Here’s a fact you may not know. The very popular war simulation games our kids and teens love to play and beg us to buy for them despite the intensity and violence are created by the same groups who make the US Department of Defense’s simulation programs for our soldiers.
Here’s an example.
Arma 2 is a very popular military game by Bohemia Interactive. Here’s a couple screen shots from their site:
Virtual Battlefield Simulation 2, or VBS2, the current military program used by the DOD, is also made by Bohemia Interative. Here’s a couple screen shots from the site:
Note the similarity of graphics, appearance of soldiers, background. I didn’t want to pick anything too graphic for this blog but if you do a search online you can find some fairly intense shots of both games with wounded soldiers. These are not games for the faint of heart. But, we wouldn’t expect them to be. VBS2 is intended to train the military for everything from missions to medical rescue to actual combat desensitization. Given the developers are the same, it’s not a huge leap that the commercial game isn’t that much different. In fact, soldiers who have played Arma 2 and other games such as Call of Duty have found them eerily realistic.
Keep in mind that the military uses these games in a planned way with trained professionals to help the soldiers deal with their reactions. When our kids play these games, they just sit there with their reactions which is what creates the harm.
Angry Birds is a game. Cut the Rope is a game. Arma 2 isn’t a game – it’s a military training program commercialized at our kids expense. That’s truly the bottom line. This is one of those times we have to just be parents and say “no”.
If you want to learn more about the impact of media violence on our kids, click here.