With the ever-expanding use of technology by our children, such hearings are critical. We must determine if Moore and other murderers like him are anomalies or if ultra violent video games dangerously warp the psyches of our youth. Those tempted to scoff at the connection between video games and behavior should bear a couple of things in mind. First, video games are not passive or spectator media. While playing the game, teenage boys and young men, the largest users of video games, actually become the characters who cut up their victims with chainsaws, set them on fire, or chop off their heads.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Carll of the American Psychological Association (who also will testify tomorrow), this active participation enhances the “learning” experience. And video games are often played repeatedly for hours on end -- so, hour after hour, teens playing games such as Grand Theft Auto “learn” how to kill police officers and earn points for their barbarianism.
The second fact to keep in mind is that teenagers’ brains are still developing and are extremely impressionable. The parents of teens hardly need reminding that for all their joys, teens often lack judgment, critical thinking skills and foresight.
Some are better than others, yes, but many (like Moore) are startlingly deficient. In short: Put a “murder simulator” in their hands, and you just might be asking for trouble. But don’t put words in my mouth – I am not saying that every kid that plays a violent video game will become a criminal.
And as a staunch conservative who believes that “the government that governs least governs best,” I’m not advocating a plethora of laws that may have a chilling effect on free speech. I do, however, recognize that it is sometimes necessary to provide special protections for minors from harmful materials - take pornography and alcohol, for example. As a mother, I also believe that our nation must examine how the products of our toxic culture affect the civility and safety of our children and of our society. We owe it to the students who died at Columbine; we owe it to Devin Moore’s victims; we owe it to our own children.
But armed with the truth, and a God-given mandate to train our own children, we must never depend on government to take care of our kids or raise them. Parents must wake up to the fact that our nation’s boys are being used and manipulated by an industry making billions of dollars by warping their minds. As I outline in my book, Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That’s Gone Stark Raving Mad, it doesn’t take an act of Congress to take back your home -- it takes active, loving, informed parenting. It takes setting boundaries and sticking with them. It takes understanding our kids, and understanding that our kids need us to guide them. Senator Brownback is taking a bold step and doing his job as an elected official in exploring the effects of video game violence - it's up to parents to use the information to protect our sons and our society.