Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm sure many of you have heard about the shootings in Norway recently, and more importantly for the purpose of this article how the shooter is laying blame on video games including WoW.   I seriously don't see how individuals who try and pass blame onto games can be considered anything but cracked, yet we see one of Norway's largest retailers pulling several games off their shelves in response.  I want to pose a question, can we really blame video games for violence in society?

I don't agree with politicians and individuals passing the buck to the gaming industry, there is a body in place for rating game content just as there are with films, yet many countries have absolutely no regulations in place requiring retailers to conform with those ratings when selling games to individuals similar to how they have to when selling movies.  The ESRB places all the tools into the hands of government to regulate the gaming industry to help inform consumers yet it's largely ignored.  Games are a work of fiction designed for entertainment, for a person to say "WoW inspired me to do it!" is no different than when Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon back in December of 1980, claiming to be inspired by "The Catcher in the Rye".  There are and will always be a few nut jobs out there, it's unavoidable, but falling for this media driven cock and bull stories of how "violent video games" made them do what ever it is they did is preposterous.   Jack the Ripper never played violent video games, odds are neither did Ted Bundy, Lee Harvey Oswald, or John Wilkes Booth.

If you want to claim that video games desensitize children to violence, then fine claim it but don't go out and buy your 8 year old a copy of Call of Duty, or Grand Theft Auto.  Just because they are games, it doesn't remove your obligation as a responsible parent.  As a good general rule if your kids want a game, do a bit of research Youtube has hundreds if not thousands of videos of game play from most popular to some of the more obscure titles, and between this research and the ESRB rating determine if it's content that you feel is appropriate for your child to be playing.  If not then simply don't buy it for them and try and do the best you can to avoid letting them obtain access to it.  Sure you can't be 100% positive they won't have access to these games, but then again you won't always be able to ensure with 100% accuracy they won't have access to drugs, alcohol, or pre-marital sex either unless you lock them in the basement and never let them out.  You don't and can't be expected to be able to supervise your 24/7 365 all you can do is the best you can and hope your child respects you and your wishes enough that you can trust them to make good decisions during those times you can't look over their shoulders.

In short people need to stop looking for scape goats for anti-social behavior,  the fault can almost always be firmly laid on either the individual committing the acts either through some mental instability or some grandiose illusion they are doing a great justice to society, and in the case of minors on the parents for not properly monitoring the various types of media content exposed too, or taking the time to show enough interest in their children to make sure they aren't falling in with the "wrong" crowd causing them to fall to peer pressure and delusions of a need to fall in step with the "wrong" crowd.

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