Video-Game / Bullying

As a post to an article that cited video-games as the cause of bullying a poster wrote:

“Unfortunately for your argument, a recent secret-shopper study conducted by the FTC documented about only 13% of underage kids were able to get around game store clerks in purchasing mature-rated games. And given that, based on other studies where as many as 60% of underage kids were able to buy music CDs with a parental advisory sticker or that 35-45% of underage kids were able to buy R-rated movies and DVDs, it seems curious why you would scapegoat video games given the reality that they seem to have the least influence of all media consumption in promoting violent crime?”

The post itself is a screaming example of the various problems that allow bullying to happen.

Obviously, you don’t have to BUY them to PLAY them. And yes, they have a significant negative effect on anyone who plays them on a regular basis. All to often parents make the purchase which further serves to reinforce the the acceptability of the mind set represented in the game. It is difficult (almost impossible) to find a game without blood as a prime ingredient.

While you are probably correct in indicating that the purchase of inappropriate CDs/DVDs is higher; CDs/DVDs have far less potential for actual addiction then games.

All that said, the games are only one factor in bullying.

Bullying is universal and has been around forever. One could make a valid point that bullying occurs in ancient literature as a recurring theme. It is recorded in the Bible and many of the other ancient religious texts. Any number of the now mythic gods could easily be defined as bullies. Shakespeare, Dickens, Dumas, Hugo, Tolstoy and Mark Twain all wrote characters who were bullies. They were written and clearly defined as the bad guys.

Now today’s media causes the line between good and bad to become blurred. The media (and therefore the public at large) has a tendency to ignore the negative aspects of things we find to be even moderately entertaining or humorous and ultimately profitable. (The fact that Charlie Sheen is making money with his arrogance is a perfect example.)

Literature today has no clear battle between good and evil. The “anti-hero” is king. We live in a world of that is a gray area; no right, no wrong, only shades of gray.

Our judicial system has no standard of right and wrong; only mitigating circumstances. (Yes, you did brutally murder your father, step-mother and step-sister. But after all; they wanted you to do chores when you wanted go to your buddy’s house and drink beer. It’s understandable!) We encourage stupidity and with it cruelty. (Hey, let’s like beat her up; you know like about ten on one. That way we’re sure like to win. And let’s like video it on a couple of cell phones and let’s like post it on the web; OMG fun!!)

Parents encourage bullies by their inaction in not disciplining bad and antisocial behavior and should be condemned for the “my kid can do no wrong” attitude that tacitly permits any outrageous action. Parents are responsible when they allow peers to play a bigger part in their children’s lives then they do. Bullying is peer pressure run amuck; becoming the ruling factor in a kid’s life. Parents are responsible when they allow the internet to be more of an influence than family values. (Hey you can’t blame me for the deaths when my son shot up the high school! I REALLY didn’t know what he was doing in his room with the door locked for about 12-14 waking hours a day. OK maybe I should have checked but at least when he was in there he wasn’t bothering me!)

Is bullying more prevalent today? Probably not, it’s always been a fact of life. Technology allows us to be more aware if it. Is it more violent? Possibly, bullies play to an audience and technology gives them a world of potential viewers.

Can we stop it? Probably not; but we can lessen it, tone it down and make it less attractive to bully someone.

How? Well, you cannot control the media; but you SHOULD be able control your kids. Pay attention to what they are watching, listening to and what games they play. Don’t rely on “parental controls”; do it yourself. Limit access and time on the net and playing games.

DON’T SIDE WITH YOUR KID WHEN THE ARE CLEARLY IN THE WRONG!! Don’t accept stupid excuses for even stupider behavior.

In other words BE A PARENT. That’s what supposed to happen when you have a child; you become a parent! Yes, it’s going to change your life. No, you can’t be a carefree, liberal free spirit anymore. You are the grownup now!. If you cannot be a grownup; don’t have kids.

SAY: NO! It’s part of your job as a parent. And be a parent first; not a friend!


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