Acclaimed horror author Stephen King talks about violence in video games, and specifically about a Massachusetts bill that the lawmakers want to put into effect regarding the sale of violent video games to minors. Says King:
According to the proposed bill, violent videogames are pornographic and have no redeeming social merit. The vid-critics claim they exist for one reason and one reason only, so kids can experience the vicarious thrill of killing. Now, what does and doesn’t have social merit is always an interesting question, one I can discuss for hours.
He also goes on to state that the lawmakers don’t seem to see that violent video games, which is 18 certified, is under stronger criticism than even more violent movies such as, for example, Hostel or Saw. He then discusses what the root of the problem is:
What really makes me insane is how eager politicians are to use the pop culture — not just videogames but TV, movies, even Harry Potter — as a whipping boy. It’s easy for them, even sort of fun, because the pop-cult always hollers nice and loud. Also, it allows legislators to ignore the elephants in the living room.
Personally, I’m inclined to agree with him. I have a deep interest in video games, video game legislation, and societal violence (and if I were still studying psychology like I was way back at the beginning of the millenium, I’d be writing a paper about it). From everything I’ve seen, a large portion of the root problem of violence in society isn’t and cannot be attributed to video games, no matter how violent, but that seems to be beside the point. I know that the issue isn’t all black and white; no issue is. However, by and large, the problem appears to lie within the home: children whose parents don’t know what their children are doing, don’t know what culture their children are growing up in, and don’t know who their children are hanging out with. And are too unwilling to lay down the law when their children have crossed the line.
What are your thoughts on the matter?