By Brooke Strickland
Grandma is babysitting her 8-year old grandson. She’s on the living room couch enjoying her favorite television show and the grandson is in the other room playing video games – Grand Theft Auto IV to be exact. This game is known for its glorification of stealing, raping, killing, and destroying everything that the player comes into contact with.
Players are encouraged to kill other people. They are encouraged to steal and plunder. An 8-year old playing this type of game is appalling, but not uncommon. There are kids all over the world that are playing these types of games and are being trained to kill at such a young, moldable age. The 8-year old boy takes a break from the game, finds a gun in his grandma’s home, points it at her, and shoots. She is shot within a 3 or 4 foot distance and dies instantly. This 8-year old little boy is now a murderer. (1)
Media will debate the obvious question of why there was a loaded gun within arm’s reach of an 8-year old boy. That is an obvious question. But, let’s talk about the other obvious issue: why is an 8-year old boy being allowed to play an visibly violent video game? A child isn’t born knowing how to pick up a gun and use it. Children are learning how to use violent weapons by practicing with video games. Sure, you can argue that the weapons in video games aren’t the same thing as real weapons, but with technology today, many video games are almost life-like. The images are graphic and gritty, and when you give your child access to a violent video game, you may be giving them the opportunity to learn how to operate and use tools of violence like guns or knives. Would you knowingly allow your child to hold and practice shooting a gun without supervision? Then don’t let them play video games that encourage these types of things.
The boy that shot his grandma claims that he thought the gun was a toy. This goes to show how the gaming world is blurring into reality. The boy is used to seeing “fake” guns on his game. He picked up a real gun, thinking it was a fake. He thought it would be fun to shoot at his grandma (why not? It’s what you do in the game), and boom! Grandma dies. This is such a tragic story of loss – not only for the grandmother’s loss of life, but for the loss of innocence of an 8 year old boy who is now living with murdering his grandma.
Video game violence and addiction to these types of games is very real. For more information on gaming and technology addiction, visit www.hooked-on-games.com.
1. Nelson, Shellie. “8-year-old shoots and kills his own grandmother.” WGAD.com. August 26, 2013. http://wqad.com/2013/08/26/8-year-old-shoots-and-kills-elderly-woman/ Accessed August 30, 2013.