Parents: Stop video game violence

Published 12:50 pm Monday, August 1, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Experts first criticized video games because they kept children inside their homes, in front of the television and away from outside activities.
Those same experts came to the conclusion later that the same video games, which were now more advanced, were one of the main causes of obesity in children and teenagers.
Now experts are blaming the graphic violence and gratuitous sexual acts portrayed in some games for the actions of children and teenagers today.
In a way this is true, but as with anything a child does, some of the blame needs to be placed on the parents. The software companies that develop these video games don't purchase them for these children or give them away. The children's parents buy them with utter disregard to the parental advisory printed on the package or allow their children to play them with no care.
There's nothing wrong with a company trying to make money, even if it is on smut; it's a free country. The company has that right and we as citizens have the right not to purchase their products.
All this has been brought up in the media once again after the creators of the controversial Grand Theft Auto video game series, which is now available on most game systems, had its San Andreas game pulled off the shelves by the video game industry last week because of explicit sexual content, which can be unlocked with cheat codes that can be downloaded off the Internet.
The best-selling video game, which is centered on gang violence, was pulled from the shelves and labeled with a more restrictive "Adults Only" rating. The producers of Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar Games, stated that production of the graphic version has since ceased and it is now manufacturing a version without the sexual content.
The video game industry made the right move by "booking" Rockstar for the explicit game. As with children, Rockstar continued to produce the game until they were caught.
It's up to parents to prohibit their children from playing such games and not purchase it for them. If the child pulls a fast one and gets the game by some other means take it away and be firm. That's your job.
Some parents today are pushovers, but they have to remember that keeping children away from these types of games is for their own good. They may not thank you now, maybe not even later, but they sure would blame you if they were put behind bars.
Being an avid video game player, violent games have never been of interest to me. Adventure and sports games have always been more attractive. Now there's more peer pressure for children and they feel that not being a part of the "in" crowd will make them appear not as popular. That's a price worth paying.
So take a stand as a parent and prevent your child from playing such filth. Don't ban them from their video game system(s) – just monitor what they are playing.
If an adult wants to support these manufacturers by purchasing these games then that's their choice. That's why it's been restricted to adults.
Come to think of it, some of these game may not be suitable for adults as well.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. His column appears weekly.

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