Are Violent Video Games Worse for Children than Violent Movies?


grand theft

Growing up, one of the more popular video games around was a shooting game where you were a soldier charged with the responsibility of locating and killing Nazis. The fact that the villains were Nazis was a clear stunt by the game’s makers to disguise the mindless violence of their game.

Even as a youngster, I found the game very troubling. Whilst I have always hated Nazism, I didn’t feel comfortable with pointing a gun, pulling the trigger and killing. It might not be real, but the video game designers are fully aware that the person playing their game is meant to feel as if they are actually on a killing rampage.

Nothing I ever experienced from watching violent movies compared with the emotions of going on a video game shooting spree.

It’s even worse today. Nowadays, video games designers don’t bother with Nazi’s – they provide children with police and innocent bystanders as their targets instead:

Primary school pupils as young as six are re-enacting drug and rape scenes from Grand Theft Auto in the playground, a headteacher has warned.

Young children have been initiating games involving ‘simulating rape and sexual intercourse’ as well as having playground chats about ‘drug use’, according to Coed-y-Brain Primary School head Morian Morgan.

Staff at the school in Llanbradach, Caerphilly, blame the behaviour on the 18-rated and violent computer game series Grand Theft Auto, which sees players take on the role of criminals in America.

Latest instalment GTA V is thought to be one of the best-selling video games of all time, having sold more than 32 million copies worldwide.

A letter sent to parents said children were ‘acting out scenes from the game which include the strongest of sexual swear words’, ‘having conversations’ about sexual acts and ‘play acting extremely violent games that sometimes result in actual injury’.

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One Response to “Are Violent Video Games Worse for Children than Violent Movies?”

  1. Col Says:

    Nearly 20 years ago I wrote an undergraduate essay on violence in the media and its effect on children, in particular on the death of Jamie Bulger. Although I no longer have a copy of this dissertation to hand I remember arguing that blaming violent media for how children act misses the wider issues, particularly with regards the Bulger case where focusing on the media ignored the fact that at least one of the two boys responsible lived in a ‘dog eat dog’ environment. There was also only circumstantial evidence that they had actually watched the film.

    However- I think this have now moved on. Violent computer games offer a level of immersion in the violent world that no film ever does. Films are a largely passive activity whereas games are not. As a teacher of 6 – 7 years old it worries me when children tell me they played Grand Theft Auto at the weekend and something, as ICT coordinator for the school, need to do something about. I’m just not sure what!

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