Computer Violence - Are your kids at risk?

VIDEO GAMES have become a pervasive form of entertainment in the 1990s. Today an estimated 69 percent of American families own or rent video and computer games. Most are harmless entertainment, but in far too many of the most popular ones, kids are acting out realistic violent experiences on their TV and computer screens. They are severing heads and snapping spines in Mortal Kombat IV. They are paying a go-go dancer to flash her breasts and then blowing her away in Duke Nukem 3D. They are scorching the high school band with a flamethrower until they burn to death in Postal.

“These are not just games any-more,” says Rick Dyer, president of the San Diego-based Virtual Image Productions and an outspoken critic of titles with violent and sexual content. “These are learning machines. We’re teaching kids in the most incredible manner what it's like to pull the trigger, The focus is on the thrill, enjoyment and reward. What they are not learning are the real-life consequences.”

Interactive video games introduce kids to a fantasy world that features amazingly lifelike characters, detailed images of brutality, and an audio mix of heart-pounding music, macabre sound effects and authentic voices. Unlike movies and television, where you watch the violence. the game lets you feel the sensation of committing violent acts. When you're into the game, you’re in the game.
"The technology is becoming more engaging for kids," says David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF), a watchdog group in Minneapolis, "and a segment of games features antisocial themes of violence, sex and crude language. Unfortunately, it's a segment that seems particularly popular with kids ages eight to 15."

Fonte: Reader's Digest, January 1999

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