Ed Desk: Stop the video game hate
Like about 50 percent (maybe even more) of college students, I spend a good portion of my free time playing video games.
Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and PC, I try to play it all. But oftentimes I find myself conflicted when the video game guy in me butts heads with my journalistic background.
The media absolutely loves to paint violent video games in a negative light. Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto are usually the two biggest targets because of the level of violence they depict.
I most recently came across this on Sunday, when I was reading a CNN article about the tragic shooting death of an 87-year-old woman who was shot to death by her grandson, an 8-year-old.
Stories like this are incredibly sad, and I give the reporters credit for being able to write about these kinds of events day after day. However, instead of focusing on the tragedy, CNN led with the fact that the grandson shot his grandmother after playing Grand Theft Auto IV.
At the end of the story, there were six paragraphs asking if the video game was the cause of the crime, and linked to a column titled, “Opinion: Video games didn’t cause Newtown shooting.”
Again, a horrible tragedy. But to get back to the most recent incident, CNN neglected to bring up that the grandmother had a loaded gun out in the open that the 8-year-old could reach.
The article also didn’t mention that Grand Theft Auto is a M-Rated game, which means anyone younger than 17 cannot buy the game. However, the young boy still had access to the game and the console.
The ESRB gives video games ratings like this for a reason. It’s to prevent impressionable kids from getting their hands on violent games or games with strong sexual content or language.
But it’s up to the consumer to follow these guidelines. Are young children impressionable to video game and media violence? There’s certainly a possibility.
That’s why regulatory agencies like the ESRB exist. But it’s unfair for the media to lay the blame solely on video games when they play a role in certain crimes.
Rockstar, the creator of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, doesn’t create their games so that young boys go out and murder their family members, they are hoping to entertain consumers. But the audience they are targeting is specifically the mature audience.
The media needs to bring this up when covering stories that pertain to video game violence, and should stop ignoring the fact that it’s the responsibility of parents and guardians to prevent younger children from getting their hands on M-rated games and from seeing R-rated movies.
Instead, it’s become popular for media outlets to jump on the video games and say it is the direct cause of some of these incidents, which is unfair to the older gamers who purchase M-rated games for the entertainment.