Every day we kill people and blow up buildings. Every time we decide that we are going to do this. Fortunately, I do not mean literally. There is now a plethora of virtual worlds where our children can sit down, walk around a city and shoot everything that comes near them.
Now let me clarify. This article is referring to games, especially on the Xbox and PlayStation consoles. There are now so many titles that are termed first-person shooters that shop shelves are crammed with them.
Some of the biggest games that have been released this year are KillZone 3 and Homefront. Both allow you to wonder through American cities and towns carrying the biggest gun you can find.
The purpose of it is to kill as many people as you can. Hopefully they belong to the other team, but every second of the gameplay you stand the chance of being shot dead as well.
I have watched young men (and boys) play these games, and they have no concern in killing or being killed. Whilst in the game it is all just statistics until the next rank.
Somehow, they have managed to separate virtual death with real death, which, I suppose, is a welcome relief. But it does make the whole concept of killing very easy for impressionable minds. How easy is it for some of these people to move from a virtual kill to a real kill? They have a fair idea of what it will look like already.
The representations of the shootings, stabbing and general maiming become more realistic with each new game. Graphically, the new breed of game is intense. Blood flows, pumps and flies in all directions depending on what you do to your enemy. Cutting with a knife gives you the sound of the slicing and the splatter of blood. Shooting someone is visceral, with body parts falling off.
And these games are readily available. Whilst they have a rating system I wonder how many adults really know what their children are playing. Let us review the two aforementioned games – Killzone 3 and Homefront. Both are rated MA15+, which means that it is restricted due to strong violence and coarse language.
What the rating system fails to mention is that you can witness a zombie’s head beiong blown clean off.
First-person shooters have been the flavour of the month now for some years, and it does not appear to be changing any time soon. So when your child say they are going out to buy a new game are you going to check out whether it is suitable for them?
Or are you just going to let them join the ranks of virtual murderers and killers that exist in cyber land? The choice is yours as a parent.