Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Violent video games are always getting the blame for the destruction of today’s innocent youth. Yes, it must be the violent video games that are teaching children poor values, right? Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at what the culprit might really be.

Violent media in general could certainly be contributing to how children understand the world. It’s not exactly what we would like our children to be learning, but it’s what is out there to an extent. But what happens to be more harmful than the presence of violence is the absence of parental guidance. If you haven’t spoken to your child about the nature of the games they play and played them yourself, you don’t even have an idea what you’re up against.

Video games have ratings for a reason. If they are rated M for Mature, perhaps your pre-adolescent shouldn’t be playing those. But if you view a game and can talk on a competent level with your child about proper behavior and values, it might be acceptable for your child’s personal level of maturity.

At the end of the day, it is only a game. What is essential — as with everything with raising kids — is your involvement in your child’s life. Talk to them about what they are exposed to, and they will be able to prepare for it and face it with the values you have taught them. Violent video games alone are not going to predict behavior. In fact, a new study says that violent video games can increase moral awareness. Involvement and a supportive environment have a greater effect.