Joel Johnson: Parents, don’t blame the video games for violence

01/01/2014 9:32 PM

01/01/2014 10:12 PM

The topic of video games as a cause of violence is brought up a lot because of recent school shootings. Many parents are wondering whether it’s safe to buy video games because of the content compared to games of 25 years ago. I am here to tell you that video games are only bad if a parent is irresponsible.

You can point to studies that say video-game violence influences kids and teens, leading to crime, drugs or school shootings. But those studies do not mean much. Every child is different. It’s impossible to come to the conclusion that video games influence real-life violence. If you are a parent buying a video game such as “Grand Theft Auto,” the cashier asks for ID. This is a pretty important detail because when you give that cashier your ID, it gives the message that you’re perfectly content with your child playing a game rated Mature, meaning it contains violence and sexual content.

I have no authority to tell parents that they shouldn’t let their children play certain games. But people should ask themselves, “Can my child separate fiction from reality? Is he mature enough to play this?”

JOEL JOHNSON

Winton

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