Just when I think that nothing can further lower my opinion of certain campaign groups, something like this comes along and demonstrates just how clueless some people really are; the same people who are otherwise clever enough to form an activist group, lobby support, publicise their ideals and call on the government to initiate even more force against innocent citizens who, it is felt, have violated the campaigners’ righteous standards for decency.
To summarise: in Vietnam a 15 year old boy who’s addicted to online gaming lured a 7 year old girl to the woods, where he beat her to death with a rock and robbed her to fund his “addiction”.
The most obvious question that no one seems to be asking is: where are the little psychopath’s parents? Another good question is: how many hundreds of millions of people around the world also play online and don’t feel the need to murder? Furthermore: what kind of a warped and psychotic mind treats murder as casually as shoplifting, and who seriously thinks such an individual would not end up acting violently sooner or later anyway?
The idea of violent games producing violent behaviour is a bogus argument in the first place in that it begs the question. That is: do violent games produce violent behaviour, or do violent people enjoy those sorts of games? And why do the enormous majority of gamers act responsibly and peacefully regardless of game content?
Elizabeth Woolley lost her son to suicide, apparently because of his addiction to online games. She says “Until governments around the world recognise it’s a problem, it’s just going to keep getting worse and worse in terms of murders and crimes caused by excessive and obsessive online game play”. With all due respect to Elizabeth’s loss, I assert that she is talking total and utter tripe. Speaking as someone who, by any standards, was addicted to an MMO for two and a half years, if you choose to kill yourself over an online game (for whatever reason) you have far worse problems than mere addiction. You are either an idiot, or have deep emotional issues and probably psychosis. Why is no one mentioning this nasty fact? Why is no one talking about mental health problems? Why is no one asking where the parents are as their children live online and then kill themselves or others?
A human being that consciously chooses to end their own life has either reached such depths of despair or hopelessness that there is no way out, or is suffering terrible depression or emotional devastation, or perhaps chronic agony, or loneliness. It is not a decision that one reaches lightly. Now consider the mental state of the person who decides to kill themselves over a computer game…and then tell me “it’s all the game’s fault.” Blaming a computer game for suicide is stupid. Yes, some mentally ill people have blamed their behaviour on songs, TV shows, movies and games – that’s why we call them mentally ill. Surprise!…emotionally disturbed and psychotic people do weird things!
To correct Miss Woolley’s statement above, I’d alter one word. Just one: ‘Until [parents] around the world recognise it’s a problem, it’s just going to keep getting worse and worse in terms of murders and crimes caused by excessive and obsessive online game play.’
She continues: “It’s exactly like drugs or alcohol – once people get addicted, they feel they have to have it. There are always certain people who will get addicted to a drug, and in gaming we estimate it’s about 20% to 30% of people.” Well you see, it’s NOT exactly like drugs or alcohol at all. In those cases there is a physical dependency which cannot just be broken. In the case of some drugs, immediate cessations can even cause death. Online gaming addiction is purely psychological, if that. Adults are responsible for taking care of their own physical and mental health. Parents are responsible for taking care of their child’s physical and mental health. If your child kills himself or goes off and murders another child and you think it’s because of an online game, instead of asking Big Brother to step in and pass more fascist laws, maybe you should be asking yourself what YOU could have done better. Did you know how much time your son played online? Do you know what he was playing? How did he get the game in the first place? Who was paying for it? Did you investigate the content? Did you set limits on his time? Did you make him do chores and other activities? Were you always there for him? Did you make him feel secure and loved at home so that he wouldn’t want to escape into a fantasy world?
No, let’s not bother with personal responsibility. It’s 2011, let’s get with the times. This is how we do things nowadays: ‘Dear Government, could you pass a law dictating to game creators and the 99.9999% of their customers who CHOOSE to make and purchase certain types of games for their own private recreation, what they can and can’t produce and enjoy?’
The worrying thing is not just that this is yet another call for fascism, made blindly and stupidly by those who might otherwise have good intentions, but the sheer idiocy of the position and the total denial of parental responsibility which, if it was better, could arguably prevent a lot of social and criminal problems in the first place. This is the worrying thing; not the ever-increasing slide towards fascism around the world, but the millions of idiots who brainlessly offer up their freedom and their minds to such a cause. And in doing so, offer everyone else’s up too.