You’ve probably heard by now that Katie Couric has jumped on the “video games cause violence” bandwagon. And it’s just one of many scare pieces and attempts to shove the blame for violence off onto something else in recent days.
There’s a lot wrong with video game scare pieces, and not just because they demonize games. And you can help stop them, right now, by calling your parents.
Before you wonder if I’m also going to advise you to drink your milk and avoid drugs, hear me out.
Your parents are likely the target demographic of the news. And the news business is a business, so they’re going to target their audience with what they believe.
Overwhelmingly, your parents believe that gamers, in the general sense, are ticking time bombs. So the news is going to cater to that belief, and will do so until it’s proven definitively wrong, or a new type of media comes along to terrify everybody who won’t go near it.
The reality is, anybody trying to say video games cause mass violence or mental illness is wrong. Demonstrably so; sadly there were plenty of rampage killers and school massacres out there before gaming came along. Unfortunately, abstract arguments aren’t going to cut it.
Nor does Katie Couric care what you think. Are you kidding? Look at this tweet:
Passionate gamers upset w convo whether violent video games can contribute to v behavior. Tweet the positive side of violent v games? Thanx!
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) May 3, 2013
Deliberately or not, she’s stacking the deck. The news doesn’t want to hear from gamers. Gamers don’t buy adult incontinence products, so essentially they don’t exist.
But Katie Couric, and every other news organization, cares what your parents and grandparents think. They care a lot.
So, take a moment. Give them a call or sit down with them. Ask them what they want to know about games. Explain why you play them, and why you enjoy them. Explain that they taught you the difference between fantasy and reality, and that almost all gamers are just like you. And yes, a handful are sick, but that’s got nothing to do with games.
I had a conversation like this with a relative a few years ago. And I’m not going to lie; it can be frustrating. People do not want to hear that their beliefs are anything other than 100% correct. But stick with the ultimate point, which is “You know a gamer. That gamer is me. Please think about me when you see something like this on the news. Ask yourself if it’s games or some other more serious factor.”
There’s not going to be a tearful apology. I certainly didn’t get one. But I will say this: That relative has not parroted the national news on the topic in front of my family since we talked.
It may not be much, but if every gamer does it? It’s a start.