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According to Patrick Masell, recently the media has bombarded Americans with images and stories concerning a popular and morally corrupt video game called “Grand Theft Auto.” GTA 3 and its sequel GTA: Vice City has sparked record sales as well as protests and news reports across the globe. Most of these reports and protests question the game’s graphic content and the effects it may have on its audience, especially teenagers.
However, GTA was not the first series of video games to create such a stir in this country. “Mortal Kombat” a fighting game known for its amount of blood and gore deaths, hit arcades in 1992 and home consoles the next year. The question of how graphic violence in video games influences this nation’s youth have been debated for over a decade. Violent video games have few, if any, adverse effects on the vast majority of its audience and those who are negatively influenced often are unstable to begin with.
Two features of video games fuel renewed interest by researchers, public policy makers, and the general public. First, the active role required by video games is a double-edged sword. It helps educational video games be excellent teaching tools for motivational and learning process reasons. But, it also may make violent video games even more hazardous than violent television or cinema. Second, the arrival of a new generation of ultraviolent video games beginning in the early 1990s and continuing unabated to the present resulted in large numbers of children and youths actively participating in entertainment violence that went way beyond anything available to them on television or in movies. Recent video games reward players for killing innocent bystanders, police, and prostitutes, using a wide range of weapons including guns, knives, flame throwers, swords, baseball bats, cars, hands, and feet. Some include cut scenes (i.e., brief movie clips supposedly designed to move the story forward) of strippers. In some, the player assumes the role of hero, whereas in others the player is a criminal.
All of these actually will help to promote violence behaviour among the children but censoring or banning video games will not solve or even help a problem that is much more deeply rooted. Parents should play a major role in coping with this matter. Parental neglect is possibly the largest factor in juvenile delinquency. Ironically, the same parents who favor censorship of video games probably don’t even realize the games their children are playing are meant for adults to begin with. There is something labeled on every game box called an ESRB rating. Acting like a rating system for movies, it determines the age group that a particular game is appropriate for. The GTA series is M or mature, suitable for people seventeen or over.
Yet that doesn’t stop parents from buying it for their underage kids. In fact, there are many instances where a teenager will be refused from buying a certain game. Their parents are brought in to confront the store manager and the manger explains the rating system, but the parent buys the game nonetheless. So basically both parents and game creator should be blame as they did not think twice before doing something.