War games can’t be hazardous to your health
Seems like every step we take out of the door is a step towards a hostile, predatory world of uncertainty and instability. We feel under threat going to work, going online or even taking a walk in the park. If we let it go to our heads we could become completely paranoid.
To escape the paranoia and regain some of our sense of security, measures need to be taken. We build barriers, hire bodyguards, put more police on the streets, impose bans on hazardous products, erect stone walls and hide behind them. This happens not only on the streets, at airports, in cities, but also online. Firewalls, passwords and antivirus programmes protect our computers and our data online.
In the end, it reaches our minds and hearts. We often put on our protective masks when talking to strangers, especially suspicious strangers. Even our neighbours are not what they used to be.
This over-protection has its good and bad sides. Although it gives us a breather from always worrying that something is going to happen, it leads to isolation and sometimes it creates unnecessary pressure.
It is due to this pressure that many children are nor allowed to go to school or play outside alone any more. It is also to blame for the controversy around war games like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor. The claims that those games could be harmful and could change the behavior of people, especially when they are very young, aren’t founded on anything else.
Playing games about war can’t harm anybody, neither children nor adults. Believing that a game can make a monster from a little kid is just naive. It is like believing that someone is a killer because he was listening to heavy metal.
It is understandable that parents would like to have banned video games which show acts of violence, adult content or strong language. To say, however, that playing a violent game can change your character is exaggerated and not true.
How is playing a video game about soldiers any different than playing soldiers with your friends in the back yard? And yard games can even be more dangerous because children often play with sticks or BB guns. Even if we say those games are bad influence, are they the only influence on the children? No, those kids have friends, school teachers and family who will still show them positive models of behaviour and help them separate right from wrong. Why are we so scared of letting them go, even a little bit? Eventually, they will have to live in the real world and see or hear things that would be offensive or hurtful.
We know we cannot protect them from everything, but nonetheless we’re always trying to do it. It is a way to make ourselves feel better, feel safer and more secure. Who is actually bothered by talking about violence and war? Our children or we ourselves?
I think when we are young the only thing that could really harm us emotionally and change us forever is not a game or a movie about war, but a war itself in our country or our home. Children are part of many wars before they become adults and those wars are not shown on the TV screen. In my own experience, a divorce, to a kid, is equal to bombing her entire world. To keep her from playing some game with guns in it in this situation is nothing short of hypocritical.
Or how about that: your kid has never played a war game in his life, but a lunatic comes to his school and shoots some of his classmates, because guns in the house are a common thing nowadays. Guns which are supposed to protect us and give us the feeling of safety we strive for.
Saving our children from virtual threats, still leaves them exposed to some real-world ones.