Two days ago, in the capital city of Thailand, a disturbed teenager named Polwat Chinno stabbed a taxi driver to death and took his money. Chinno later told police he was trying to recreate a scene from Grand Theft Auto IV. As a result, the distributor of the games in Asia, New Era Interactive Media, said it would stop selling the game in Thailand. And Thai authorities banned Grand Theft Auto from sale in the country. Any game seller found stocking the game could be sentenced to three years in prison and a fine up to 6,000 baht (180 dollars); and even stricter penalties are in place for online sellers who could receive five years imprisonment and a 100,000 baht (3,000 dollars) fine.
Ladda Thangsupachai, director of the Thailand’s Ministry of Culture, told Reuters “This time-bomb has already exploded and the situation could get worse. Today it is a cab driver, but tomorrow it could be a video game shop owner.”
What an awkward quote, am I right?
In the autumn of 1888, in Whitechapel and the districts surrounding it in London, England, Jack the Ripper sliced up some unfortunate prostitutes in a very bad way. During that same autumn, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was being performed as a play in a local theater.
Business leaders and housewives and ministers were up in arms about the horrible influence of that violent entertainment and they eventually had the play shut down and the star nearly hanged.
The point is, when crazy happens, regular people need to find a reason. We can’t live our lives thinking that horrible things just happen, there needs to be an easy cause, something we can fix. If Jack the Ripper were just a madman, and he killed those girls on a whim…that means we have no control. That means it can happen again; but if it was Dr Jekyll that caused it, well, we can shut that play down and be safe. Simple.
There are crazy people out there, though, and there will be more murders in the world. There will be more sickening lunatic behavior, it’ll be shocking and it’ll take us all off guard and no one will expect it. And afterwards, we’ll all look around trying to find something or someone to blame.
But Polwat Chinno said he “wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game.” That’s obvious right? He just admitted that the game influenced him.
Well how about the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz? He told police his neighbor’s dog told him to kill. Maybe we should ban dogs. You can’t reason with crazy, you can’t try to understand it and you can’t trust it. When a killer says he’s influenced by something, you don’t just take it at face value. You have to realize, that person is probably insane, they’re incorporating their everyday life into their madness. And that’s all Polwat Chinno did.
No matter how bad it is, a video game can’t make a healthy minded person go out and kill.
Here’s a Video Game Reality check for you:
1.The average gamer is 30 years old, not 16.
Sure, teenagers like video games, but you know who likes them more? Me and my friends. When you ban violent video games, you’re punishing consenting adults who want to pretend to shoot people and steal cars. If you want to stop young people from playing, start educating parents. The impressionable 16 year olds of the world should be controlled by their parents, not by their government.
2. There is no consensus.
There’s no agreement in the scientific community about violent video games and real-world violence. The approximately 200 studies on media violence are inconsistent and make weak conclusions. Some show a correlation between television and violence; others don’t. Some find that violent programming can increase aggressiveness; another finds that “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” does.
3. Correlation does not imply Causation.
The general theme of the critics is to play up the correlation between teenagers who play violent video games and delinquency. But as anyone who’s taken a Stat 101 course will tell you, correlation does not imply causation. It could be that kids who enjoy violent video games also already have a violent nature. It absolutely doesn’t mean that violent video games cause delinquency.
4. There is no real world proof.
Millions of teenagers play video games. One or two teenagers go on maniac rampages? That’s statistically insignificant. Check this:
Video games have sexual themes, and millions of teens play them; that should translate to a nation-wide teenage orgy. Instead, the National Center for Health Statistics reported last year that fewer teens are engaging in sexual activity than in the past, and the rate dropped significantly between 1995 and 2002. Those are prime video game years.
How about violence? There’s been a huge increase in teens playing video games, and an increase in violent video games on the market, so according to the critics, that should mean mass chaos for society. What’s really happened? The violent crime rate in the United States has declined again last year. In fact, violent crime has dropped significantly over the past twenty years – just as video games have become more violent.
It looks like the game most people like to play is the “Blame Game”.