Here’s something to think about this Christmas, when many of your children will be begging you for the latest computer game titles such as World in Conflict or Crysis. These are a new generation of superbly realistic experiences of military conflict. In one sense they are safe, because no one is actually harmed, yet in another, they are very dangerous.
While psychologists are seemingly yet to exert enough pressure to have them banned (if they are even trying, I don’t know), many children will spend hundreds of hours participating in invasions, wars and ‘peacekeeping missions’ of all descriptions. They will put soldiers to sleep with darts then creep up on them and shoot them in the back of the head, point blank. They will learn the art of killing with cold detachment. They will learn to reason based on orders and objectives and lose a part of reality, in which all people have precious lives and violence is never the answer.
What this means, worst of all, is thay they will be converted to the idea that human nature is negative, and that we are doomed to a future of war. Our children will believe more in the power of technology and war than in their own inner power to bring about positive change, call that what you will.
America’s military has even been known to sponsor games such and use them as recruiting tools. They are not looking for patriots, they are looking for skillful killers and adrenaline junkies.
No doubt your children will be expecting one of the recently released games – that have new levels of graphical realism. Take a moment to think about the possible effects on your child, and the future repercussions for all children in the world in generations to come. And their mothers.
Choose from titles which are not based on reality. No doubt your children already demand explosive gun-weilding action in their games. Choose fantasies like Unreal Tournament 3 or Halo. Choose thrillers like Bioshock. Do not choose Crysis, World in Conflict… just read the back of the box to see who your kid will be shooting at. Makes sure they are not real, identifiable nationalities: past, present or future. For God’s sake.
If you are involved in the video games industry, please have a think about games that will be exciting and engaging enough to kids without desensitising them to war. The war stories these kids are normalising hell while we are doing our best to bring heaven to earth.