Video Games

April 11, 2000

Is it time to enforce the ratings on video games? If you ask Dave Grossman, it's past time. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is the author of the Pulitzer-prize nominated book On Killing and a recent book entitled Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill. He is an Army ranger and recently appeared on 20/20 with John Stossel to talk about how point-and-shoot video games teach our children to kill.

Many of these dangerous games (like Doom and Kingpin) are rated M and should be restricted. Nevertheless, many of these games are sold to children in stores and from the Internet. Why? If a movie is restricted, at least the movie theater goes through the pretense of trying to restrict access. The same is true for other restricted access.

Dave Grossman told me that even though these games are restricted with an M rating, the rating is not enforced. We regulate alcohol, tobacco, guns, and pornography. Adults can have access to such things, but children are restricted. He argues that video games that carry such a rating should be restricted as well.

Consider the case of Michael Carneal (the shooter at West Paducah, Kentucky). Although Michael had never fired a gun, he had played dangerous video games. When he fired a .22 caliber pistol at the prayer group eight times, he had eight hits. Five of these hits were head shots. Dave Grossman says this performance demonstrates how Michael was essentially trained to kill by playing video games. In essence, the games were a killing simulator.

Does that mean that every kid who plays these video games will be a Michael Carneal? Of course not. Does that mean that these games can be dangerous and need to be restricted? Absolutely. We have a rating system, but it isn't being enforced. Now is the time to start.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.