Rage Lionheart penned an editorial on the choices parents make to keep violent games out of the hands of children, in basic terms. I also believe parents have that responsibility, however, the effect of video games in the life of a child is not due to violent content. Allow me to explain. Games are devices, but have no effect on a child who is taught basic principles of behavior, self esteem and responsibility. Admittedly, games when I was young were seldom violent. At least not as violent as games tend to be these days. I recall Street Fighter 2 raised eyebrows in the early 90s. Mortal Kombat blew the lid open.
Like rap music in the early 90s, video games were blamed on presenting violence to “young, impressionable” kids all over the country. But was it causing violence? I say no. The key word is “impressionable.” As a parent, you instill the virtues upon the child filling the void that violent devices, such as games, would otherwise fill. I feel this may be hollow, but I use myself and my brother crazyblazian as examples. We played all the fighting games. I am 8 years his senior. The only game I was forbidden to play with him was Mortal Kombat…but tell me brothers weren’t going to find a way to compete in that game… The difference is that we were taught love, were cared for, nourished and respected. At the same time, we were responsible and held accountable. Thats the adult way of saying the house could be strict if such a tactic was necessary. Video games were a hobby and nothing more. Our parents did well – the void was filled. There was no room. Well I won’t lie, some bumps may or may not have occurred when we played WWF (Tombstone anyone?). All in good fun.
Video games should come with warnings because parents should have information, but if you treat your children the way they should be treated you needn’t worry. I don’t even like firearms, but I’ll play some COD. I took a boxing class once. The thought of hurting my friends, or someone I didn’t know was unsavory. Occasionally I have the urge to mass my inner “hado” and unleash it upon those who piss me off. Without success, of course.
My opinion? Energies are best spent caring for your child and trust your lessons to help them understand that video games are just that – games. When they grow up, one day they will recognize your trust and return it in spades.