As I was driving to my dentist appointment yesterday, I was listening to an interview on NPR. The man being interviewed worked in developing video games and said that the last game he was expected to work on was a game which allowed the player to choose a random person on the street and shoot him. He was to help make the blood look more realistic.
There is always a lot of talk about the effect of violence on children (and young adults) and whether it plays any role in the increase in violence we are seeing in this country.
I did some research on violent video games (leaving aside violent TV shows and violent movies) and was shocked at what I saw. There is even this video game.
which uses actual film from the massacre. Great fun, of course. At least one of the recent mass murderers apparently spent a lot of time playing this video game before he went on his rampage.
I wondered what parents are thinking letting their kids play games like this--or a game in which the idea is to kill random people.
Then I thought about that infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super bowl and how up in arms parents were at what their kids might have seen and how it would warp them. You know, I saw the reruns of that infamous split second many times over many news broadcasts and I never saw any breast tissue -- and I was looking for it and was seeing it up close and personal on my television screen, not from half a football field in the stands somewhere. (When I checked photos on Google, I did finally see what people were talking about)
Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were under some sort of black cloud for a long time because of what they did to the psyches of the country's young people. Yet those same parents let their kids virtually shoot people at random? (OK, not necessarily the same parents)
When a baby is born, it knows nothing. It learns what is good and what is bad, what is acceptable and what is not, what is normal and what is not from observing the world around him, so it only makes sense that realistic role playing games have had a part in inuring today's kids to the shock of violent crimes...that, and how often they are reported on television. I suspect they learn more of what is acceptable from "Super Columbine Massacre" than from Roadrunner cartoons.
My dental appointment went well. It's not often that Cindy says "good brushing" to me! Best part was that the posters on the ceiling had been rotated. I am used to seeing posters of types of peppers or animals threatened extinction, or varieties of fruit (like durian), but today I got to concentrate on something different.
Whoever first got the idea of putting posters on the ceilings of dental offices was absolutely brilliant.