Editorial by: Steven Ziegler
Just a few days ago, I was reading a local magazine at school (Is that what you go to school for? Reading magazines? Kids these days... - Editor). It featured an editorial based upon violent video games and how they affect children. While the information they provided was true, I had another opinion that got me fired up. What you quite often hear is parents/adults discussing this problem... now it’s a teenager's turn, and don’t worry, it’s fair.
Since Doom was released for the PC back in 1993, violence featured in video games has always been a growing concern. Since Postal was released, “senseless“ violence was further featured in video games quite frequently. Games such as GTA, Manhunt, and others leap forth with the idea of killing in gameplay. While these games are great examples, First Person Shooters have you complete nothing but taking out the enemy. Even if FPS games aren’t the main focus of lawsuits, they still feature killing at your finger tips.
And yes, the situation came to the point where parents like to sue game companies such as Rockstar for placing content that could blur the sense of reality of their children. It's undeniable that many deaths have been placed together with such games as the Grand Theft Auto and Doom series, but unfortunately, the parents are the only ones to blame.
Game vendors across the world are also participating in the prevention of selling M rated video games to teens and children. Walmart, EB Games, Gamestop are just a few of them. Or anyway that's what they say they do. Last Saturday I headed over to the local Walmart to buy Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield (rated M). I picked it up and checked it out. The cashier didn’t ask how old I am, she didn’t check for an ID, nothing. This is how easy it is to get ‘inappropriate’ material, but I'm not complaining.
The only true way to cease access to violent video games is to not let the people you care about play the games they're not supposed to be playing. It’s as simple as that. Companies such as Rockstar are only practicing the first amendment; freedom of speech, religion, press, peaceful assembly, and to petition the government. To sue the companies due to practicing their freedoms, is an unthoughtful judgment that doesn’t help anyone.
Not too long ago, two young teens stood by a local highway and unleashed rounds of ammo from assault rifles. From this incident, they proceeded to kill one person, and injure one. When the two were found and arrested, they were questioned why someone would want to kill innocent people, only to find out that they had been playing Grand Theft Auto 3.
ESRB rates games according to the content each game has to offer. ‘E’ means its family friendly, “T” has some suggestive content, “M” has content only suitable for mature audiences. With that said, ESRB can only go thus far. That is where the parent(s) have to step in and decide whether the game is appropriate for the child.
To let your children play inappropriate games, with you willingly knowing you don’t want him/her playing, then turning around and suing game companies is unbelievable, and you should be the one to be punished. There are some concepts of game titles I do not agree with myself, that is why I simply don’t buy the product. Not buying is the simplest and most efficient way of proving your point.
So you see, the parents have to step in and take action. If they don’t want young children playing violent games, don’t allow them to. And there are many other ways to prove your point apart of suing the publisher, such as not buying the game in first place. Violence featured in video games is at the same level of ‘R’ rated movies, except video games feature interactive content.
I am all for saving lives. If it means keeping your kids from playing video games, why not? Just don’t sue the game companies, please.