There’s a “news story on Gizmodo today”:http://gizmodo.com/343186/teen-strangles-father-with-gamepad-cable about a teen gamer who tried to strangle his father with a cord from a gaming controller. Apparently, the father had repeatedly told the boy to turn off the console and finally ended up going into the boy’s room and pulling the power cord, causing the boy to lose all his progress. The kid was so outraged that he proceeded to try strangling his father. Craziness.
Now, I know that as a kid, I often felt angry whenever my parents told me I needed to get off my Nintendo and either A) do my chores, or B) go outside for awhile, ((It might have been a different story had the Nintendo offered a way to save games so that all your progress wasn’t lost every time you quit.)) but I never felt compelled to attempt murder. And even now it’s frustrating to lose game progress to a power outage, disc failure, and console hiccup – but ultimately it’s not the end of the world, and certainly not something worth resorting to violence over.
This story is not, of course, about video games being responsible for violence. It _is_, however, an example of the evolution of cultural norms that place such a high level of value on entertainment that they make foreign ideas like personal control, restraint, and responsibility. Y’know, video games are a luxury, not an essential. If they’re the catalyst for behavioral problems in kids, the wisest thing a parent can do is take the games away until the child (or teen) has learned enough responsibility and self-control to be able to handle them without flying off at the handle. I mean, you can’t tell me that, in this case, this incident was the first time the parents had ever seen a behavioral outburst like this.