The Violent Box

There has always been a huge debate on whether or not video games can cause children to become violent. Parents are concerned that with the increasing amount of bloodshed, killing, murder, and other adult content, their children are going to mimic what they are simulating. Parents should obviously be concerned about the welfare of their child and it’s great to know that a lot of them are so concerned that they’re voicing their opinion, but they’re voicing it in the wrong direction. Video games have gone under extensive scrutiny over the last decade and it has fueled countless behavioral studies of their effects on children and teenagers. You don’t have to take my opinion on it – it has been proven by science itself that video games do not make anyone violent.

You see, I realized something when I was playing video games yesterday. What scientists have discovered about their effect that is true, and I can attest to this, is video games can be reflective of an already violent personality. Games don’t make children want to kill people but if the child, teen, adult or whatever age the person is, if that person has a violent side to their personality it will be reflected in their video games. Does that mean we all have a part of us that’s violent if we enjoy playing Grand Theft Auto? Of course not. It’s just an outward expression of inward turmoil. Not everything is clear-cut and definable in terms of black and white. People who are violent don’t always play violent video games and people who aren’t violent might be some hardcore video gamers. The important thing to realize is small factors in life, such as a video game, are not the deciding factors in developing our personality.

Should this put you into a panic if you’re one of those people who play Grand Theft Auto just because it’s fun to kill people or because you love blowing things up? No – I don’t think you should panic unless you were also the kid who loved torturing frogs when they were younger. Some of us just love stylized violence and can appreciate video games for the fantasy world they present themselves as. It’s nice to escape the real world and simulate someone else’s for a while. You can relax because enjoying a violent video games is not going to lead to you going all “Virginia Tech”. Having an imagination is still a good things no matter what the news says. More than ninety-five percent of us can imagine anything and everything we want without being the kind of person who is going to take it out on someone else. Not only are we not that bitter but we aren’t that insane either. The frenzy and concern over video game violence needs to stop.

Parents, if you are so concerned about the welfare of your child perhaps you should just look at your behavior around them. Are you constantly fighting with your spouse? Are you naturally violent? I’m no rocket scientist but I’m going to tell you that there is your real problem. Your relationship with your children is for more an influence than any piece of pop culture. Spend more time with  your children and be involved. If you’re steering them in the right direction then they can play hours of video games and still have the right understanding of right and wrong.  I grew up playing video games all the time, no really, all the time. My parents were still highly involved in my life and while I’m a little bit twisted I still have enough rationality not to emulate something I see in a video game [unless we reach the apocalypse and I will know that Fallout 3 came to me as a training manual.]

Don’t use things in the media and other forces in life to blame poor parenting. If your child is developing into a monster it’s probably reflective of you, your genetic make-up and your style of child rearing. Movies, music and video games can be influential, sure. None of these things though are the sole cause of misbehavior. We develop our personality and find media that is best suited to our character. Goth kids aren’t the way they are because of the music they listen to. Goth kids are already mopey, depressed, uninspired, lost souls that need a sound to conform to their beliefs and metal does that best [that’s right Goths – you’re not original, you’re not fighting the system, you’re all the same and you should be embarrassed]. Does it mean that if you take the metal music away they will suddenly transform into a normal adolescents? Obviously not. No one can control what attracts them and what inspires them. We don’t have to search very hard to find something we deem beautiful. The sort of thing that inspires us to continue this journey of life. Be involved in the choices your child makes but let them develop into the person they want to be. Guide their ethics and give them morals, but remember in the end their choices will be their own and video games will have nothing to do with those choices.

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