Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Video Games, Porn, and Addiction: Parents, Pay Attention!

With last week's news that one of the most popular video games actually has pornographic content built into it that kids can now unlock using a readily available code, it's time for Christian parents (of all faiths) to be much more vigilant about the risks of electronic entertainment these days. The youth I've known who spend vast amounts of time playing these games almost always languish in school. The odds of going on a mission tend to be greatly reduced. These are not healthy things. Parents, are you sure you're fulfilling your responsibilities to bless your children and protect them from harm? Not if you've purchased Grand Theft Auto! Ditto for many other video games.

21 comments:

Barbara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Barbara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Barbara said...

I am a bit of prude, perhaps. I admit that I have even been accused of being a wet blanket. But on reflection, I am not usually too sorry.

I am amazed at the furor over the hidden porn in Grand Theft Auto. It must be really bad. Standards seem so low. I have heard nothing uplifting about Grand Theft Auto and am amazed that loving parents would allow their children that kind of entertainment in the first place. It saddens me that this kind of thing is so popular. It should wither and die on the shelves, or better yet, venders should refuse to carry it and its type.

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of video games overall. However I know that there are some fun, wholesome ones. And that studies show that kids may even benefit from playing them, as long as they engage in other wholesome activites as well.

I think parents should be less afraid to parent and to control what comes into their homes. (Sometimes, alas, myself included!) Sadly, that might mean we parents have to actually grow up a little ourselves.

Barbara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Barbara said...

I appologize for the multiple postings. My computer and I seem to be quarrelling again.

T said...

GTA is rated M for Mature (although how mature can beating prostitutes and stealing cars be?). That alone should have waved a red flag for the grandmother that bought the game in the first place. Then again, if games like GTA weren't made, she wouldn't have been in that position in the first place.

T said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
T said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
T said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
T said...

It's not just you, Barb. Blogger is kinda haywire at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,
I think you could be much tougher and say taht a certain amount of video games ends the chance of a mission being served. I can also tell you that while some compulsive game players can succeed in school the certainly lose in a lack of good social interactions.

Kids are also buying $400 ipods with their summer jobs. I have heard of church youth working on summer jobs and spending their complete earnings on video/computer games and ipods.

They should be heeding counsel from the bretheren and saving mondy for a mission.

I would suggest that the Stake President have a meeting of all parents raising kids and sound the alarm.

Dads that permit nasty video games, and allow/encourage their kids to spend their income on games etc., and not save money for school/mission should possibly have their recommend taken from them.

Anonymous said...

)Once again we need to go back to basics and study. For the strength of the youth gives us simple guidelines. For the Strength of the YOuth should be required study material for parents of LDS youth.

Anonymous said...

" it's time for Christian parents to be much more vigilant about the risks of electronic entertainment these days."
Oh Yeah, cause we all know that only Christian parents are concerned that their children become addicted to video games and porn. I bet all those non-Christian parents could care less about their children. Great bog Jeff.

Mormanity said...

Since my presumed audience is Christian, that's who I was writing to. In no way did I mean to imply that anybody should not be concerned. I hope my concerns will be shared by Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and non-Christian people of all kinds (even the anti-Mormon street preachers that shout at Mormons wave underwear in their faces at General Conference).

Anonymous said...

One of the hallmarks of a negativist is to attack someone for what they don't say. Jeff, please don't feel the need to respond to such snide remarks. Nothing you can say will appease them, and as soon as you address one issue, they'll shoot another spitball.

If you had addressed your concern to parents of all faiths, he would have said something like "You're trying to force your so-called Christian beliefs on everyone else."

I hope you feel free to either ignore such snideness, or delete those comments, or turn off anonymous comments altogether.

captveg said...

I am 26, LDS, and I have a BA in Media Arts from BYU.

I find GTA: San Andreas to be 50% artistic masterpiece, 50% salacious trash. It appropriately received a M rating, making it the equivilant to the MPAA's R rating for films. People have to realize that video games have made it to the realm of films as far as the perceptive realism aspect goes, and perhaps even moreso due to the interactivity inherent in the medium.

So, yes: Parents, Pay Attention! This game is not for children and/or underage youth.

Now, that being said, what makes the game 50% masterpiece and 50% trash? Well, the latter is obvious: the language (so excessively over the top it has no excuse, even in the narrative style of Naturalism); the pointless (and frankly dull) girlfriend storylines complete with sexual relations, which even without this idiotic code was suggestive enough to be given the M for this alone; and the general corruption of all authority figures, whether it be police, politicians, etc.

Now, the other 50% part - the game is geniusly crafted, and the narrative is fascinatingly complex in one of the better examples of non-linear gameplay ever provided. Additionally, its most redeeming value is the social commentary - the game is one large black comedy along the lines of Dr. Strangelove. By making the violence and general hoodlumism so excessively flippant, it is essentially mocking that fruitless lifestyle. But even this aspect is not tapped to its full potential, and ultimately betrays itself (more on this later).

Now, video games are not yet being seen as anything more than entertainment, and they won't be for several more years. Yet the stories they tell are more complex than any other medium. There's a complex balance that the game programmers have to deal with, and that is to make a game that is engaging on a very lowbrow level and yet engage the mind. GTA does this, but often shoots itself in the proverbial foot by putting in everything but the kitchen sink when it comes to what can shock.

Despite the M rating, it is most often not mature. It's trying to be The Sopranos, GoodFellas or The Godfather of video games, but it misses the major point of those shows/films: that a mob lifestyle is damning and unredeemable. (Indeed, at the end of GoodFellas, despite being physically free from the mob life and safely in the witness protection program, Henry Hill is utterly damned because his heart hasn't changed - he misses the carnal pleasures that his power in the mafia provided). GTA has no such moral compass among the wallow in the mire, and like I said before, it ultimately fails in providing appropriate pathos and contrast to the black humor it sustains.

Anyway, as anyone who has read this can clearly see, Media and its purpose and effects are my areas of concern, and I generally have more of a liberal attitude regarding them.

But, for heaven's sake, parents, don't think video games are Pong anymore. They have come of age. Literally.

REDguy said...

In response to one of the comments made below: I think it is most unwise to wait on retailers, or the video game industry as a whole to have any more regard for your children than do tobacco companies. They're ruled by the almighty dollar. Parents are and always have been the best guides for their children. Don't put such a tremendous responsibility in the hands of a commercial enterprise.

David said...

what do you think of this email Jeff?:

50 ways that you can work toward building a great society:

1. If you have children, carefully monitor their television time and internet use; know who their friends are; check their homework nightly; provide them with healthy nutritious meals every day; ensure that they get physical activity and that they get enough sleep; spend time with them and engage them in fun wholesome activities. Talk to them and tell them how much you love them often. If you don’t have the time or energy for all this, do not have more children.

2. Don’t scream at, denigrate, or hit children.

3. Be truly honest with yourself and others. (This is not the same as being mean or sarcastic.)

4. Study the issues before voting using a variety of sources. If you don’t have the time to thoroughly understand the issues, don’t vote.

5. If you see someone throw their cigarette butt or other litter on the street, let them know that you don’t appreciate it.

6. If you see someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol in an area that children use (parks, on a train, near shops, etc.), notify the police.

7. Avoid using or buying cars as much as possible. Walk, bicycle, use public transportation, move closer to work, get a job closer to home, etc.

8. Do not contribute to suburban sprawl. Do not engage in new construction; renovate an existing structure instead.

9. Avoid hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, farmed salmon, sodium nitrate. Check ingredients.

10. If you are a parent of school-age children, insist that school administrators remove disruptive children from the classroom. If you are a teacher, insist that school administrators remove disruptive children from your classroom and always fully report and document any violent or abusive behavior engaged in by students.

11. Vote with your pocketbook: If you don’t want to support pedophiles, don’t pay for movies directed by pedophiles. If you don’t want to support child abusers, don’t buy music created by child abusers. If you don’t support prostitution, don’t pay for movies starring someone who uses prostitutes. Ask like-minded people to join you in this effort.

12. Keep your charitable donations in line with your principles. For example, if you believe that men and women should be treated equally in the workplace, you should not give money to an organization that decrees that women may not occupy the top job.

13. Be aware of how your charitable donations are being used, in order to keep the usage of your donations in line with your principles. There are many well-meaning people who have spent many dollars on organizations that purport to help unwed mothers. However, these organizations actually talk these unwed mothers out of getting pre-natal care. And then as soon as the baby is born, the organization will no longer help. Always be very careful about who is pocketing your contributions and exactly every way that the monies are being used.

14. If you believe that a college or university is not providing appropriate stewardship of its students, do not attend classes at that institution, do not send your children to that institution, do not recommend that institution, and think twice about hiring graduates of that institution.

15. If you are a smoker, don’t smoke in the vicinity of non-smokers. If you are a non-smoker, stay far away from someone who is smoking.

16. Lobby your lawmakers and courts to keep violent criminals behind bars while keeping non-violent criminals on house arrest. Lobby for bigger fines for lawbreakers, especially in corruption cases. If your lawmakers and judges will not listen, move to replace judges and/or consider running for local office yourself.

17. Tell your political leaders that you expect them to uphold and enforce the law. (Write letters, protest, get creative on how to send this message.)

18. Vote for those who promise to rid us of the huge deficit and debt. Tell your lawmakers that you are sick and tired of pork and corruption.

19. If you are a patriotic American, buy American goods and services.

20. Stay healthy: Eat nutritious foods, get some exercise, have the occasional physical and dental checkup, remember to take any prescribed medications, avoid dangerous sports, use SPF when outdoors, use condoms if you engage in intercourse, get enough sleep, etc.

21. Ask the brightest and most honest people you know to volunteer for your local Board of Elections. If you are a registered voter, volunteer to staff polling places on election days. (Many companies will allow their employees to take a personal day for this purpose.)

22. If you are married, do not have an affair without first telling your spouse that you are thinking about it. Either be honest about your feelings and give your spouse fair warning, or don’t have the affair.

23. Make your opinions and principles known to others. (This is not the same as giving advice.)

24. Do not press your religious or spiritual beliefs on others, and do not allow anyone to insist on pressing their beliefs on you or your children.

25. Reject materialism. If you have a garage or spare room full of unused stuff, it is time to reassess your spending habits. If your house or car is larger than what you need, downsize.

26. Don’t do anything you’d be embarrassed about if everyone knew that you’d done it.

27. If you are aware of fraud or corruption, report it.

28. Do not have unnecessary surgery. Do not pay for unnecessary surgery for someone else.

29. If you witness someone breaking the law or behaving suspiciously, take the time and effort to report it to the police.

30. Obey your local laws. If there are laws that you don’t agree with, lobby and organize to change them.

31. Do not protect someone you know to be a child molester by keeping it secret.

32. Do not have a child out of wedlock.

33. If you want a child, unless you and your spouse (as well as your extended families) are both in perfect physical, mental, and emotional health, adopt a child that needs a family instead of getting pregnant. The number of orphans is projected to reach 44 million within the next three years.

34. Do not have a child if you are not happy with your life.

35. Do not have a child if you are not completely positive that you and your spouse will remain happily married for the rest of your lives.

36. Do not have a child if you would not happily support that child financially for the rest of your life.

37. Do not have a child if you would not be completely thrilled about it, regardless of the child’s sex.

38. Do not have a child before you are very financially secure.

39. Do not have a child until you have been married for at least a year.

40. Do not have a child until you have either achieved a college degree or have experienced success in your chosen field.

41. Do not have a child if you argue with your spouse about taking care of children or step-children you already have.

42. Do not have a child if you already have a child or step-child with special needs.

43. If you are divorced and have children with your former spouse, do not remarry until the children are adults. If you do not have custody, reside within walking distance of your children’s residence.

44. Do not have children with more than one person.

45. Put your children first. (This is not the same as using your children as an excuse for staying in a bad marriage. Children do not thrive in a loveless or tense environment.)

46. If you are both Christian and for the death penalty, consider this: “’Vengeance is mine’, saith the Lord.”

47. If you are a dad, understand that your daughters need as much quality time with you as your sons do.

48. Don’t lie to children.

49. Don’t help to cover up someone else’s bad behavior or addictions.

50. Forward this email to everyone you know.

Anonymous said...

You sure seem to delete a lot of comments. why dont you let people say what they want to say instead of just keeping the comments that support YOUR idea.

Mormanity said...

The deletions were due to duplicate posts when Blogger was having trouble. I don't think I did the deleting, either.

Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions.

muralee said...

misperception, video game addiction;. There's a great children's book with a lesson on addiction, among other things.. You can recognize an addiction to video games the same way you can recognize any. can easily learn the Method from a seminar, book or audio program.. Amazon.co.uk: The Battle for Azeroth: Adventure, Alliance, and Addiction: Insights Into the World of Warcraft (Smart Pop): Books: Bill Fawcett by Bill. Image from: Grolier - The Frothy Ruminations New Book of Popular Science. One major challenge with video game addiction, experts say, is identifying.
----------------
macanze
Drug Rehabilitation Programs