Defense of Video Games
was not a great year for teenagers. Due to such tragic incidents as
the Columbine High School shooting, teenagers were put under a powerful
magnifying glass to see what might make us go bad. Over and over on
the nightly news and on daytime talk shows, so-called experts announced
they had concluded that what drove these teens to violence was the
media. They blamed television, they blamed music, and most of all,
they blamed video games.
I am and always have been a big video game player. My dad would take
me to the local arcade, Captain Video, when I was four years old.
He had to bring a milk crate for me to stand on so I would reach the
controls. Video games have come a long way since I first started playing,
thanks to both technology and our society. When I first started playing,
the most popular game featured a fat Italian plumber who had to jump
over barrels being thrown by a huge ape in order to save his girlfriend.
Now the biggest games are those where a well-armed commando must kill
extremely-lifelike Nazis, aliens, or sometimes both. I am the first
to admit that video games are more violent than ever before, but I
don't have a problem with that. In fact, I love playing violent video
games. My favorite video game right now is Carmageddon 2. It's a racing
game and to get to the finish line first you have to destroy all your
opponents and run over lots of pedestrians.
Run over pedestrians? For fun? Is that sick? Is that twisted? In real
life of course it is, but video games are not real life.
I've played just as many violent video games for just as many hours
as any teenager has, and you'll have to trust me when I tell you that
I am a completely normal, non-violent kid. All my friends play these
games too, and they too are normal, non-violent kids. Is it okay for
kids to play violent video games? Yes, but there is a catch. Violent
video games are okay if the kids have good parents. It is as simple
as that. Kids need to be taught the difference between reality and
fantasy, and it is the duty of the parents to do that. Do I love playing
video games where I go on shooting rampages? Yes, I'll admit it, I
love it. Have I ever thought, even as a fantasy, that it would be
a remotely good idea to ever go on a real shooting rampage? Never
in a million years! I am a well-adjusted person. I know better, but
some kids don't.
Teenagers who commit these terrible acts of violence may enjoy playing
the violent video games that my friends and I enjoy playing, but the
video games don't make these teenagers violent. They have problems,
and they would do these things anyway even if video games didn't exist.
A psycho who plays video games is still a psycho. It is up to parents
to raise their kids properly so that they are mentally healthy and
know not to hurt people. If the parents fail here, taking away video
games won't fix the problem unless the kid is also locked up in a
dark room on Mars with cotton in his ears. Parents who slack off in
raising their child can't rectify their neglect by taking away video
games. The kid will still see violence that he wants to emulate, whether
on TV, in the movies or just walking down the street. To quote the
movie Scream, "Movies don't make psychos, they just give psychos
ideas." Video games don't create psychos either, but if some
screwed up kid is playing one, it could act as a catalyst to the violent
tendencies the kid already has. So, if you have raised your child
right, let him have his violent video games, and if you still don't
feel comfortable about it, then maybe the problem isn't video games,
maybe the problem is you.
Randall is fifteen years old and lives in Los Angeles.
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