I don’t think any of it has to do with the video games, television programs, movies, books, RPG’s (being a long time gamer, that’s a major sore point for me), or anything else.
It’s bad parents needing a scapegoat. There aren’t many people any more who are honest enough, when they screw up, to say, “Yes, I fucked up. I take responsibility.” No, it’s got to be someone else’s fault. If people spent half the time doing what they were responsible for doing instead of looking for someone to blame about it…well, that’s another tirade, for a different time. But it all starts at home, which is something said parents would conveniently like to forget.
I was brought up in a home with guns, was taught to respect them, and at an appropriate age, to use them. My husband is a police officer, and has multiple guns around the house, of necessity. His children have been taught that same respect for guns, and they know what the guns can do. He puts them away as a matter of course, but on the rare occasions that he does not, they’re left strictly alone. They’re not even an item of curiosity.
As far as games/movies/etc. go, we watch what they do; we listen to the music if we’ve got questions. Although we’re pretty liberal, and the kids are extremely sensible (the eldest particularly), we don’t hesitate to draw the line if we don’t like particular lyrics, or, in the case of the youngest, if a program seems to be affecting his behavior adversely.
(We’ve got no problems with either of them playing Diablo, for example, nor would we care if either showed an interest in AD&D or whatever. We wouldn’t let them onto a MUD (not that they’ve shown interest) simply because we’ve seen too many teens being immature and spoiling the game for other people. Being reasonably well mannered and intelligent, they probably wouldn’t…but that’s beside the point. Dragonball Z did get canned for the youngest because he would try, on occasion, to mimic the smart-ass way the kids acted on the program. After a belt to the butt reminded him that neither his father nor I were the brainless prats of parents portrayed on the program, nor would we accept that type of behavior, the program got canned until such time as he could recognize that that was not a good role model for behavior. BTW, he’s 12, and fresh to us from a mom who didn’t bother to follow-through nor monitor what he did at her home. He’ll come around. But how many parents actually turn off the TV when it means that they have to make sure the kid has something to do for an hour?)
What hacks me off about the concept of the video games/RPG’s/tv shows/movies/internet websites etc. being blamed for all this is that inevitably, the move comes to censor these things for all, thus hurting those of us with the initiative to get off our rumps and not only pay attention to what our children are doing, but teach them manners and respect as well. To which I say, ballocks and bullshit. Don’t punish everyone just because some people are too damn lazy to raise the children they brought into this world.