Peaception: Parents Do Your Job Before Your Child Kills Me
I’m usually laid back with my articles but for this one I’m going to be serious because it’s a subject I feel strongly about, and that’s the negative portrayal of videogames in the media when it comes to some child or some idiot committing a despicable act of violence.
They were two news articles that really raised my goat this week. The first is of a 14 year old who shot his mother to death after trying to rape her, hours after she took away his Call of Duty game due to his failing grades at school. The story gets even more interesting because when the boy was 11 his mother gave him a gun as a present, the same gun that he used to kill her. You read right, his mother gave him a GUN when he was 11. Seriously though, unless they live in a war zone what sort of present is a gun for an 11 year old?
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I don’t want to speak ill of the dead but this is a classic case of bad parenting. This boy clearly has mental issues and it didn’t help that his mother gave him a gun. So dear clueless sensationalistic news media, Call of Duty wasn’t the cause of this tragic death, it was just a catalyst; mental issues and bad parenting are to blame. The mother was already promoting a culture of violence by firstly buying him a gun. I guess in foresight she should have bought herself a bulletproof vest as well (too soon?). Secondly, not seeking help for her son’s impulsive and violent behaviour because such behaviour doesn’t suddenly happen. There are some warning signs. And thirdly, buying her son with an anger problem a game rated 18 and allowing him to play the game to the point were it started affecting grades. Come on, am I the only one thinking this woman went out of her way to create an unhealthy situation that built up and culminated in her death?
The second article is of a 14 year old that slashed a 13 year old’s throat due to Gears of War 3, if the media is to be believed. These teenagers met online while playing the game and became friends and like all teenagers they had a disagreement that resorted in name calling and all was done via messages online. The two decided to meet, then the 14 year old (still holding a grudge it seems) then slit the 13 year old’s throat to the point where the windpipe was visible and then told him, “Don’t die,” and proceeded to calmly walk off. Did I also mention that the 14 year old is also a father, not a father to a pet but an actual human baby?
Where were the parents in all of this? Yes I’m asking what are the parents’ roles in all of this? Some parents have become lazy. Instead of parenting they leave their children to be babysat by videogames and TV. Maybe you’re the kind of parent that works too hard and out of guilt for not spending that much time with their kids you compensate by spoiling them and buying them games they have no right to be playing. As a parent you need to know the type of people your child is associating, with especially online, and where were the parents when these 2 kids were meeting up? The chairman of the Scottish Police Federation said, “These games are rated 18 and shouldn’t be played by children of this young age — but online gaming may be outside their parents’ knowledge.” That has to be one of the most brain dead things I’ve read. Are you trying to tell me if you are a parent that when your child plays online, it might be beyond your knowledge? For heaven’s sake who is paying for the internet?! If you have to take the damn router every time you go out to insure your child doesn’t play online while you are away, so be it, but before that don’t buy them the freaking game to begin with.
I’ve come up with some scenarios were it’s perfectly acceptable to blame videogames:
- If your urge to commit a workplace massacre is curbed by gaming.
- If you now have Superman-like reflexes and memory thanks to gaming
- If gaming has enabled you to make some awesome friends and build lifetime relationships.
- If you can’t afford food because you blew your budget over game pre-orders.
- If you are making a living out of anything gaming related.
- If gaming has helped you cope with a difficult phase in your life.
- If you had to cancel plans with friends or loved ones because you just had to finish that game.
- If playing The Sims has prepared you for having kids (I joke).
- If playing games for long periods has left your wrists and thumbs sore to the point where you aren’t able to make that perfect cup of coffee or tea.
- If playing games has inspired you to do creative things or motivated you to pursue something that you love.
I love gaming, it has helped me through dark things in my life and I’ve also made good friends with some awesome people and I just wish more positive stories about gaming were in the news media. As much as I’m blaming parents for not being responsible enough, even a good childhood with great parenting doesn’t guarantee you won’t end up breeding a sociopath. Sometimes people are just plain evil and crazy, but it’s also a parent’s responsibility that they raise their child in an environment that promotes positive growth. What happens after they are an adult is not your concern because they are now liable for the good and the bad decisions they make.
Lastly, age restriction in games are there for a reason although any underage person can walk into a game store and buy a game rated 18 without any issues. Stores in the interest of making some money aren’t really regulating anything and to those dim witted parents, yes I’m calling you dim witted, don’t buy your child such games because they are not yet at that level to fully understand and appreciate some of the mature content in them. I know being older doesn’t necessarily guarantee maturity, I know some teens more mature than some 30 year olds, but as long as you don’t earn a living and rely on your parents for everything including games, you have to abide by their rules and those should be playing games for your respective age group (In Utopia maybe).
Parents, do your job, don’t leave my beloved games to shape the minds of your impressionable children. As much as I know some really decent teenagers who play online they are outweighed by their immature counterparts and in all honesty shouldn’t even be online because some enjoyable online games are rated 18. Games never killed anyone and if they do you usually respawn or start from your previous checkpoint and in cases were the perpetrator is underage the most pertinent question needs to be asked: What sort of environment have the parents raised the child and if there is evidence of bad parenting then those parents (if they were not killed, you never know with these crazy kids) need to be held accountable as well for endangering the lives of others by enabling this violent behaviour in their child due to their gross negligence.