Since the horrible shootings in Newtown, CT everyone seems to be looking for something to blame. It’s the lack of mental health care and the stigma around seeking help in this country. It’s the easy access to guns. And of course, it’s the fault of the violent media.
The NRA jumped on the bandwagon to blame games, and now there’s a drive in a town near Newtown that is holding a game burning. There has been plenty of research over what violent games do to us. I’m not going to go into all the research, far smarter people than I have already done so.
Does this mean everyone should have violent games all the time? Absolutely not. And should there be concern about what children are consuming? Absolutely. But not just in times of national tragedy. And not by your state-federal-local governments. If you are concerned about what your children are playing, or if a game is appropriate, look into it. In the past I would have said to play the game. But you don’t even have to do that anymore. Just search for the game on YouTube and you can find all kinds of video of other people playing the games. Learn what the ratings on the front of the boxes mean. Go to a game store (as opposed to Amazon or Best Buy) and talk to the guy at the counter about what the game contains.
My brother and I played violent games when we were kids. My dad played them with us (often, he’d get frustrated at the 3D environments and give up. But he still played). My mom would take us to the store to buy us the game, and the guy behind the counter would point out the M rating and tell her what it contained so she could decide if it was right for us or not.
I feel like I’ve written this story in several formats since high school (where I did research papers on the topic). The answer is always the same. These games are not causing the horrifying behavior we see in the news. Parents should be concerned, but they should also educate themselves not throw around blame.
How about next time instead of a collect and destroy drive, just host an educational seminar.