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Location :: www » en » blog » 2008 » «Hey, Parents Are Supposed to Control Us» by Inayat Singh (10th-grade student living in Dubai)

Norway is one of those wealthy countries which uses abnormal amounts of money on health care and education. Therefore it's somewhat riveting to notice that results of pouring public money into such sectors are remarkably poor even by comparison to less fortunate countries.

Questions of responsibility have been addressed. Personally I have to admit that I've only vaguely followed the recent Norwegian debate, but at some point the responsibility for the brats' general misdemeanor was lain upon the their parents.

International Herald Tribune published a text by Inayat Singh on the 8th of February 2008. And Singh—a 10th-grade student living in Dubai, UAE—wisely started out like this:

Hey, Parents Are Supposed to Control Us

I was around four when I got my first video game console: a Sega Master System 2. It had one game pre-installed. I never managed to convince my parents to buy an additional game, so I spent several years trying to navigate a miserable two-dimensional kid named Alex (his surname was “Kidd”) over walls and various monsters. I never got past the second level because I didn't know how to make Alex swim. Yet I enjoyed myself tremendously, and Mr. Kidd and I became good friends.
Times have changed, and today, at age 15, I'm an expert at emptying out a sniper's clip into an alien's face. Last summer I spent a happy month planting bombs around nuclear power plants and bashing-up expensive Ferraris on my cousin's PlayStation.
But now I'll have to slow down. Apparently if I go on, they say I'll end up stabbing innocent police officers on the road—in the real world. And of course, there's that thing about what the Martians would say if they saw us all playing Halo.
A couple of years ago, the game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City came into the spotlight when an 18-year-old boy, Devin Moore, murdered three people, apparently after playing the game day-and-night for months.
Moore's victims were a 911 dispatcher and two police officers. The boy was taken into the police station after attempting to steal a car. Once inside the station he lunged at one of the police officers, grabbed his gun and shot both of them. Then he walked down the hallway and shot the emergency dispatcher. Then he grabbed a set of car keys and took off in a police cruiser.
Now the police officers' relatives are suing Wal-Mart and GameStop for selling Moore two versions of the game, Take-Two Interactive for creating the game and Sony, which makes the console the game was played on (PlayStation 2). They believe that the game “trained” Moore to do what he did.

Glaring injustice and strange police-ish thinking: Was the world run by minors who, through their choise of spare time activities, were changing our lifestyle and how our combined thinking evolved? Wouldn't such a hypothesis constitute something similar to Pontius Pilate washing all sins off his hands—pretty much?

The game did not “train” Moore to do what he did. It was a video game set in an imaginary world. Punching keys into a keyboard is very different from pulling the trigger on a gun. But of course, playing the game obsessively for months may have had an impact.
The game manufacturers cannot be blamed. They're simply making a game that takes you into an imaginary world . The problem here lies with the parents.

Parents versus Markets?

The fact remains: The game manufacturers cannot be blamed for murders and crimes committed by their players.

Do you recall all and anyone blaming the VCR for an increase in violence during the eighties? To be fair, some did mention decreasing public funding of preventive measures, though...

Parents all over the place are complaining that video games are addictive and are meddling with the minds of their young ones. But why are they buying the games for their children in the first place? Don't they have the authority to limit the time their children spend on their video games?
Parents cannot blame outsiders for what is happening to their children. The video-game companies have already done their bit, and given proper age ratings for every game, along with health warnings. If parents cannot control their own kids, what can the video-game manufacturers do about it?
Parents need to stop passing the blame around. Back in the 1950s, comic books were blamed for juvenile delinquency. But didn't the parents buy the books in the first place? Today McDonald's is being blamed for obesity in children. But that's simply because nothing decent is being cooked at home.
In the end, it's how you raise your children. A person needs to know that it is wrong to kill a fellow human being. And once that concept is properly understood, no amount of gaming can change that.

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