This isn’t news, this isn’t even surprising and yet one of the largest websites in South Africa decided that this story is what they will run a poll about on their front page.
To catch you up News24.com, South Africa’s biggest online news website, has a poll running currently on whether or not gaming makes teens more violent and unsurprisingly the majority are voting yes.
However what I would like to know is how many of the 3087 people who have voted yes so far have actually read the article that the poll is based on?
Not the headline of the article but the actual article itself. Let me quote the first paragraph
Teenage boys who repeatedly watch vicious TV programmes, films and video games are likelier to become insensitive to violence, according to a study that claims new insights into this hotly debated field.
So in real terms, teenage boys who view highly violent scenes will become insensitive to these violent themes. Not only is that a basic human reaction but all these violent films, programmes and games have age restrictions stating that teenagers shouldn’t be watching or playing them.
Not only that but the study itself states 3 different types of media and yet News24 decides to focus on the gaming aspect in the headline which I find to be irresponsible.
And to top it all off the third option in the poll is â€œOnly if they have mental problemsâ€â€¦ I have no answer to that.
Okay let me explain something simple to you right now, if I show you an image of exceptional violence, pornography, child abuse or animal cruelty right now it will shock you. If I show you the same or similar picture in 5 minutes it will shock you a little less and by the time the day is out it will not shock you much anymore. Humans are really good at acclimatising to their surroundings and while these images are never accepted we do become desensitised to them. Just remember how you ignored the last hobo or bum on the side of the road if you don’t believe me.
This isn’t a good thing, which is why films, TV programmes and games have age restrictions. If you’re a parent who thinks it’s okay to let your 12 year old child play GTA then you are a bad parent, they cannot comprehend the mature themes of the title and you are negatively effecting their lives by allowing them to play. This isn’t the game developers fault it is yours.
If you are worried about your kids becoming violent and getting into trouble then may I recommend keeping them out of organised sport, seeing as that not a weekend goes past without some rugby player moering another in some level of the sport.
Games do not make violent kids they, like any other media, can exacerbateÂ a situation but that is all. It is a parents responsibility to ensure their kids are abiding by age restrictions and advice given by film makers and developers.
Last Updated: October 19, 2010