A few days ago when my 9 year old brother found out that the newest version of GTA was release he begged my dad and did everything he could to get dad to buy it for him. Naturally, my dad agreed. That afternoon, having nothing else to do, I turned to watching him play GTA IV on his beloved ps3. Being an occasional video game player, I did have a gist of what GTA was about; shooting, stealing, violence etc, but I wasn’t prepared for what was happening in the game when I watched him play.
At first I thought it would be like CoD, where you had an army and you kill people that are assigned to you as enemies, on GTA though, killing of harmless pedestrians and stealing their car was considered applaudable. I watched as my brother furiously tapped the buttons on the remote yelling and screaming at virtually no one, and I realized that this was all going to have a very negative effect on his 9 year old brain. The more I watched the more concerned I got as the game contained foul language and people were sent on ‘Missions’ to stripper clubs to kill the women and/or their bosses. I’m sure my brother doesn’t even know what a stripper is, but knowing today’s generation, it wouldn’t take him long enough to figure it out.
Watching him play, I realized that this isn’t what parents should be letting their children play. There’s a reason why there is an age restriction label on these games, and most of them are rated M or 18+. A child’s brain is still in the developing process in this tender age and exposing him to this kind of violence is going to effect his personality.
Though many may argue that not all people who play such violent games would turn to violence in real life; and I agree with them (my brother wouldn’t hurt an ant), but you never know which one of those children might grow up to be a serial killer or robber or whatever their childhood games have encouraged them to be. Why take the chance?
There are many articles on the internet everyday debating over how damaging or beneficial violent games are, and post probably there won’t be a law banning video games anytime in the future, but what we all can play our part, at least in our homes, to limit our kids exposure to these games. Just like we demonize certain pop-stars because we know the effect that they can have on our kids, we should also pay attention to the kind of games they are playing since they can have the same or even stronger effect on them. Instead of letting them grow up as virtual killers or robbers, let them play more mind, problem solving games, there are many options to choose from if one really tries to.
Here are some of the articles that point out the negative effects of video games: