How Dare Parents Assume Kids are Not Affected by Video Games

If you are a parent you might think your children are not affected by video games. However this would be a dangerous and ignorant assumption.

 

How dare we think kids are any less intelligent than ourselves.

Did you cry when Bambi’s mother died? What about Old Yeller? Maybe you cried during the ABC television series LOST, or were angered by its ending. The point is you experienced thoughts and emotions based on what you saw or read, and none of these things were “Real”. So why would you think that kids don’t also experience the same thing and instead offer the excuse that kids know video games are not real?

Innocence is shattered at some point in everyones life. It is a funny thing though… when a kids goldfish dies their parent might even try to hide the dead fish and replace it, but freely allow their child to “kill” on a video game.

Chainsaw Kill by Michael_Spencer.

photo source

For the most part we do not “kill” each other in video games, but rather the targets are computer characters. Yet there are many games when the opponent is played by a real person, a family member, friend, or even a person on-line some place else.

Kids are desensitized to violence and death through video games. We would be foolish to think other wise. It is not like you witness one death of a computer character and instantly turn into a murderer, this would be far fetched, but on some level desensitization occurs. A vulnerable child, one with mental issues, or a fractured self esteem, is the one for whom playing these games can be a concern.

Indeed they learn that power is gained in a certain way. They learn subconsciously that in the game,when they behave a certain way, they “win”. For a few kids (and even adults) this could grow into a problem.

Halo 3 by skalas2.

photo source

Perhaps it is a natural thing. Years ago story telling, and reenactment, was the most basic form of entertainment. Stories of “the hunt” were offered up as evening entertainment around the campfire but were also very important offerings, they taught survival skills and lessons. As such it may be human nature to be “changed” by listening to stories, or watching things.

Certainly the more real the game the more real the feelings.  Pac Man probably isn’t going to stir the same feelings as Halo 3.

I cannot say for sure if my love and compassion for animals started when I read “Bambi” or not, but it certainly know that I was affected by it. I know it made me cry. I know I cried during LOST, and I won’t even watch Old Yeller because I know that will make me cry too.

 

So if you are one of these types who assumes your kids are not affected by video games, think again. I am not suggesting the games are bad, or evil, they are what they are. As a parent it is your job to watch your kids closely and be sure they are developing with all their needs met, not just their need to kill things in video games.

Related Reading

LOST:  The Finale

Bambi:  Is Hunting Cruel?

Talking to Kids about Death

What to do when a Childs Pet Dies

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21 Comments
  1. Posted May 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Hello

    Once again a very good article. I totally understand your view and agree with you and by the way i also cried when i watched bambi!

    Emmie x

  2. Posted May 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    This is an interesting article. I can see how video games can affect children. My friend’s children play a lot of video games, but they are not too dangerous.

  3. Posted May 25, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    i do not believe in censorship in anyway from a government level. but i do believe a parent has the responsibility to watch what their children are doing.

    I am currently playing a game called red dead redemption where the main character can kill just about anyone he wants to. and killing animals is just a way to earn money. This would not be appropriate for a young girl or boy but I am sure there are thousands of 12 year olds all over the country currently discovering just how much fun it can be to shoot a horse and watch its rider fly helplessly into the dirt. (it really is fun) not to mention lassoing a prostitute and after hog tying her dragging her back to the rented room where all though I have found no way to get any sex out of her i did inadvertently slit her throat much to my horror.

    video games have developed to the point where they allow a participatory experience in a movie like setting. now we have millions and millions of people who play grand theft auto and very few incidents of actual violence associated with them if any at all. the problem is sick people are drawn more to these games it is no surprise that the columbine shooters played doom. but my guess is the deputies who finally ended the spree probably played also.

  4. Posted May 25, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Video games certainly do influence young minds.
    You only have too look at the recent crimes committed by many children. A common link is the unsupervised playing of these very violent games, which influence and distort there true reality, of what is Right and what is wrong. Excellent article.

  5. Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I think it is all a part of a modern mind set that is moving farther and farther from the touch-stone reality of growing food from the earth, making things with our hands, and learning to read notes so we can play music. I listened to a group of teacher one day who were shocked by how much money their parents/family members spent on animals. When we cease to see living creatures as having emotions, having rights, being able to feel pain we also cease to feel for other humans. There are games that involve healing, caring and building. They are just harder to find and less sensational than the others. Its the same old story: penny dreadfuls or “improving”stories…I promise, the penny dreadfuls will win every time.

  6. Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I think that you are absolutely spot on this issue, and I was rather apalled at Brad’s casual comment about killing horses and hog tying a prostitute. Thinking about millions of 12 year old boys playing these games makes me wonder what will happen when this generation grows up. Video games are getting more realistic and more violent and depraved all the time. I don’t think that these games are good for the kids to let off steam – they are desensitizing kids to violence and destroying their sense of empathy. I’ll stop now.

  7. Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Agree! What we see, hear, and read directly effect how we feel about things. It is like sticking your head in the sand if you think that video games and t.v do not impact the way your child learns and views the world.

  8. Posted May 25, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    This is an eye-opener for those who allow their kids to play video games for longer hours and that too without supervision.

  9. Posted May 26, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Good article… Video games are mostly not good for the young children. No one can deny that.

  10. Posted May 27, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    delete my comment really?

  11. Posted May 28, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Interesting article but I have never really played anything other than Farmville and I have stopped that, my children played when they were younger but we watched what they played and for how long. I guess I am out of the loop this time.

  12. Posted May 28, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    caigewa

    I have only deleted one comment on this link and it was unrealated, somebody posted a link advertising Gogi Berry juice or something like that. Go ahead and repost your comment, but if its spam.. then I do delete.

  13. Posted May 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    How can you tell a child to stop when the parents are setting the worst example themselves stuck on violent video games themselves.

  14. Posted May 29, 2010 at 3:40 am

    i play halo im a kid and it doesn’t affect me at all

  15. Posted May 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I think it does effect children and makes them more callous. What a child sees and hears shapes his personality.

  16. Posted May 31, 2010 at 11:44 am

    this article reminds of 2 things (both from tv), the first being from a news/reporting show, anyways two teen boys played grand theift auto, they then got a hold of a sniper/rifle and killed someone in a moving car as a DIRECT affect of the game.

    THe second is something that is on not that long ago (presented by Jo Frost) she tested young lads with video games, one group played call of duty and the other group played a football game. After she let them play each child was sent to a room (one at a time) and the man would ask questios about the game but he would known down a tub of pencils each time.
    Most of the lads who played the war game looked and didn’t bother to pick up the pencils but most of the lads who had played the football game picked up the pencils.

    That experiment shows a DIRECT affect video games has on a childs mind.

  17. video gamer lover
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    umm…. i play video games and it dont affect me, im a child, but! sometimes it will go out of hand…some people play it to get there minds of of everyday stuff! i like this article but it is way to much aginst it, u dident even say games that kill! i think u should be more aginst war games with blood, gore, and cussing nonstop.

  18. Posted May 31, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I have to say, that this is exaggerated. Yea, it affects them a little, but I personally play video games when I get the urge to kill someone. Whether that urge originated from video games or not, when I’m stressed I want to kill something just to release it. So, I turn to video games. No harm done.

    BTW, I’m talking Mario jumping on Goombas, I don’t play XBox 360 First Person Shooter crap.

    http://gameolosophy.com/games/sports/total-club-manager/five-reasons-id-rather-play-retro/

  19. Posted June 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing, valuable information.

  20. IronyTaken
    Posted June 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    There is a difference between feeling emotions and acting on something.
    Just because I get mad at someone for killing me in a game doesn’t mean I am going to go out and kill them in real life.
    Those who do kill others for losing in a video game already have mental issues that were present long before they even played video games.

    Games do not emulate the true effects of shooting a gun, killing a person or any other violent act.

    There has been no credible scientific research that shows a direct link between video games causing kids to become more violent.

    The examples people use like the Columbine School shooting had nothing to do with video games, the kids had mental issues and their violence stemmed from something completely different.

    What are you trying to argue about in regards to rape?
    Where is the link to actual rape and video games which is the main topic here.

  21. John
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 12:35 am

    I AM A KID

    Take it from me, an 11 year old. I AM ONE. Kids arent as mentally unstable as kids say, well some of them. Take Left For Dead 2 for example, i tried the demo, and my mom has’nt seen me grow any more violent! I understand the game is a game, and nothing more, its NOT REAL.
    For all of you parents, of course you dont just give a kid a game and ignore its Rated “M”, but watch us, do we change? many kids who are healthy, mentally, tend to stay this way, even in video games, i dont think of violent “M” games to ruin me, but i chooses them to get away from whats possible, to run from reality, but at the same time except what a game is. A game for me is to channel my thoughts and get creative, to do the impossible, to have fun.

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