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Grand Theft Auto V: An Escape from Reality

Updated on February 11, 2018

Grand Theft Auto V is one of my favorite games for the PS3. The countless missions and side missions are fantastic. I couldn't tell you the amount of times I have gone on a gratuitous rampage on Los Santos via assault rifle, knife, or bus. Whenever I'm having a bad day or mad at someone, I turn on my system to the open world of Los Santos. Of course, I would never carry out such criminal acts. I would never steal a car. I would never rob a bank. I would never shoot up my school. As cliche as it sounds, it's only a video game.

Still from Grand Theft Auto V
Still from Grand Theft Auto V

Video games are an escape from reality. It's the opportunity to experience what we would almost never experience in the real world. When you think about it in those terms, that can be artificially incredible. They are not meant to be taken seriously. Many people who have psychopathy or Asperger's who have behavioral problems use video games as a coping skill to vent those violent thoughts out using entertainment. Everyone is different.

If violent video games cause violent behavior, wouldn't that be like saying erotic films cause sexual behavior?

Can you use the same argument that erotic films cause sexual behavior?

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey probably goes without an introduction, but just in case, it is an erotic novel that contains 90% of graphic sex scenes of BDSM that are explained down to the dirty detail. If a kid were to get his hands on a copy of that, would he be at risk of making sexual, derogatory comments towards a girl?

It should be fair to say that everyone experiences lustful thoughts of the opposite sex now and again. The exact same can be said with violent video games. Nearly, if not all, every teenage kid has fantasizing of wanting to go on a violent rampage. This doesn't necessarily confirm they are a potential school shooter or mass murderer. As long as kids know how to maintain themselves, they should be fine.

Of course, video games aren't meant for everyone. Games like Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto aren't meant to be played by kids under 15. As the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rates movies, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates said video games either T for Teen or M for Mature. They also give a descriptive list of reasons why the game is rated in such way. They place these here for a reason. They tell the parents what their kids should and should not play.

ESRB rating of Grand Theft Auto V
ESRB rating of Grand Theft Auto V

Is it the parent's responsibility?

If a kid were to shoot up their school because of a video game, then that is the parents' fault. They should know how to filter what their kids watch and play. All they have to do is look at the back of the case and see what the game's contents have.

If their kids that are under 12 are playing video games, they really need to look at the game's contents before allowing them to play it. A game rated M should not be played by children 16 and under. T-rated games is up for debate for the parents, as they should see what type of video game it is.

Parents should be in control of what their kids play.
Parents should be in control of what their kids play.

So to answer the introductory question: not necessarily. If a kid under 15 is playing Grand Theft Auto V, it's the parents' fault. This isn't to say violent video games NEVER cause violent behavior. In cases of people with psychopathy, video games might be part of the cause. Nonetheless, blaming video games for violent behavior isn't very accurate. It's the individual themselves that are to blame.

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