Are Video Games Ruining Today’s Children?

Twice this week I have heard sermons about video games, and it’s really annoying me. One of the sermons wasn’t TOO bad. He gave some good reasons on why video games can be hurtful, and they can be, but I didn’t like that he listed the bad things about video games and talked about them for 40 minutes, then listed the good things about video games and spent about 2 minutes on them. He admitted to not being a video game player himself, which was pretty evident because a lot of his facts were incorrect too. The second sermon though was ridiculous.

The guy on the second sermon said that every murder committed by someone younger than 21 years old over the past 15 years killed that person because of video games. What was his proof? He says every one of those murderers has played a video game before. Yeah so? Just about every PERSON under 21 years old has played a video game so of course every murderer under 21 has played one. Everyone under 21 years old has also breathed. No breathing kids! But that’s not all he went even further and said that a lot of board games are evil too.

The two they mentioned were Monopoly because they said it teaches you be greedy, and Risk because anyone who plays Risk learns to WANT TO RULE THE WORLD! I’m not making this stuff up. I guess Battleship is a no no too because you’ll start blowing up ships, don’t play Clue either or you’ll hit people with candlesticks in the conservatory, and definitely don’t let your kids play Operation or they’ll go around pulling out people’s funny bones.

Now the second sermon was just absurd so I ignored it, the first one though is the one I want to talk about. Really his two main points were that A) people spend too much time playing video games and B) some games are not appropriate for the people playing them. I completely agree with both points being a bad thing.

But this isn’t a “video games are evil” thing; this is a bad parenting thing. Let’s face it kids or teenagers are not responsible, that’s why they live with their parents. If you let a kid play whatever they want for however long they want then they will. If a kid shouldn’t play a game for six hours straight, then their parent should tell them not to. If a game is inappropriate for a kid or teenager, then their parents shouldn’t let them have the game. That’s why there is a rating on every game.

But the truth is most parents don’t want to deal with their kids they just sit them in front of the TV to entertain them. Then when that same kid DOES get in trouble, probably because they get no attention from their parents, their parents blame the video games, when they were the ones that let them play it! If you have a kid that plays video games you should monitor them to make sure they don’t play too long, if the parent isn’t home to monitor them, then here’s an idea, don’t get them a video games system. If they are going to a friend’s house and playing inappropriate games then don’t let them go to that friend’s house.

It especially peeved me when people blamed Columbine on video games. The students who shot up the school played first person shooters so that must be why they did it! Wrong. The truth is the kids who shot students at Columbine played first person shooters because they already liked guns; they didn’t like guns because they played first person shooters. These kids were already troubled to begin with.

As a parent your kid should know that video games aren’t real, you should teach them that shooting people is bad. I admit that some games are bad, Grand Theft Auto should not be played by anyone under 21 and even then you might be better off staying away from it, but anyone who sees a character on a video game shoot someone else and then thinks, “oh that’s pretty cool” either hasn’t been taught very well or is messed up in the head, it has nothing to do with video games.

I also object to the second sermon saying that the worst type of video game is the role-playing game because role-playing games are evil. A lot of people say this and yet I’ve never heard a good reason that they pick out role-playing games in particular. Other than puzzle games, like Tetris, and sports games, role-playing games are the LEAST evil for several reasons:
1. Nobody imitates role-playing games – You hear some cases where idiots shoot someone because of a first person shooter, or run their car into something because of a racing game, or suplex their buddy because of a wrestling game.

I think there was even one case where someone injured another person by jumping on their head like Mario! But I have NEVER heard of a case where someone was injured imitating a role-playing game. Have any kids gotten injured trying to kill the local dragon? Have any kids ever gotten lost because they went to the

Forbidden

Forest

? Has a kid ever made an elixir called Phenix Down that brings people back to life? No, because role-playing games are so fantastical that nobody, even the really really stupid people ever mistake them for reality.

2. Less violence – In a role-playing game you get a screen where on one side you have pictures of your heroes and on the other side are your villains, you choose to attack and there is some graphic or sound effect to suggest you attacked them, but you don’t see it happen. Your player doesn’t rip off someone’s arms like in God of War. Your player doesn’t pull out someone’s spine like in Mortal Kombat, you don’t see the villains blow up like in Grand Theft Auto and you never ever see any blood.
3. It’s the most educational – I know what you’re thinking; a game is educational, yeah right! It’s true.

In role-playing games you have very long and complicated stories and character development; it’s more like an interactive movie than like the action adventure games. This means there is lots and lots of reading. I started playing role-playing games when I was probably 7 or 8 and I honestly learned more vocabulary words from playing role-playing games than I did from going to school.

4. Language – In about 98% of the role-playing games I’ve played there was no swearing at all, not even words like “crap” and “damn” that are pretty much acceptable in society today.

5. Puzzles – Often in video games there are several puzzles that you have to face which actually challenge the mind, rather than just having you shoot the same evil creature 23,341,534 times in a row like first person shooters or just punch over and over again in fighting games.

The truth is I’ve grown up as a huge video gaming fan; I even got a degree in 3D Animation so I could make video games. I even admit that I used to play video games too much, I nearly failed high school, probably because of video games and yet I’ve never shot anyone, I’ve never even been in a fight before in my life, I don’t swear and I don’t drink or whatever else you see in video games. I was raised to understand that video games are fake and even though my Mom was a single mom raising four kids she somehow found a way to make sure I wasn’t playing bad video games, watching bad movies and listening to bad music. So please, adults, stop blaming video games for all the evil in the world and try monitoring your kids activities.

You should know your kids better than anyone, if you think they’ll imitate something in a video game, don’t let them play it. If you think they aren’t old enough for a certain game, don’t let them play it. Or here is a real crazy idea. Don’t get them a video game system if you don’t think they can handle it. I’m not saying every kid should be able to play video games. I just think video games aren’t a problem if parents did a little bit more parenting and a lot less blaming. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to roll up in a ball and go pounce on stuff. What can I say; I played too much Sonic the Hedgehog as a kid.

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