Video Game Violence Featured on NST’s Frontpage

“Parents must ensure they are not building a generation of fat violent kids”. Hmm. That was from an anonymous “consumer advocate” in an article for a feature that was plastered on the front page of yesterday’s News Straits Times.

The feature, titled “Are You Doing This to Your Child: From Fast Food to Video Games…We are Cultivating a Generation of Obese Kids with a Violent Bent”, and yeah, there’s that obligatory shot of GTA IV right there on the cover.

You can usually expect a ridiculous bunch of articles when you see the press appointed “poster child” on a feature such as this, but after reading the ’em, they turned up much better than the “ban everything” letter from the president of the Consumer Association of Penang.

First article, Fighting Violence. This is pretty good (except for the last line), urging parents to take charge over what they buy for their children and pay heed to ESRB ratings (there are two side articles, describing ESRB and the evolution of vidoe games savagery….look, there’s another shot of GTA IV!).

Check it out (article taken from here):

DO parents really know what they are buying when they pick up video games for their children?

Video games have ratings to warn parents of their contents but in many cases, parents and vendors are not aware of how important these ratings are, or even of their presence.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers’ Association secretary-general and chief executive of the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC), Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah, said traders and buyers alike did not take the ratings seriously.

“These classifications are given by the producers of the games but when they are sold, traders rarely make it a practice to sell according to the recommended age group. They do not see how serious an impact it can have on children,” he said. Sha’ani said exposure to negative content at a very young age could affect children later in their life.

“It is similar to what happened when junk food and fast food became available to children. We are now seeing many obese children.

“Similarly, in 20 years, we may have adults who practise the wrong values,” he said. He added that it was important for parents to check the ratings of games bought by their children. “There is no law on video games. Therefore, these ratings must be actively promoted to parents.”

Another consumer advocate said the government should consider imposing rules on the sale of video games, much like the way children were not allowed to watch certain movies.

He admitted, however, it could be difficult to enforce because many of the video games on the market were pirated copies and sold “underground”.

“The onus is on parents. Just as many failed to realise the dangers posed by junk food, today’s parents are also failing to realise the dangers of violent video games and television shows,” he said.

He said the government was doing something about violence on TV by having certain programmes aired only later in the night. “However, for video games, it is the parents’ duty to ensure they don’t contain violent content. “Parents must ensure they are not building a generation of fat, violent kids.”

FYI, I’ve known kids who indulged (and they still do) in video games and still can run circles around you in a badminton court, or a squash court for that matter. I myself played games, and I can run 10 kilometers in an hour….without the urge of kicking the occasional stray dog that crosses my path. Generation of fat, violent kids? CRAP.

The second article, Video Games: Anger Management is Key, it’s a little bit lofty. I mean if my mum enrolled me into anger management classes at 5, that would have meant that I was seriously farked up. Sunday School is way better option at 5, don’t you think? Read below or click here for the original article

AGGRESSIVE behaviour is natural among adolescents, who are also more easily influenced by violent content on television and video games.

Kenneth Phun, senior lecturer in socio and educational psychology at Help University College, blames it on biology. “The prefrontal cortex of the brain, which controls executive decision-making and self-regulation, is not fully developed in adolescents.

“The amygdala, which serves as an early warning system in the brain against threats, is already highly developed and usually, in teenagers, it reacts in a very emotional way. This is why teenagers are more prone to reacting emotionally rather than rationally.”

He said corrective measures should be taken from an early age. “They need a lot of guidance and learn that they have to accept who they are. “Posting video clips on the Internet is their 10 seconds of fame. It is the vehicle for aggression. If you take that away, they will find something else.”

Phun said a tip could be taken from schools in the United States, where anger management is being taught. “They start with children as young as 5 years old and research has shown that it works. “Teenagers need a way to boost their self-esteem.”

Dr Edward Chan, principal consultant psychologist of the Malaysian Psychology Centre (MPC), agreed that it was natural for teenage boys to be aggressive. He said in tribal cultures, it was normal practice for teenage boys to go through a rite of passage into adulthood, which usually involved a violent act.

“In the tribal culture, the youngsters are guided, but here, the aggression is unsupervised, making it more dangerous. If they cannot find an accepted form, they will find alternatives,” he said. On using the Internet to “boast” about their violent acts, Dr Chan said this was a form of self-expression.

“Sites like YouTube allow them space to vent aggression. which is a natural part of growing up. This is mainly for boys and it is something we cannot suppress. “They don’t find acceptance or understanding from parents and teachers, so they look for the next best avenue, which is acceptance from their peers,” Chan said.

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