It’s not a Super Mario Brothers and Pac-Man type of world anymore.
Disturbing images and amounts of violence. Porn. Child Predators. This is today’s online gaming world. This is what your children have access to.
Today’s games offer a far different experience for the child and are even more popular than ever. To be sure, online games have become so mainstream in our society that they seem to be a normal part of a child’s life growing up in the 21st century. In today’s digital market, online gaming posts billions of dollars in sales each year, and is one of the largest industries targeted towards entertaining children. While many games today offer educational opportunities and light-hearted experiences, there are an increasing number of games that offer negative, unhealthy, and harmful experiences for the child user.
Today’s game can be easily downloaded onto a computer, laptop, cell phone, or any number of online devices, and can be done so with a minimum cost to the user. With the click of a button, a child can readily have access to thousands of online games, many times without the knowledge of a parent. To be sure, there are those games that you do not wish for your child to play, or to have access to. Yet, in today’s digital age, these games are easy to come by, and chances are likely that if your child is of school age, the child is either playing such a game or has already been exposed to one.
Children today have access to a much more realistic game scenario in the form of countless video games that showcase violence. To be sure, these games are life like in their depictions of death and are much more engaging for the player, as they score points for levels of aggression and violence committed. Studies have shown that playing such games leads to higher levels of aggressive beliefs and attitudes, aggressive cognition, and psychological arousal than those games that offer non-violent stimulation. According to one study, over half of the adolescent population in the United States plays violent video or online games on a regular basis. Indeed, five of the top ten most frequently played games encourage violent activities. Indeed, for those children who have not been taught moral lessons in life, violent games are especially risky for them, as they do not teach the moral consequences of their actions while playing online.
For those children who are easily influenced by outside forces, these video games pose a serious threat to all involved. Furthermore, there are those games you, as a parent, may simply not wish the children in your home to play, as they do not represent the values or morals that you embrace in your own home, or wish to pass along to others.
Along with those video games that freely offer and encourage violence are those that offer and encourage sex. As our society has become rather sexualized, with the glorification of sex spreading all throughout our media, it should come as no surprise that the video game market has embraced it, as well. With today’s games, it is difficult to determine if the images on the screen are actual human beings, or graphics; so realistic are the images, and so advanced is the technology. Today, the internet has given sexually oriented video games more recognition and availability, thus helping these games to become more mainstream in the process. Without a doubt, a child searching online can quickly, and with little difficulty, find nudity and sex in video games, doing so without the parents’ knowledge or their permission. Pedophilia is also accessible in today’s video games, as well. Indeed, your children have access to games that involve having sex with minors, with children their own age, and in images that are realistic, graphic, and disturbing.
Perhaps even more disturbing is that child sex predators that are waiting online to meet your child. Shawn Henry, former Executive Assistant Director at the FBI estimated there are 750,000 child predators online at any one time. These child sex predators are waiting to reach and make contact with your child, forming a relationship with them in order to lure them in to their web of danger. As online games and apps are popular with children, they have also become popular with these predators, as they pretend to be simply another child playing online. Through online gaming platforms and chat rooms, as well as apps, Youtube, Netflix, PlayStation and gaming consoles, child sex predators can and will find your children. To be sure, sexual predators are using these online gaming platforms to connect with your child, develop a relationship with them, as they target their next victim; your child.
Once again, do you know what online game your child is playing? Do you know what your child is being exposed to through online games? More importantly, do you know WHO your child is playing these games with?
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