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"My Four-Year-Old Son Plays Grand Theft Auto"

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  • "My Four-Year-Old Son Plays Grand Theft Auto"

    Before you yell 'but think of the children!' and decry this man as the worst father ever, read the article. You'll probably be surprised and maybe even cheered up, as I was.

    At the very impressionable age of four, my son loved Grand Theft Auto. More specifically, the version he played was the Hot Coffee moddable, San Andreas.
    |TG-Irr| westyfield

    Sig pic by Sonic, avatar by Chalcas. Thanks!
    Irregular since 2007.

  • #2
    Re: "My Four-Year-Old Son Plays Grand Theft Auto"

    This might should be moved to the sandbox forum.
    I am pretty sure we have had a similar discussion about this topic at TG before, but it may have been on another site, but I will repeat pretty much what I said then.

    Hey, I'm glad he got to have a father son moment with his kid, and it seemed like his kid knows the difference between right and wrong.


    One short supervised exposure to a game is not going to have that much of an effect on the kid.

    First of all, I love GTA, and have been playing every one since the original released on the Playstation1. That and pretty much any other game I wanted to play regardless of rating. So I'm not a hater.

    But jobs I've had since I got out of college have usually been working with kids/students in an educator/counselor role, and many of the kids were at-risk youth and a lot from places like the Juvenile Detention Center. When the kids are out of school I worked at summer camps and nature centers. Believe it or not I don't like kids that much and hope to never have one of my own (depending on what the wife decides in that department). I like working with kids because I had a hard time growing up sitting in class everyday listening to a teacher drone on and on and got in trouble constantly from ADD. I feel like I'm helping make a difference if I can show them there is a better way of doing things and not getting into trouble. Experiential education/learning really is the answer to a lot of the kids that are having a hard time in school.

    And I have had MORE than my fair share of trouble kids (probably the reason I am now going gray at only 32). My bosses always assigned me the worst groups because they knew I could handle it, and I saw lots of other facilitators quit after only one or two days on the job. Lots of facilitators even crying at afternoon processing after the kids left for the day. There are some really hurt and messed up kids out there.

    The point of all that being said is the kids that I always had the worst time with, the ones that I grimaced on the inside everytime I thought about dealing with them, were the same ones that I could talk about GTA and other violent games with. They knew their way around Liberty City just as well as me, and would have no problem telling you some hints on how to beat a mission. And I'm talking ages as young as 7 and up through early 20s.

    The only problem is I don't know if the kids are in the situation they are in because of bad parenting, exposure to violent games/movies, or they are just wired wrong. My best guess is it is a combination of all of the above. And one will just compound the others. My thinking is that if you have a kid with ADD/ADHD, and the parenting sucks either do to crap parents or parents who have no choice to be gone all the time for work to feed the family, the violent games just supercharge the problems that are already there. I really wish there was a way to do a study where kids with problems and a messed up parenting situation could be used as a control group where their exposure to violence was limited to see how they would grow up. Would they be in trouble less? Less prone to alcohol/drugs? Etc?

    I don't know. But I do know that the games available today are so much more immersive than the games we grew up on. You can't compare squashing mushroom to doing drive-bys like the author of the article did. And I am a bit concerned that as gfx. improve approaching photo realism, and new tech like heads up displays and body controllers improve, that the situation is going to get worse.

    I do know that if I do have a kid (or adopt, which is more on the table for me personally), my kid will not be playing games like GTA until he is old enough to drive. I know that it's easy to say that, but just like dads stash their porn, they should be stashing their GTA. If the kid gets some game time in at a friends house, not much I can do. Hell, I watched R rated moves at a buddies house before I was supposed to. But that is limited in time unlike letting a kid vegetate in front of the playstation for hours on end.

    Anyway, that is my long winded view on the subject, but I do have a very good prospective most reading the article above wouldn't, so I figured it was worth sharing. Thanks for reading if you stuck it out :D

    Edit: By the way, in case you are wondering the absolute worst group I ever had, and they came once a year to the park I was working at, was the Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia. I worked countless groups with kids forced to be there by the court system, kids from gangs like MS13, etc., and the Academy was the one I dreaded the most. The kids were only like 12 years old, but it was pure chaos from the moment they got to the parking lot to the moment they pulled out. Constantly hitting each other, cussing, calling each other horrible names, total disrespect for the female teachers and my female co-facilitator, not following any safety rules (kind of a problem on a high ropes course), etc. And they were supposed to be just normal kids at the school. The afternoon processing with the facilitators that worked that group were always just all of us sitting around asking WTF and WHY WHY WHY? I sat and thought for a while about if I should post the group's school name, but I decided it needed to be said. I actually hope someone from the school reads this and realizes that after working thousands of groups I can easily say they were by far the worst. And the person reading this takes a long look at whatever it is they are doing wrong with those kids. I realize it has to mostly be the parents fault, but it still needs to be said.
    Last edited by Bamboo; 06-22-2010, 05:22 PM.


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    Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

    -Carlos A. Urbizo-


    • #3
      Re: "My Four-Year-Old Son Plays Grand Theft Auto"

      Thats so awesome. I hope i have a kid like that.

      Proud to have been an Irregular, HeadHunter, and a Siege Corps Engineers!


      • #4
        Re: "My Four-Year-Old Son Plays Grand Theft Auto"

        Who cares what kids play its what they do after they play the game. Its all about choice sure I drug deal and kill gangsters but thats just on gta 4. I know whats right and wrong so I make the right choices.


        • #5
          Re: "My Four-Year-Old Son Plays Grand Theft Auto"

          Originally posted by 71497 View Post
          Who cares what kids play its what they do after they play the game. Its all about choice sure I drug deal and kill gangsters but thats just on gta 4. I know whats right and wrong so I make the right choices.
          Somebody taught you the lessons that let you make the right choices, just like the 4 year old already knew not to take things that don't belong to him.
          When the time you should be spending with a parent learning those lessons is spent playing GTA4 there are going to be affects later.
          But the idea that video games are the primary reason children are violent is just another way to avoid responsibility.
          What is the father going to tell the child when he realizes the game is built around being a criminal ?
          How do you answer that question " Daddy? do the other children want to be criminals ?" __ "No, they don't son"__" Then why do like pretending to be criminals so much ? "
          You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
          So that when they turn their backs on you,
          You'll get the chance to put the knife in.Pink Floyd "Dogs"


          • #6
            Re: "My Four-Year-Old Son Plays Grand Theft Auto"

            Nice article! I have never personally played any of the newer GTA games, I did play the first two though. I personally would not let my kids near them, but I think its really cool that a kid that young can turn something on its head like that. I think some people are reading this a little backwards though, the experience left more of an impression on the father than it did the son.


            • #7
              Re: "My Four-Year-Old Son Plays Grand Theft Auto"

              I like the article simply because it shows the simple facts that game isn't a huge effect on a person and how a person already is, is what matters the most. That four year old kid knew right from wrong and that's what mattered more than any game could say.

              Either way, it's a work of fiction. I love to go on a rampage in a game, kill people and generally make all the world serial killers combined look like a box of kittens. Always have liked to do that simply because it's cathartic to let off the stress of the average day and not doing it to another real person. It's been proven enough that Games, like all hobbies/past-times/whatever are great at relieving stress when done in the right amounts.
              At the same time though, in some games I love being the good guy. Helping random people, if I see an injustice - fight it. I've done that on GTA as well so, I guess it all depends on the day and what I feel like at that moment.

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