This is a post that originally ran over on The Dadcade in a series set to help remove negative stigma about video games and kids. Click the link to read it there as well as the others.
I don’t know how we’ve been a semi legitimate dad centric video game site for over a year and not once brought it up sooner. Apologies. Thanks for being patient with us. I’m going to attempt to shine a light on the grey area that is this topic. Violence in video games, does it cause violence in kids? Well that really depends on who you ask…
If you ask me, I’m going to say no, but that may simply be my bias and the fact that I’ve been playing video games since I was 3 and never did I once murder anyone. If you ask Former Senator Leland Yee, he would most certainly say “Yes” and then go back to smuggling weapons. If you ask most people they wouldn’t have an answer for you. And that’s fine, even studies trying to connect the two topics can’t really agree on an answer. Supporters in the “Video games cause violence” camp have studies as well as the “Video games don’t cause violence” supporters having theirs. Really when it comes down to it, this is a topic that isn’t going to get figured out anytime soon. More data and testing is required over a lengthy time, because science is really just a numbers game and we don’t have the numbers yet.
New things often get accused of being the final straw the ripped the delicate fabric of our society. The world was going to hell in a very sexy hand basket in the 50’s with rock and roll. Dime Store comics add kids running around pretending to be Noir detectives or gunslinging cowboys. N.W.A. was single handedly turning kids into crack slinging bangers in the late 80’s. I was six and far too young to be standing on corners at all hours of the night though. These things didn’t happen. We are still here as are Comics, Rock and Roll, Rap, Rambo, Cellphones, TV, Caillou and thousands of other things destined to destroy the psyche of our children. The same goes for video games.
So what, as parents can we do? For one, use some common sense. If you wouldn’t let you kid watch Kill Bill, common sense says you shouldn’t let them play Call of Duty, yes even if “Every other kid in class is playing it.” If you don’t want your kids playing violent games because you’re unsure of the long term, don’t buy it for them. They card you just like any other age restricted piece of content, trust me they can’t buy it on their own. If you are unsure if a game is age appropriate, look at the ESRB or look at our own “Can my kids play it” series where we cover appropriate games for kids. And most importantly talk to your kids. Please just don’t tell them “No” when they ask for a game that may be out of their age range. Explain why you don’t want them to play it, provide context. As parents it’s our jobs to help guide, nurture, and teach them about the world, all of it. Good and bad. Violence is scary and it can be tough to talk about, scarier if they experience it with no context or warning. Our species has experienced violence since it’s been around and will for some time. Talk about it. Lastly don’t just avoid video games all together. The industry has grown leaps and bounds over the years and is a unique medium for teaching, experiences, and art. Video games can be of great value if we take an interest with our kids and guide them.
Any questions? Thoughts? Let us know in the comments or drop us an email. We’d love to hear from you. And for a more cut and dry breakdown click here.