Picture from SciGuy with Eric Berger
Due to recent events and the fact that every news outlet is putting video games under a microscope, I thought it may be the right appropriate time to take a stand. I have read all over the internet the past few days that video games are evil and lead children to do unthinkable acts to their families and friends. I think that this is an excuse that many parents have begun to use to shield them from criticism.
I have grown up play video games, good ones, bad ones, violent ones, and non-violent ones. Not once in my life have I ever been in a situation where I thought to myself, how would I handle this if I was in a video game? Nor, have I imagined to myself that I want to go on a killing spree and beat random people with a bat, just because I was able to outrun the police when I did it in Grand Theft Auto. The reason that these thoughts have never crossed my mind isn’t just because I am a good person, but rather my parents raised me to know the difference between right and wrong. The problem with the children of today isn’t the video games, but rather the parenting that these kids are stuck with. Growing up, I played video games with my dad and my uncles every weekend and almost everyday during the summer. The difference was when the games stopped I had a mother and father to teach me the importance of being responsible for my actions. This is where the parenting skills of today are lacking, kids are expected to teach themselves and the parents rely on television and video games to raise their children. Sometimes, this happens because maybe it’s a single parent home or the parents are too young themselves to properly raise children. Whatever the case may be, there is something much deeper to the actions of these children, and blaming video games, music, or any other sort of “entertainment” is not the right move on the part of society. Instead of pointing the finger at these influences, maybe we should start at the center of every child’s life and that is the home environment.
The stance I am taking is not to say that every bad child is the result of bad parenting, but unlike some of the critics, I am not going to blanket blame on games and music alone. Some children are just sick, and no matter what the parents do nothing is going to fix that. Kids are going to do things that make us scratch our heads, but the things that have happened that past few days with the young man in Florida are not one of those things. These actions are not ever going to be forgiven no matter how much trouble these kids get in, or any result given out by a judge’s ruling. The blame may not fall fully on the shoulders of these parents, but they do deserve their fair share.
Video games have taught me many things throughout my life. They have taught me the importance of teamwork, accountability, helped build friendships, and even taught me how to play sports a little better. This is not to say that I have not developed some bad habits while playing them, like not eating right, letting my competitive side grow a little too much, and spending a ton of money on games and accessories. I have not and never plan on going out and reenacting something that I was able to do while playing a game. To me games are sometimes an escape of my real life and a way to enjoy not being me for a little bit, but never would I want to bring that world into the life that I live (unless of course, that means I can play quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers).
All joking aside, I hope that parents can take a notice that blaming video games, after the fact, is doing nothing to prevent these actions. If you think that your children are easily influenced by games and music, there is a very reasonable solution to prevent these things from happening. Don’t buy the games in the first place! Please pay attention to your kids, for the sake of the parents who actually make an effort with theirs.