Summary of the Argument
The author uses the argument of the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, to heap the blame on makers of violent video games by pointing out that the video games are solely to blame for real violence in the society (Whitehead).
According to the governor, it is the role of the state to assist parents in bringing up kids and one of the best ways is to outlaw the selling of excessively or sexually explicit video games to under age children (Whitehead). The governor agrees that as much as the parents have the basic role of the parent to impart ethics on their children, the state should complement such efforts (Whitehead).
The governor insists that kids have a right to play as kids but unfortunately, the entertainment industry waters down efforts to bring up outstanding men and women in the society through manufacture and sale of inappropriate video games to the kids (Whitehead).
He refers to gangland assassins, a video game that shows gang warfare and killing of prostitutes. Another video game teaches kids to aim at the head of President Kennedy by aping the position of Lee Harvey Oswald as the motorcade passes by (Whitehead).
The retailers of such games are diametrically opposed to such efforts and instead believe it is up to the parents to vet what their kids buy or watch (Whitehead). They hide under the banner of the free economy of giving and take at one’s pleasure. The entrepreneurs have to survive just like any other citizen or so the argument implies.
Critique of the Author’s Argument
The existence of a state agency that ought to deal with video game content but fails in its role is a pointer to inefficiency in the government and most probably due to corruption (Whitehead).
The government that licenses manufacturing and distribution of such video games should be fully aware of the intended content or the current content as it has the ability to do so. The government should, therefore, play its role of vetting the contents since outlawing licensed enterprises would only result in endless lawsuits.
As much as the governor warns against the video games, the retailers are right when they insist that parents must scrutinize the video games (Whitehead). Each parent must monitor their kids’ activities and encourage them to balance their lives with other games, both indoors and outdoors. When parents soothe their kids so much, that alone and not the video games can contribute to violent behavior.
When the author says that such control or vetting by the parents is not possible in the current era of portable devices, it exposes the reluctance in parents to talk to their kids on issues (Whitehead). It is not controlled alone that parents can do; they should explain to their kids why watching such games is not beneficial to them in the long run.
Parents who fear to instill discipline in their kids for fear of hatred from their kids have no one to blame but themselves. A kid who lacks discipline is likely to indulge in bad behavior even without gadgets like video games. Kids who have never had access to video games are not saints. The parent should be a role model.
In conclusion, the manufacturers must continue with their business, the parents must play their roles and the government must enforce regulations. No one will lay blame on each other.
Whitehead, Barbara Dafoe.”Parents Need Help: Restricting Access to Video Games”. Commonweal 132.2 (2005).