Violent Game Debate Is A Non-Issue If Parents Did Their Jobs
Somebody really needs to explain this to me. I must be just plain obtuse.
A new study has come to light, providing the public with more evidence that violent video games can have a desensitizing effect.
The study focused on 30 teenage boys between the ages of 13 and 15; one group played violent games for three or more hours a day, while the other played for less than one hour. Researchers than tracked the attitudes and behaviors of the boys after playing Manhunt and Animaniacs; obviously, two distinctly different titles. The results showed that boys exposed to the violence were more stressed at night, and even had "feelings of sadness." The study suggests that continued exposure to violent games will cause participants to become desensitized to brutality.
Firstly, this study isn't necessary. We've seen a thousand others exactly like it over the years, as researchers have done the same thing with all forms of violent entertainment, including movies and music. Some of you who are old enough may remember studies from the 80s, when violent music lyrics were called into question (Twisted Sister's Dee Snider even went before Congress and gave a much-publicized speech). The result of that was the Parental Advisory label we see on some music now.
Look, we know we're supposed to protect young, developing minds from the barrage of badness the media constantly throws at them. It's hard to do, but we have to try. And we have to try because violence does have an impact during developing years; anyone who says otherwise is just being naive. But excuse me, I must be missing something: We already have the ESRB. Video games are rated. Games like Manhunt are clearly rated M for Mature; hence, restricted to 17 years of age and older. So what the hell were those aged 13-15 doing playing that game in the study? They shouldn't ever have that game, should they? The industry has taken appropriate strides so they won't have that game.
Ah, but once again we come to the crux of the issue, and it's one everyone wants to avoid because it's sacrilege to blame parents. We've reached a point in this society where we're simply not allowed to do that. Blame anything and everything; blame the developers, blame the publishers, blame the advertisers, blame the retailers, but God forbid, don't blame the parents. I mean, after all, they're the ones who must've bought a game like Manhunt for their 13, 14, or 15-year-old, right? The bottom line is that if parents simply did their jobs and acted like parents, there would be no violent game debate. There can't be until a study proves that violent games and media can have a significant and long-lasting impact on mature, fully grown adults. They're the intended audience for mature products!
I haven't seen such a study yet, have you? Why are these studies involving violent games and underage kids? The kids shouldn't be playing them; says so right on the box. So what is the point, please? We already know all this. How's about doing a study with parents? How about having one group where the parents let a kid play and do whatever he wants, and another group where the parents actually exercise some discipline?
Know what those results will be? 'cuz I do. In our heart of hearts, we all do.
5/10/2013 11:03:26 AM Ben Dutka