, even more so, allow their children to witness any depiction of violence.
Most of the time parents do have more of a right than anyone else to say what their child should or should not see.
It would seem that most parents, the moment they see violence in a video game, however, are willing to correlate exposure to violence with future possibilities of their kids committing violent crimes.
This is likely just parental insecurities stemming from the desire to have a perfect child, which is ultimately impossible.
First of all, people have been depicting and recreating death since cave drawings.
The practice has exponentially risen since the dawn of electronic media.
From pirates sword fighting on a 1930s radio special the whole family would listen to, to Arnold Schwarzenegger hunting down and killing humans in the 1984 movie "The Terminator," people explore violence artistically, thus naturally exposing anyone who views it.
Most importantly, parents have a significantly larger affect on their child's behavior than video games do.
Studies have shown over the past century, including a more recent research project conducted by the University of Notre Dame in 2006, that parental behavior directly affects child behavior.
Parents need to realize that how their children are brought up will dictate how those children operate in society as adults.
Are parents not teaching their children right from wrong anymore?
The topic has become so big that groups against video games have spawned in the last few years.
Mothers Against Video Game Addiction and Violence was created in 2002.
On its website the group states, "Video game addiction is without a doubt becoming this century's most increasingly worrisome epidemic, comparable even to drug and alcohol abuse."
That is a bold statement.
It's hard to think there are children out there selling their bodies for their video game fix, or scrounging and begging for change just to make it through the day.
Also, how likely is it to have kids play so many games that after leaving the arcade they are so intoxicated from the digital stimulation they wreck their automobile on the way home?
It is true that video games can be addicting, but that's just it - anything pleasurable to someone can cause an abuser to develop an addiction.
At what point does one label someone an abuser. Even more so, at what point does one label his or her child an abuser?
Parents need to understand that they are responsible for their child's health, safety and, to some extent, behavior.
It is time for parents to be accountable for how their children act.
Sure it's understandable if parents don't want their children seeing someone get their head blown off, like in the video game "Grand-Theft Auto."
Something like that can raise a lot of questions in an adolescent's mind.
But it's far-fetched for the same parent to think that the second their child sees a video game character kill something or someone, is when their child makes the conscious decision to become a drug lord with an appetite for blood.

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