Are Video Games Companies or Bad parenting to Blame? Or Is It Just Our Dark side? AKA My Id Told Me To Do It!
In 1998 a brand new games company appeared onto our games consoles and brought us amazing but controversial games such as Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City, Manhunt and most recently Red Dead Redemption. On January 2005 a young girl was born into my family and on July 24th 2010 my now six year old niece asked me why she couldn’t play Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
My answer was a straightforward, “it isn’t for children, only adults.” My answer quickly got me thinking about my 3rd year dissertation on video games and had me wondering why there so many angry parents in the news protesting certain video games when they could simply tell their children “No”.
As an aunt and one day a possible parent I believe that it is the parents or grownups; responsibility to keep inappropriate material away from their children/ children in their care.
It is clear that companies do take the necessary precautions by labelling their products if they have unsuitable materials which should not be seen or hear by the under aged.
So why is it that every year there is a news story which sparks a massive moral panic within our already panicky society?
Earlier this year (2010) there was a very horrifying story about a 16 year old Italian teenager who stabbed his father over a game of FIFA 09. The news websites said that the attack was after the father gave his son advice on how to improve his performance in the football (soccer) game.
What is shocking about this incident is the fact that it wasn’t a violent video game which provoked his attack as previous news stories have voiced. This was simply a sports video game. The teen’s mother even said in the article. “I bought the FIFA game because I didn’t want my son to play violent games.”
This story, to me, simply links seamlessly into the’ oh so familiar’ territory of video games causing aggression in teenagers and children. If you have ever played a video game then you wouldn’t be a stranger to how frustrating games can become, especially when you are losing. But to suggest that violent video games are the cause of aggression in children is a very wrong assumption.
It was not a violent video game which triggered this kid’s aggression, it was frustration and obviously he took his out let for his frustration a little too far.
People, who mindless babble about video games causing aggression and video games are to blame, annoy the living crap out of me. While researching news articles for the next story, I came across a forum entitled the “Teenager Kills Brother over Play Station Agreement“. If you are not familiar with the news story, In Chile a 16 year old boy killed his brother over turning on his PlayStation 3 console.
In this forum there were several comments from readers, more than half of them were blaming video games, but amongst all that panicky mist one comment stood out to me. It said and I quote:
“I don’t think violent video games are the case. It seems to be the addiction to gaming or console itself. “
I couldn’t have said it better myself, video games aren’t really to blame, It naturally depends on the person who is playing the game.
Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud once argued that we all have our own dark nature, called the Id. It is the unorganised part of our personality structure which contains basic drives. Normally the Id is suppressed by our Ego and Super Ego.
But while we become more and more frustrated by our video games, maybe the Id takes over completely leaving us open to anger, irrational thoughts and aggression?
Maybe when it comes down it, it is all about those of us who can control our Id during our gaming sessions and those of us who can’t.