Alarm at violent video games

Today, playing video games and watching interesting videos on the internet are among the indispensable activities that hundreds of millions of people spend their leisure time on to have fun. Advanced visual effects, action scenes and unusual stories make video games much more appealing than their alternatives. Children and teenagers especially show great interest in video games of various exciting genres such as adventure, sports, racing, war and strategy.

Indeed, it is a clear fact that there are many benefits to playing video games, as it assists in developing children and teenagers' intelligence and skills and improves their general sense of culture. However, there is an important point of discussion, which is the destructive psychological effect that the increasing promotion of violence in the virtual world has on children and teenagers. Many psychologists, sociologists, educators, communicators and academics agree with this view. As a matter of fact, most of the computer games that appeal to millions of children worldwide include violence.

Besides the games that encourage violence and can even lead one to suicide, the number of such videos is also quite high. 'Choking Games', 'Fire Challenge', 'Eyeball Challenge', 'Human Embroidery', '48 Hours Challenge' are among these.

Those who play violent video games and watch violent movies are known to grow aggressive over time and begin to exhibit various behavioral disorders. Experts point out that these games, which dull ethical behavior and drive people to hatred, hostility and aggression by desensitizing them, are addictive and encourage harmful actions against others. Children and teenagers who are continuously subjected to these games and movies acquire a marginalized sense for firing a gun, and for killing or harming themselves or others.

One of the latest examples of this is a new trend that has become widespread in China: Human embroidery; that is, stitching patterns into one's skin and publishing pictures of the result. It is believed that this was inspired by a forbidden Japanese character and follows a trend set by another game called 'Blue Whale', a 'game' of self-harm and suicide.[1]

Blue Whale, developed in Russia and spread to the whole world through social media, is another controversial game. Child and teenage suicide cases in many different countries in the world such as China, India, Iran, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States are associated with this game.

Participants of Blue Whale, which targets children between 10 to 14 years of age, are asked to perform 50 violent acts each day. This 50-day long game features commands such as self-inflicting cuts in the arms and legs, remaining isolated, and listening to loud music. At the end of this period, the player is commanded to commit suicide by jumping from a high place or by hanging himself.

Despite the attempts to ban this game, it has spread all over the world through social media. Moreover, Blue Whale is not the only example; there are hundreds more that drive children and teenagers to violence and suicide. However, putting a ban on this game has not been successful.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has published a list of recommendations on how parents can protect their children from Blue Whale. In this list, it is recommended that parents should ensure their children browse useful websites suitable for their age rather than websites that promote unethical behaviors and violence, and parents are also recommended to ensure that their children can access the Internet only on a shared computer located in a common area of the house. Parents are also advised to talk to their children often and pay close attention to them.[2]

Pink Whale was developed in Portugal against the harmful and dangerous ways of Blue Whale. This game is based on the principle that one can do good over the Internet. Some of the rules of this game are having a positive mood, loving oneself and others, making new friends and helping people in need.

Despite technical or legal bans and other efforts, the games and movies that promote violence can still be easily accessed, and the number of children and teenagers falling into this trap still increases. This shows that a great deal of responsibility falls to families in solving the problem.

Children who grow up with love and respect through strong and warm family ties tend to have a peaceful and balanced inner world. In the absence of these strong ties, it is inevitable for children to break away from their family and social environments and gravitate towards harmful trends in the virtual world.

It is extremely important for parents to strengthen their children with a strong personality and good morals. It is likely for children and teenagers who grow up without guidance in this regard to become loveless individuals who are only concerned with material gain, who do not care about anyone but themselves, who tend to give up when faced with the slightest difficulty, and who are likely to adopt a desperate and pessimistic mood and lose their will to live, turning into people with mental problems, ready to commit a crime. Children should be raised as spiritually strong individuals that enjoy beauty with a moral code that teaches treating every living being kindly and positively. Such children are unlikely to fall into a spiritual void and become vulnerable to the dangers that lead to evil and perverseness.

Today there is the danger of 'Blue Whale' or 'human embroidering', yesterday there were others, and yet another danger will arise tomorrow; hence it is important to get to the root of the problem and analyze effective solutions.




Adnan Oktar's piece in The Daily News (South Africa)

2017-12-23 05:54:48

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