Video Games v.s. Parenting
From Columbine to the Newtown shootings, there never fails to be a media campaign about the influence of violent video games on the youth. Arguments have been made that video games, all the way back from Wolfenstein 3D to today’s line of Call of Duty games, have a significant effect on the psyches of children and teenagers, and make them more aggressive. These arguments are simply wrong. If children learn anything from violent video games, it is the job of the parent to either take the game away, or teach them what the consequences of that violence is in reality.
Video games are an escape from reality. They provide countless hours of entertainment for hardcore and casual gamers alike. This entertainment does not numb kids to real world consequences of holding a gun, or stealing. It’s the duty of the parents of the children playing these games to teach them the consequences and also to follow the age guidelines laid out by the various rating organizations. If a parent is against violent video games, don’t buy them. I would hardly call Zork a violent game compared to today’s standards, but I’m sure someone would find offense in their child killing trolls. It is completely up to the parent to sit this child down and say, “killing is bad, even if it is a troll.” If we’re passing blame to forms of entertainment such as video games, why not movies, or television shows? Is it safe to assume all meth dealers learned their ways from Breaking Bad, or that Satanists practice dark magic they discerned from Harry Potter? The ridiculousness of that question can be applied to the argument with video games. Just because Grand Theft Auto depicts the character killing innocent people does not mean that gamers are going to reciprocate this behavior. The argument is invalid, and the parent should be telling the child what is right and what is wrong. If anything, I would put some of blame on the rise of social media. Facebook has given us an outlet to avoid social interactions with friends and family. The absence of actually talking to people and living through a computer should be a cause of concern about teenagers becoming cold and distant, not playing video games.
As stated before, what a parent teaches a child is the biggest factor in how that child will turn out in adulthood. Victor Frankenstein is a testament to this. His childhood consisted of living in the lap of luxury. He had a secluded life with a close circle of friends that consisted of Elizabeth and Henry. He did not experience the real world at all and his parent’s were “the very spirit of kindness and indulgence.” (Shelley 28) In other words, he was spoiled and did not learn about what consequences his actions could have. This sentiment of his childhood can be linked to how he acts throughout his college life and adulthood. Victor is indecisive, ignorant, and does not like to take responsibility for his mistakes. He decides to just create a monster without planning what he would do with it after it was actually alive. Since he isn’t sure what to do with the monster, he just lets it run off. Even after knowing what the monster is capable of doing to his loved ones, he decides to not give in to the monster’s demands. This list could go on for half the page, but the point is clear; Victor is unable to accept his consequences, as he never had to deal with them as a child.
Frankenstein provides a great argument against violence of video games influencing children. Victor had the perfect childhood, yet still screwed up his life and the lives of his loved ones by not thinking about the consequences of his actions. Video games are not the reason why children do not accept consequences; it’s their upbringing. In Zork, the fact that you can go on this adventure through a dangerous dungeon collecting treasure should not numb you to the costs of attempting this in real life. Your parents of guardians should teach you that it’s dangerous to run off and battle trolls. Video games do not produce a violent society; they reflect the violent society that we have made for ourselves. Our parents, our parent’s parents, and beyond have formed the world we live in. It’s unfortunate that it’s a violent one, but it’s a result in the lack of teaching children to take responsibility for their actions.