Video Games Don’t Kill Kids

Video Games Don’t Kill Kids

Violent video games always seem to be on trial in America – a strange irony in a country that made Saw IV number one at the box office, with nary a peep about violent movies, songs, TV shows, books, comic books and other forms of pop culture generally uttered in this kinder, gentler, more enlightened age. (Must be all the torture porn on display at your local theater: It tends to leave one feeling slightly desensitized.) But we digress: In all serious, there seems to be a major disconnect in reality and the way that the news media reports on video games and their potential cultural, physical and psychological effects on children in 2010.

Happily, like rapper Trick Daddy, we too “love the kids” – hence a recent column for discerning adults on CNN.com entitled Why Does the Media Still Think Video Games Are Bad for Kids? Aiming to bring a little sensibility back to the debate, especially in a year where a Supreme Court case (Schwarzenegger vs. EMA) threatens government regulation of video game sales (and to invoke an inevitable political uproar and media circus), hopefully it resonates with leading reporters and members of the mainstream press. Beyond reminding us all that the average game player is a mature, sensible adult in their 30s, and explaining how games educate; inform; inspire; broaden our horizons; build self-confidence; teach cooperation, sharing and teamwork; foster problem-solving skills; promote socialization; and offer a constructive outlet for baser impulses, hey… It also gives a chance for a cross-section of games industry experts (all of whom are parents themselves) to weigh in with their own thoughts, and provide further research and arguments as to why gaming deserves a fair shake like anything else.

Don’t let these points fool you: As with any other form of entertainment, exposure to games should be age-appropriate, everything’s best enjoyed in moderation, and parents still have to provide reasonable guidelines and limits when it comes to game playing as a whole. And, as Game Theory contributor Joel Brodie reiterates in his subsequent piece Most Games Are Good for Kids, But Violent Video Games Are Still Bad, titles of questionable subject matter need to be carefully scrutinized and moderated. Nonetheless, a little sanity and sensibility never hurt when weighing such important issues: Video games shouldn’t be made a scapegoat by politicians, pundits or religious groups simply because it suits their agenda.

About Scott Steinberg
Scott Steinberg is CEO of strategic consulting and product testing firm TechSavvy Global, and a noted keynote speaker and business expert. Hailed as a top tech expert and parenting guru by critics from USA Today to NPR, he’s also an on-air analyst for ABC, CBS and CNN.

2 Comments

  1. I studied game design for a bit in Chicago, and this was always the topic in many classes, to the dismay of the instructors. The students all practically had the same opinions about the subject, which the instructors have heard year after year. It is very amazing to me that these misconceptions are still being expressed in the media when there is such an outcry for the opposite beliefs.

    It reminds me of the infamous Mass Effect sex scene news stories. It was a sex scene that isn’t nearly as bad as sex scenes shown on a number of television series’ found on NBC, ABC, or FOX, yet it still makes the news because it has the words “video” and “game” tied to it.

  2. MY college professor made me write a paper about this same subject matter. And like the author of this article, I too came to the conclusion that the best way of handling this situation does not involve government interference whatsoever. ALL parents have to do is be MINDFUL of what kinds of games their kids are playing…same with movies, music, etc. and monitor the amount of time their kids spend playing them.

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