Gaming as a Dad

25 years of gaming now with son and daughter in tow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stop Blaming Video Games.

By: Geo Trax
   In wake of the tragic events of the Sandy Hook School shootings there has been a big push for new gun control laws to prevent this kind of violence.  Again there has been an out cry from the public as to what causes this kind of violence.  Once again video games are taking it on the chin as people point fingers at the video game industry.  Last Friday, Joe Biden had a meeting with the gaming industry to help them improve their image and look if they are cause of the problem.  Personally I don't feel it's an issue with the video game industry but the lack of knowledge from the older generation about video games.  

A Meeting of the Minds

Image Source.
    Christopher J. Ferguson, who attended the meeting, told Kotaku.com , "There were no arguments, and Biden noted that he was "agnostic" about whether violent video games can actually be linked to aggressive behavior." Ferguson went on to comment, "I think on one hand the vice president was sort of interested in, I guess what you might kinda call a fact-finding kind of thing, and curious to learn about the research from the researchers who were there, and on the other hand, I think he was inviting the industry to consider basically ways that it could improve its image among non-gamers."  Biden, as a non-gamer was keeping an open mind about video games however that wasn't the case for all in attendance.  


      Cheryl Olsen, psychiatrist and professor also part of the meeting was, once again pointed fingers at the gaming industry and not parental accountability. Olsen, as part of a push for more public awareness of video game content, suggested at the meeting that game leaders work to give parents more control over violent content in games, and publicize it when they do.   Cheryl news flash who do you think buys these games?  Parents, they buy them, they watch (or should be watching) their kids play and at any point and time can pull the plug on a game.  Not sure when kids took charge in this country but it's time for parents to grow a backbone again. Recently Yankee Candle Kid earned enough to have a television in his room and asked if his Wii could be moved into his room as well.  Guess what?  As the parent I can say, "No!"  Cheryl we have control already we as parents just need to exercise that control. 

Sporting Aggression

What Video Game is this?
Image Source
      Ultimately the meeting was more fact finding but why is the fact finding always about video games?  Why not one of the most violent activities we encourage our children to play, football.  This is a game at its core is about attacking the "enemy" in a physically aggressive way.  This is actual contact by people towards other people not just a simulation.  I'm not taking away from the skill of these players on the field or the sport of it but we have all seen how angry people get over a game they are watching and not actually playing.  What about soccer?  This sport inspires so much rage in people that people actually can die at these events.  I'm not going to go down the list of each sport but it does point to a violent nature of people and not necessarily the activity.

"Do you feel lucky? Well do ya punk?"

Guns are bad -
ignore the poster
    At least this time around they are talking about the violence on television and in the movies.  Although isn't it ironic that the Hollywood elite that are calling for gun control are the biggest offenders to the on screen violence?  Violence sells in this country, it always has and always will.  Zero Dark Thirty was the top movie this past weekend and by the way it was R rated for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language - just saying. 

Playing Doesn't Mean Doing

Easy to learn.
Hard to learn.
Have you played a first person shooter? Have you shot a gun?  I have done both.  It took my friend about five minutes to "teach me" how to shoot in Battlefield 3Now the same friend, ex-military, spent a whole day teaching me how to fire a hand gun.  Here is what I know: I was a hell of a lot more accurate with a controller verses an actual gun.  Video games can't teach you to shoot any more then they can teach you how to play football.  Stephen Colbert even commented on the absurd nature of video games causing violence, "And really, who among us doesn't look back and sigh when we think back to the good old days, when we all played SimCity and then immediately joined a gang of roving urban planners? The 90's were pretty weird." Making connections that video games make kids violent are people reaching for anything to point at but bad parenting as a reason for this violence  in our society.  This country will struggle to understand video games for years to come. My hope is at some point the image of video game will change and people will finally realize that they are just that games - a form of entertainment. 

By Geo Trax

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