imageI am not a big gamer; I primarily love systems and how they work. I do own a PS3 (amazing hardware I might add) and I prefer FPS and generally devious natured video games (like the GTA franchise). Does that make me a bad person who wants to kill people? Of course not; nothing could be further from the truth. But some people stick their fingers in their ears and shout “LA LA LA Columbine LALALA Terrorists LALALA Violent Video Games!”. They say it is destructive to childrens young precious minds. The “Think of The Children” argument always disgusted me; its like shouting Fire in a packed room when their is no danger: it is false, just to garner attention and a sickening twisted version of the facts. Are violent video games harmful to kids? Probably; I wouldn’t advocate giving them access since they; just like movies are clearly rated for Adults. *

imageWhat is so hard to understand about that? Its is clearly an issue of parenting and morals whether you allow your child access to such material. So it is clear the real issue is the lack of proper guidance by parents; either to not bother enforcing the ratings, block their children from receiving them as gifts, or monitor to check if they spend pocket money on such items. They gladly do so for other adult items like adult content, movies, cigarettes and alcohol; why not video games? Today’s consoles even have ratings built-in (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) which are enforceable by a password the parent can set. This makes it a breeze to block adult games and really hard for the average child (never mind adult) to circumvent. They could still play it at a friends house of course; you can’t lock your children down, but even so you can actively limit their exposure to such material. The study points out what others and I have always known: Video games don’t corrupt a mind by themselves, other factors (mainly social/upbringing) have a much bigger impact (Highlighting mine for brevity):

Research at Smith & Jones seems to imply that feelings of anger and powerlessness often pre-exist a compulsion to play violent games. In some cases these people find each other in the gaming world and form a bond based on those feelings of alienation and anger.
Mr Bakker believes that if there was more commitment from parents and other care givers to listen to what their children are saying then these issues of isolation and frustration could be dealt with at source and bring many young people out of the virtual world and back into real life.

“If I continue to call gaming an addiction it takes away the element of choice these people have,” he says. “It’s a complete shift in my thinking and also a shift in the thinking of my clinic and the way it treats these people.”
Mr Bakker sees a time when addiction centres like Smith & Jones could close down if parents and adults in the community took more responsibility for the habits of their children. “In most cases of compulsive gaming, it is not addiction and in that case, the solution lies elsewhere.” - Courtesy BBC News