Guns, violence, and video games

Written by Amie on January 12, 2009 – 1:19 am -

Do violent games make violent kids?


I thought I would share this experience because I think it might help others to look at video games in a different light. When my kids were younger(they are 11 now), I said that we would never have video games in our house. The only thing I kept hearing was that they are evil, they are violent, there is nothing good about them, they are a waste of time. My kids really didn’t have any interest in playing them until they turned 8 or so, I think. I got very nervous when they asked for a gaming system, and I tried to distract them from wanting to play. However, this was short lived. I could tell that if I couldn’t at least try to shift my thoughts about gaming, my relationship with my kids was going to be harmed. I did not want that. So, I started talking to other unschooling parents, and started reading about kids and gaming.

Our first system

Even after being reassured by many parents that  their kids did not become violent after playing violent video games, I was still skeptical. I knew that I was coming at this from a place of fear. Not a good place to come from. So, we started out with a GameCube, and soon we added a Playstation 2.  The games started out with the “E” rating, but soon my kids were requesting games that were rated “T”, which meant more violence. We slowly worked our way up, and I didn’t notice any changes in my kids. We then bought an Xbox 360.

So, fast forward to today, and we have been through all of the systems including the handheld ones, except for the PS3. The kids have played “M” games which have the most violence, blood, etc. I never thought I would be ok with this, but I am. I see that my two boys are still my sweet, loving, gentle souled boys. I have also learned that the violence in the games has nothing to do with why they play the games they play. They play them because they enjoy them, and because they learn from them. They learn team building skills, compromise, how to work together…I could go on and on. It amazes me how much they have learned from these games. If I comment on the violence, they always tell me, “it’s just a game, it’s not real!”

Real life shooting

My son asked if we would take him to a place where he could shoot a real gun at targets. Of course, my first reaction was, oh my gosh, no way would I let my kids shoot a real gun!  However, as I always try to do now (not always quickly!), I got myself into a place of non-fear based thinking, and I said sure, let’s find one, we will take you. I asked my other son, the one who loves the violent games, the gorier they are, the better, if he might like to go with us. He very quickly said, ” No Way! I don’t want to go shoot real guns!” I knew he probably wouldn’t, but I thought just maybe he would like to go watch. No interest at all. He thought it was strange that we were going in the first place. He is a very sensitive soul, which surprises some people when they find out the games that he likes to play. But he is very good at these games, and I love watching him get better and better, and watching  as he masters the game. It is exciting, and I am very happy for him, and proud of him for doing what he loves!  So, back to the gun adventure. We walked into the place, and my husband, my son, and myself, were all very quiet at first.  My son quickly said he had no interest anymore in shooting. We watched for a few minutes, and left. We talked about what our reactions were to seeing a gun being shot at a target that is supposed to symbolize a person. We talked about how we wish guns were never invented, and that the only purpose for them involves hurting people or animals. I was really shocked at how I felt. It just became so real. I know guns exist, but to see and hear them being shot was something else all together. I felt scared, and I felt like I was doing something really wrong just being there. I hated the way I felt in there.

Why Do People Become Violent?

I firmly believe that violent video games do not make people violent. I think there are probably many reasons why people become violent. I believe one of the main reasons is that kids do not have healthy support and love in their lives, which can lead to a very unhappy and unhealthy adult.  I think that kids that don’t have a voice, kids that are abused or bullied, and kids that don’t have a family that is around to love them, might be more prone to turn to violence. I believe that when people do not have someone to hear them, and support them, and love them, it can lead to emotional problems, which may or may not lead to violence. This violence can be turned against other people or it can be turned against themselves. I know that I have witnessed first hand that my kids will not be violent because of video games. I am so happy that I trusted their path with this.


Posted in Connection, Mindful/respectful parenting, Unschooling | 2 Comments »

2 Comments to “Guns, violence, and video games”

  1. Amanda Says:

    Great post. I also went through the exact same transition with my son. We started off not wanting to have any violence-related toys in the home but he just turned every other thing we had into a pretend gun anyway! I was also dead set against video games but after listening to my son plead his case, I did some research online and read a couple of great books and decided that it was my own prejudice talking and that we should give them a try. A few years on and my son is still sensitive and kind and shows no more aggression than before. We all make snap judgments all the time and most often they’re based on second-hand knowledge. It’s important to reconsider our entrenched opinions from time.

  2. admin Says:

    It is such a shift in thinking isn’t it? It is so freeing to know we can question things, even if we have been doing them the same way for our whole lives. What a wonderful gift you have given your son. One of trust and understanding.

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