Why the call to remove Grand Theft Auto is dumb
BANNING Grand Theft Auto V from the shelves of Target isn't going to affect domestic violence, and it's simplistic to suggest it will.
A petition calling for Target to remove the latest version of GTA from its shelves has gained more than 13,000 signatures in just four days.
But if Target removes the game, what has been achieved? There are plenty of other places to buy it.
For parents worried about the effect the game might have on their kids, there's a simple solution - don't buy it.
The game is rated R18+ anyway, so by the time anyone gets their hands on it, they should be old enough to make sensible decisions about how they live their lives.
Of course, kids younger than that will play the game, but it's up to parents to deal with that and be aware of what their children are up to.
Expecting everyone else to bend to their will so parents don't have to do their jobs is unreasonable.
The petition says GTA makes a game of bashing, killing and horrific violence against women, which is correct… but there's also plenty of violence against men in the game too.
Are the people protesting against the game suggesting domestic violence against men will rise as a result too? If not, why not?
And will the theft of cars also increase?
Computer games are an easy target when it comes to dealing with society's ills.
But there are plenty of studies showing there is no link between gaming and violence in real life.
That's the thing about games - they're not real, and most people who play them realize that.
Playing violent video games isn't everyone's cup of tea, but no-one is making anyone else pick up a controller.
If you don't like it, don't do it. But don't go around pretending people who play games are going to turn into violent thugs.
Anyone who is a gamer will tell you the games provide stress relief and relaxation.
Given the increasing amount of road rage and angry people these days, surely taking out a day's stresses in a make-believe world is preferable to getting in someone's face when they cut you off at the lights?
I've raised two boys who both spent many hours playing computer games, including GTA, in their teen years and they haven't gone on to a life of crime or violence.
They're both well developed, contributing members of society. They've never stolen a car, or killed a prostitute.
Why? Because games don't have that much influence on people who are generally sensible, reasonable human beings.
There are so many more factors that go into making a criminal or an abuser - family history, parenting or lack thereof, socioeconomic status, education.
If people want to promote the message that violence against women is not okay, they would do well to call for more support for parents who need it, so we can all raise boys and girls who are respectful to others.