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Grand Theft Auto 5

Here is one comment from Common Sense Media’s website review page for Grand Theft Auto:

Title: “It’s fine if you trust your child, and if your child has no anger issues”

Comment: “if your kid knows the firearms safety and is not showing signs of excessive anger, this is perfectly fine. i let my 14 year old son play this. its not about killing cops its about taking cars.If you trust your kid then this title is perfectly fine. (Copied exactly from website including spelling, punctuation, etc).

Here is another comment from the website: “The violence is OK and same with the sex. Any kid over 13 can handle it. Some swearing a alcohol. Great game” (again copied exactly as it is on the website).

I am already appalled by just the reviews and I haven’t even delved into the specifics of the game, although I know some of the things it contains due to the fact that my husband’s best friend purchased the game for his 8 year old son.  Shall we dive in and see what awaits?

A particularly alarming and sobering statistic from Wikipedia places debut sales for Grand Theft Auto 5 at $800 million in the first day of sales and $1 billion in the first three days.  “[Breaking] industry sales records and [becoming] the fastest-selling entertainment product in history (emphasis mine).”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Theft_Auto_V

Here are some of the things you can do in Grand Theft Auto 5 for the uninitiated.  You can torture your victims by pulling out teeth and electrocution (among others), steal cars (hence Grand Theft Auto), kill policemen, buy a prostitute, and then kill her.  You can steal a bus and drive it off a cliff, kick a dog to death being walked by its owner, and commit mass murder by crashing a plane into a building (sound familiar?).

And if that is not enough, there is the character with the never ending penis jokes.  Characters can visit strip clubs with scantily clad women and get a lap dance.  The three main characters are a bank robber, a gang banger and a meth cooker.  All partake in alcohol and drugs.  One character has children who are addicted.  The most shocking thing, to me, is the number of parents saying that it’s not so bad, it’s fine for 13 or 14 year olds, that they hear profanity at school and the violence is nothing more than can be found on the evening news.  Interspersed in these comments are things like “a mature child should be just fine playing it as long as they are not psycho,” “if your kid knows firearm safety and is not showing signs of excessive anger,” and my favorite, “suitable for sane children.”  https://www.commonsensemedia.org/game-reviews/grand-theft-auto-v/user-reviews/adult

It is true that every parent must choose for his or her child what is permissible, but the attitude that this is a harmless game is, at the least poor judgment, and it could be something that will come back to haunt you.

I think because this is “only a game” and “everyone’s playing it” parents think it is safe.  But it is in no way as innocuous as people think.  Parents who approve of this game are allowing their child to steal, run from and kill police officers, hire prostitutes, do drugs, and go to strip clubs in a virtual world.  History has shown over and over that violent and sexual entertainment is dangerous and harmful to a child, pushing some over the edge of reality into a fantasy world where the unthinkable can be done with little consciousness of reality, and the consequences cannot be stopped by turning off the TV when it gets too deep.

Parents are not friends, and no matter how much begging and pleading, threatening and tantrums are involved parents need to stand their ground.  Parents are the guardians of their children’s minds and lives.  Step up to the challenge and stand firm.  Children’s innocence, and even their very lives, can be on the line.

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4 comments

  1. Avatar

    As a gamer and a parent myself, I felt the need to reply to this post. Now mind you, it is not to be mean or discredit opinions in this post, it is just to maybe shed a little more light on the subject.

    GTA V is a game that is rated M. Meaning that it can not be bought by persons under the age of 18. And for very good reason! It does have implied sex, it does have alcohol, it does have drugs and you can beat up a dog as well as crash any vehicle into anyone or anything. You can beat or shoot some random person on the street and of course you can steal a car. Whilst there is one scene in GTA V where you have to torture someone for information, it only happens that one time. You cannot do that anywhere else in the game.

    Frankly this is what makes GTA so good. That is beside the point though. 😀

    A lot of my problem with this article stems from this:
    ‘It is true that every parent must choose for his or her child what is permissible, but the attitude that this is a harmless game is, at the least poor judgment, and it could be something that will come back to haunt you.’

    It is not the kid or the game that is the issue, it is the parents. When you teach you kids right from wrong, have them go to church, discipline them when need be and actually talk to them, they know that a game does in no way reflect on real life.

    I have been gaming for more than 30 years and I am in no way some psycho who steals cars and runs over hookers or thinks that I could actually go fly a plane just cause I did it in a game.

    My kids know this and most kids and parents do as well.

    I’ll tell ya a quick story: A few years ago I bought Saints Row 2 (ok, more that a few years ago) and it is basically a GTA clone. My daughter who was around 13 at the time wanted to play. I let her. She obeyed every traffic law while she played. It was quite amusing. She even said sorry when she hit someone.

    Playing a game does not make a person mean, violent or a rapist and any parent that actually spends time with their kids, watches what they do and play knows this.

    It is not the game, it is the parents! 😀

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      Glad to see you back Nxs. 🙂 I haven’t seen any posts from you in a while.~ Now I must respond.
      *Full disclosure – I don’t really care for games of any kind anyway, so I wouldn’t have a comment on whether it is good, bad, or mediocre.

      I am not anti-gun nor do I think that playing games like GTA will ‘create’ violent criminals and ‘psychos’ out of those who play the games. (Though it cannot be denied that consistent exposure to such things desensitizes one to the violence.)
      For me, I guess it is the fact that (though I fail at times) I attempt to live by the words in Philippians.

      Philippians 4:8 The Message (MSG)
      8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

      That is not so easy in society today but one does not have to be a ‘bible-thumping’ 🙂 Christian to adhere to this message. It just makes sense to promote the best- not the worst, the beautiful – not the ugly. Filling our minds with those things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling and gracious is certainly a worthy goal to strive for.

      All the time spent playing a game that is filled with cursing, fighting, abuse, sex, drugs, alcohol, theft, and murder is in effect ‘glorifying’ the behavior. (for ‘fun,’ next time keep count of how many of the Ten Commandments are broken in the game.)

      The effects of the exposure games like these can be debated. But no one can make the argument that any game containing such things would pass the Pilippians 4:8 test. … then again, not everyone wants to live their life by that test.
      …and free will gives them that choice.

      I enjoy reading your comments. Don’t be a stranger. 🙂

      • Avatar

        Thanks for your reply, Melinda. Your points are well made also. I see that I did not Biblically support my subject, so something to work on going forward!

  2. Avatar

    Thank you, NXS for your polite, thoughtful and insightful answer and for showing that we, as Christians or people in general, can disagree without being rude or hateful. I see Melinda’s point, but I see yours too.

    Obviously I don’t play this game (or any others although I used to be a Donkey Kong fanatic!), but I can relate in other areas, such as R rated or other movies or TV shows that I watch or allow my children to watch, although they are both grown now.

    I make a lot of choices that wouldn’t pass the Ten Commandments test, as we all do. My approach to this game is not exactly from a “Christian” perspective, but I see that in the future I need to focus more on that angle.

    Thanks again Nxs for being a reasonable voice on the other side of the issue, with a well supported and personal example. I still am not in favor of this game, but you do shed light on the issue from a parental standpoint that at least makes sense and supports your statements. Most of the comments I read in favor of allowing young teens to play were supported by the notion that by the time kids are 13 they have already been exposed to sex, violence and foul language. God bless!

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