A few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to make this statement, that videos games are not at fault for violence in children, only bad parenting is, but now I am a parent and I know exactly who is at fault, parents. Now mind you, I am no child psychologist. No expert of behavior, or scientist. I am just a parent, and I know my son.
I am currently 26 years old, and I have a 4 year old son. I have watched him develop over the years, and one thing I have noticed is, what I LET him do and see, that is what dictates his development. If my child is using bad language do I blame TV or Movies for this? or is the fault my own for letting him watch something that is explicitly rated as not being for children? As a parent it would be my fault, not the media.
The Same goes for video games.
Lets face it, as far as I can remember, video games have been a staple for our societies entertainment. I grew up with this, but over the years ,which some can note that since the advent of the first Xbox and the first person shooter craze began, video games have indeed become more violent. But how does that effect children? Thanks to the ESRB, The Entertainment Software Rating Board, all video games are rated.
Currently there are 6 ratings a game can get. Wikipedia has a great breakdown of these ratings:
And they have one rating that is meant for Adults only:
These ratings are meant to show parents what a child should and should not be playing based on what content it contains and if it is deemed as appropriated for their development.
These ratings are a good thing.
Some might say “but my child doesn’t care what its rated, they play it anyways?”, but this is by far the most irresponsible thing a parent can say.
If your child was doing heroine or cocaine in your house, you wouldn’t blame the drug.
All stores, Gamestop, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, etc, they all have a age limit to buy these games. Namely, if the game is rated M, and you are under 17, they cannot by law sell you that game.
I worked at Gamestop a few years ago, I took it as a second job. to me the job wasn’t even a job, I just did it because I loved gaming. I eventually quit because I was appalled by the state of parents irresponsibility.
I worked when games like Call of Duty Black Ops, Halo Reach, and other big name violent shooters were releasing, and I would see kids come in all the time and try and buy these from me. I would tell them no, and they would pout and be on their way. Hours later these same kids would return with their parents and THEY would buy them these games. I would urge these parents to not be so irresponsible to allow their child to play a game that was intended for adults, but they would shrug it off “its not a big deal to me, its just a game.“
Now it is like an epidemic, we have these violent shootings where young people are killing others, and society is trying to play the card that it was because of our countries lack of gun control or violent video games. To me this is the biggest hypocritical thing I have ever heard, these are the same people who up until this point, did not care what their kids were playing, now they are telling everyone video game companies are poisoning their children.
PARENTS ARE TO BLAME FOR THIS, NO ONE ELSE.
We have people like VP Joe Biden saying ““we shouldn’t be afraid of the facts”, and Ralph Nader saying that Video game makers are “electronic child molesters”, when in truth, people like them and irresponsible parents are to blame, for they do nothing to address what is being done right and try to shrug off their responsibility and blame to others.
I am a parent, like I said earlier, and I love my son. But there is no way in hell that I would let him play a game like Halo or Call of Duty until he is old enough. I may play them, but when he is around, the games are off, and I am being a parent to him, and not allowing him to see or play these things. Why? Because children are impressionable, and it is my job, my duty, as a parent to make sure that he grows up right, and at the end of the day, his life, up bringing, and choices are because of how I raised him.
Blaming guns, or video games for the recent rash of incidents in our society is like blaming cars for car accidents and not bad driving. We have gun laws that prohibit the purchase and use of a gun without a series of background checks and a mountain of paperwork and registration, and we have laws and ratings for gaming that prohibit the selling and purchasing of inappropriate games for minors. We have the necessary steps and warnings in place to prevent children from using these things, and when something like the Sandy Hook Shootings occur, we rush to blame gun control or video games when we avoid the obvious, the shooter was to blame. The laws did not fails us, the people who let him get a hold of those weapons, taught him how to use them, etc, they are to blame. We fail to blame the person themselves, yet we stagger and jump at the opportunity to blame everyone else.
Benjamin Franklin once said:
“Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
If we want to fix this, we need to be better parents, better people. We need to abide by the laws that are in place, not take more freedom away from everyone else just so we can feel a little safer.
That all being said leads to the same result, video games are not to blame for violent children, the parents that allow them to play them are. And no one else.