Banning video games – taking responsibility as a society

| December 11, 2014

Target Australia recently pulled the R-rated video game Grand Theft Auto V from its shelves following feedback about the game’s depictions of violence against women. Angela Borbilas says it’s time for the community to come together and recognise that we all have to do our part.

How’s social responsibility doing these days? The recent events relating to Target’s withdrawal of the violent R rated video game Grand Theft Auto reveal Australian society’s performance on this very issue.

Parents blamed the stores, gamers blamed the parents and everyone else blamed the gamers and gaming industry. No one, it seems, wanted to take any responsibility for years, other than a minority of parents who just said ‘no’.

Whilst many people appeared to be pleased with Target taking this position as parents are ignoring the R rating on the game and keep purchasing it in droves, gamers and others cried foul, stating everything from science’s lack of absolute certainty, parents lack of responsibility and civil liberties.

So who was socially responsible and hasn’t picked up their tab?

The gaming industry has been profiting for years knowing full well that many of their consumers are under 18.

Target and many other ‘family friendly’ stores have been profiting for years knowing this as well until recently.

Gamers were often heard saying that ‘it’s the parent’s fault’, ‘don’t mess with our civil liberties’, and generally seemed to be of the opinion that they should be able to do whatever they pleased because it’s everyone else’s problem.

Whilst there is a battle on whether studies have conclusively proven that these games desensitise children to violence, no one can doubt that many studies point in this direction. The gaming industry and gamers conveniently use science’s inability to produce absolute proof to go about their business.

Many battle weary parents are caving to children’s demands which are mainly fuelled by peer group pressure. Like the gamers, conveniently, they just don’t want to believe in the potential damage.

And the government? The classification ratings system is just tokenism in this case.

Knock knock, ‘social responsibility’? No one’s home. Every man for himself.

The community in general has no sense of the widespread generational abuse, social impact or social responsibility.

And, to make matters worse, everyone is mad as hell. There is not the slightest recognition of how we should all come together and compromise, even for our own sakes.

So the good news is that the process of change has moved forward to step one, identifying the problem, and big business has shown interest. The question is: How can we move forward to all of the players recognising that it is OUR problem and that we all have to do our part?

My guess is, if we start talking up real ‘social responsibility’, it’s time for a renaissance.