Friday, June 11, 2010

Insight on why I should probably never have children

Ok. Time for a thoughtful piece.

Years ago, back when I was in a Video Game Theory class, I stumbled upon an article about a father introducing Grand Theft Auto to his son. I wish I had a link to it, but Google is failing me for the time being. If I find it, I will link it. Basically the premise is how parents can monitor what their child is playing and uses GTA as an example. He provides context to his son on how the game is not the real world, but that he should obey the rules of the road (such as no driving on the sidewalks and running over pedestrians). His son was instructed to obey the rules of the real world and apply them to GTA. So, no stealing cars, no harming other people, no running into other cars, no running red lights, the works. Whenever his son accidentally hit another car, he would stop what he was doing and wait for the police to arrive and accept his punishment.

Granted, there is no filter to turn off the blood and the language, but if you were to allow your child to play GTA, that's how you handle it. You sit down and play the game with them. You explain why this is a game and does not equate to reality. Now, I don't advocate that a child be allowed to play GTA. It has an M rating for a reason. But the method of which this parent works with his child in playing a game is one that should be used. Monitor what you child is watching and playing. Help them to grow into thoughtful citizens. Don't place your child in front of the tv and let them parent for you. You need to be involved in your child's activities.

My outburts (if that's what you want to call it) come from this article. The comments are an interesting read ranging from "you're a horrible parent" to "right on!" What people need to take away from the article is the need for parents to be parents. So many are letting everyone and everything else teach their child. By involving yourself in your child's activities, you can mold them into better humans. That isn't to say berate them into "do this" "don't do this." Explain to your child why certain activities in a game do not correlate to reality. Explanation is key. So few parents explain to their kids the difference between right and wrong. They simple say "don't!" and leave it at that. Basically, parents need to be parents. Throwing the blame at video games when there has been no research that squares the blame solely on gaming for violence in children (though many failed attempts have been made) does not solve the problem. Parents, be parents. Teach and explain to your children.

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