I’m not overly surprised that this whole video game violence thing is still being talked about. I’ve seen this before after tragedies where something becomes the scapegoat for it. I’ve seen it back in the 1980’s with music, movies and TV. I know it’ll go back to normal once some feel good and meaningless piece of legislation is enacted so our children will be safe from such things. I also know how much BS that is as well. Putting stickers on CDs back in the 80s didn’t keep kids from getting or hearing them. It also hasn’t done much good putting those labels on games. Tragedies still occur, it’s just where the blame gets placed is changed. But as long as we do something, it’s all good isn’t it?
I’m not going to sit here and debate the merits, or the lack there of, of violent media. It’s kind of silly anyway, since what I consider violent or not violent might be considered the opposite by someone else. No, what I’m gonna to talk about and advocate is Parental Responsibility.
I know this is hard for some to believe, but as a parent you do have the ability to make choices for your children. You can decide what entertainment is shown to them. You have the ability to turn the channel from something violent to something wholesome. You have the ability to not take them to a movie that is inappropriate for their age. You have the ability to decide what music they listen to. You also have the ability, as surprising as it might seem, to actually decide what video games they can buy and play in your home. I know, isn’t it amazing. You have the ability to decide what they do in your home and in your presence.
But, we can’t watch and make these decisions 24/7. We aren’t in their schools or their friends’ houses. How can we do this there? Simple answer, you can’t. That doesn’t mean you stop doing it at home. I will tell you that what you do at home, they likely will follow with outside the home. They aren’t going to be perfect, but if they know your message loud and clear they will actually pay attention and in most cases follow your wishes.
How do we have the time, there’s only so many hours in the day? True, but let me tell you a little story. I have a couple friends who have four kids, one a teenager. They both work full time jobs, they are both very busy. But, they have made it their point to be active in their kids’ lives. They make it a point to check on their teen to make sure what they watch, what they listen to and what they read is appropriate for them at that age. They don’t just let the kid go willy-nilly and occasionally check in, they are active. They even limit the access to their teen’s cell phone. They check their teen’s Facebook page. Does all this take time, yes. But they decided that they will take that time to make sure they are in control of their child. Does it mean sacrifices, you bet. They may not always get to do the things they really want to do since they have to use that time for their children, but that’s the thing, the children come first.
I think if there were as much energy put into parental responsibility as there is about finding a scapegoat for every tragedy that comes down the pike, we might actually make some progress in reducing tragedies.
I’ll add one more thing, every little bit of regulation that is allowed to happen to games, movies, music and books is one more chink in the First Amendment.
So, until next time….
Originally published January 14, 2013