By: Krystle Crossman
Violent video games are very popular with young kids today. Many parents ban these games because they feel that the games are going to make their children violent as they grow older. Child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim disagrees with this completely. He states that violent video games are essential to a child’s development for reasons that many parents don’t think about or don’t see.
When a child is playing a video game such as a first person shooter game, they aren’t going around killing everyone in sight just for the fun of it. There are storylines. There are characters. There is a strategy. Kids need to be able to think about what strategy will work best in defeating the enemy and making sure that they stay alive in the game. You have to get pretty creative to think about these things. Bettelheim says that while kids are playing these games and shooting the enemies they feel like they are in control of something. They know that they have to use their skills to defeat the enemy which means they need to think critically about what they are doing.
Author Greg Toppo states that teens that are playing these games are not training to be serial killers or mass murderers. They are not playing to train themselves on how to kill police officers or their classmates. They are analyzing situations and thinking about ways that they can solve problems that they encounter. These skills are important later in life when they have to figure out problems such as math and word problems. They are useful skills that they will use throughout their education and their adult life. Many parents do not see this part of their child’s video game play, they only see the violence and the fact that their child is enjoying it.
Kids understand that these video games are fantasy and not reality. They realize that they will never go walking the streets of Los Angeles stealing cars and running from police. They know that they are not going to be walking through a post-apocalyptic wasteland killing people who are trying to kill them. The fantasy is part of the attraction with these games and almost all kids are able to see the difference.