Debate Magazine

How Does a Gun Control Advocate Teach His Kid About Guns? Part II

Posted on the 15 November 2011 by Mikeb302000
My boy Alessio, whom I wrote about a couple months ago, has discovered video games. Up until now, he's played only racing games on the computer, both on the Wii and internet free sites.  I've watched him learn how to navigate, use the mouse, write the few words he needs to do searches.  I'd help when he asks or needs it, but I believe in as little interference as possible, always keeping an eye on what's on the screen. Suddenly, what I knew I'd see sooner or later was there, a shooting video game.
As I watched over his shoulder, he thinking I was still reading, I reflected on what it means.  What does he think as he hits the right key to blow away the enemy figure?  Does he feel something? Is there a connection between that simple game and real killing?  If a kid immersed himself in the more realistic video games, and spends hours a day playing, would that cause damage?

I remembered a recent post in which I declared toy guns should be banned. "Ban the sumbitches" is what I said.  The reason I had in mind was the fact that nowadays toy guns often look extremely realistic.  Cops, and others, mistake them for the real thing. People get hurt as a result, and more often than that law enforcement resources are wasted.
But, watching my boy playing that video game, his first, I realized there's something even worse, even more insidious than the relatively rare incidents in which toy guns are mistaken for real ones.  I was watching the very beginning of the inevitable and unavoidable progression that boys go through, video games, toy guns, real guns.
The lessons learned by countless repetitions of shooting and killing on the computer screen are eventually augmented by the BB guns and airsoft weapons young boys play with, and this is then all replaced , in some cases, with real guns. From beginning to end, it's about killing, and for the most part, about killing other humans.  That's sick.
What I saw Alessio doing the other day is sick.  Playing cops and robbers, or whatever kids play these days, is sick.  Shooting at paper targets or animals is sick. But how can I help? What can I do to help my boy?  I don't want to forbid and deny, surely that adds an element of curiosity and intrigue to the whole business.  I certainly don't want to encourage these sick pursuits either. Hopefully, Alessio will grow into a secure young man with enough common sense and rationality that he'll outgrow these childish interests. That's what I'll try to help him with.
What's your opinion?  Would it be better to shield him from the video games entirely?  He's only 7. With a good effort, I could probably keep him away from them for another year or two. What do you think?
Please leave a comment.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog