Barack Obama mentioned GTA IV in a recent speech. He acknowledged that the game isn’t intended for kids, but his greatest concern isn’t with the game’s content, but rather that kids left to be raised by video games rather than spend time outside or doing more uplifting activities. Here’s a snippet of his speech:
â€œI was just catching the news this morning about Grand Theft Auto, this video game, which is gonna break all records and make goo-gobs of money for whoever designed it.
â€œNow, this isnâ€™t intended for kids, although I promise you there are kids who are playing it, but these video games are raising our kidsâ€¦
â€œAcross the board, middle-class, upper-class, working-class kids, theyâ€™re spending a huge amount of their time not on their studies, but on entertainment.
â€œAnd so part of our job is going to have to be to inspire the entire country to say, â€˜How are we giving our kids a thirst for knowledge?â€™
â€œAnd turning off the TV set, and getting them to be engaged and interested, like their future really does matter on how well they do in school.â€
Rather than blaming the content of games, Obama is blaming parents for allowing their kids to live unbalanced lives. If you ask me, this is the correct stance to take. As I grew up, games were less violent, but violence still existed in gaming. As I grew up, however, I was also very involved in sports, was expected to do well in school, and my parents were good to keep an eye on the games I played. As long as they could see that the things I was playing weren’t having an effect on me in a negative way (be it school, physical fitness, or emotional health), they never had a problem with the gaming I did.
The problem isn’t with the games themselves, but rather with the parent that would rather let their 7 yr. old kid spend an extra two or three hours in front of the TV playing games rather than taking them out to the park and teaching them to hit a baseball or throw a football. Kids aren’t going to self-regulate, so parents have to learn to be a bit more proactive and, well, you know, be a parent.
Note: I’m not endorsing Obama for anything nor any other candidate.