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Children and Video Games

What's the Problem?

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Have you watched your child playing video games lately? Fact is, most parents don't have the time to do that. They think, "Well, my child is in the house. At least I know where he is."

While not all video games are violent, today's sophisticated games are a far cry from early games such as Super Mario Bros. or Pac-Man, which are about simple, obviously fantasy creatures.

At the most violent end of the video game spectrum, females are usually depicted as hookers or sex toys. In Postal2, after a woman begs, "Don't kill me. I'm a virgin," her attacker has the option to kill her or merely urinate on her. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a scantily clad woman engages in car-bouncing, moan-filled sex with a man, who then has the option of killing her with a golf club. In other games, characters spew racial slurs and writhing bodies die in a blitz of gore, flying body parts, and screams.

Getting helpful information about video games takes time. Some groups are already providing such information. This study provides an introduction to the world of video games, explains the lack of self-control by the video industry, which is most eager to make sales, and provides some resources for those just wanting to learn more or others wanting to join efforts to control access and irresponsible content.

This study was adapted from an article originally published in Presbyterians Today, January/February 2006,

Alexa Smith is a reporter for the Presbyterian News Service. She is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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What's the Problem...
Alexa Smith
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