It is hard to believe that kids have been playing video games as a regular part of their lives for more than 40 years now. In fact, today we see more than 97% of U.S. teens playing video games, many of which may be considered violent in varying degrees.
As a bored 13 year-old, I remember how exciting it was when the first commercial video game, Pong, was released in 1972. There was something inherently mind-numbing and at the same time quite challenging about moving a single paddle back-and-forth across the television screen in a never ending quest to slap the cyber ball, which was actually shaped like a square, to the other player so they could furiously move their paddle in a singularly responsive attempt to slap the cyber ball back across the screen. There was nothing violent associated with Pong, unless you think hitting a ball with cyber-paddles is an offense against puritan values.
Of course, the video gaming experience today is quite different that it was when I played Pong as an alternative to running around outside in the “fresh air”. Rather than cheering their child on as he or she slaps the cyber ball across the TV, parents are now asking whether the experience of violent video games such as Call of Duty, Alien:Isolation, Grand Theft Auto, Assassin’s Creed and the like is adversely influencing their kids behavior. In fact, blood and gore, intense violence, strong sexual content, and use of drugs are just a few of the phrases used by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in describing the content of several games in the Grand Theft Auto series.
Continue reading “December Issue Of The Month: Are violent video games making our kids violent?”