When some notable personality makes a comment regarding video games and related teen violence, everyone listens. A network news anchor makes a statement that associates video game violence with the latest teen crime and it sticks. A video game gets branded for it’s “excessive” violence and the entire industry takes the rap.
Negative statements like these against a new technology that already irks the average parent sticks because we, as adults and a general public, are more sheep than we are lion. We prefer to follow more than lead. We crave the direction of the wise and the instruction of the learned. We need someone to take our leash and lead us to water.
In general, people listen to these baseless accusations because they simply cannot cope with the success of the video game. The video game has taken charge of their teenager. Their teen now strives for something other than that which the parent feels is best for them. They prefer to spend their time pushing buttons and chasing bad guys then they do grabbing some guy around the legs and jerking him down to the ground or running so hard they stumble from heat exhaustion or jumping so much and so high they are constantly suffering from strained leg muscles. They want to play the games, they want to beat the monster, they want to capture the bad guy. That’s all, they want to complete the quest, they just want to do it on screen.
Video games are indeed good for our teens. They are not just acceptable; they are not simply to be tolerated, they are absolutely good. Typically, if you do it right, video games will keep your teen off the streets, hopefully further away from drugs, and in your house at night. Is that all bad? If your teen has the right video games he or she is less likely to wander around the house mumbling “There’s nothing to do.”
I believe video games are so good for teens that I think it is worth the regular investment of $50 or $60 every six to eight weeks to get a new game disk for your teen. It doesn’t matter if the first one has been conquered yet or not, just go get one. Ask at the counter what game is the most popular and get it. Go ahead and exercise some parental control if you feel you must and select only the one you think is best for your teen, but get the game none the less.
Pay attention to what your teen is playing and buy games in that genre. Don’t get so uptight about adult themes either. This is cartoons folks, drawings, graphics, animation; not life. Put a little bit of trust in your own child’s ability to handle fantasy. They’ll be just fine.
We never fret about our children becoming comedians if they watch a lot of comedy, or becoming a cowboy if they watch John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, or a superhero if they read comics about the X-Men, or cooks if they watch cooking shows, why do we think they will become violent if they watch violence? Why do we, as sheep, force the connection between video violence and out of control teens but not acknowledge any of the other clearly present potential relationships? I will tell you why, because none of the popular talk show hosts have made that connection yet.
As my own children were growing up I would let them watch all the horror movies they wanted to. It never once concerned me that they might themselves become monsters. You know what, neither one of them is a monster today. How did I accomplish that? How could I possibly have prevented my teens from becoming Frankenstein when I freely allowed them to watch the movie? Because, bring the child up properly and they will not let you down.
I would much rather have my teen in his or her bedroom playing the latest violent war video game then I would have that same teen hanging around on some street corner sipping pop, smoking cigarettes, or worse yet dealing dope, and just waiting for something strange and new to happen. Quit forcing your round teenager into your square hole of a model teen. Your teen is who he or she is. Be there for them but let them experience what must be experienced. You just may be surprised.