More often than not, video games often get the blame for some pretty messed up stuff, from shootings to murder, they’ve been in the firing line for the lot. Now it appears the group Change Incorporated is blaming games for an uprise in the number of underage children smoking cigarettes and drinking. While that in itself is rather stupid, I would personally like to know, where they got their stats from, because they list both GTA V and GTA VI as the most popular games that featured the most smoking and drinking. Ok so maybe GTA V features a lot of smoking and drinking but given that GTA VI doesn’t exist yet, I feel that they might be getting ahead of themselves a bit, or they have traveled to the future and seen GTA VI in all its glory. Ok, I should probably be a bit nice, the inclusion of GTA VI in the below Facebook post is most likely a typo, a stupid one at that.
The main point here, is that yet again, video games are getting the blame for something trivial. Smoking is something most kids will witness their adult peers doing and their friends, heck when I was at secondary school over 10 years ago, kids from year 7 onwards were smoking every play time and most of them started the habit after seeing their friends do it.
I had a read of their article out of curiosity and all of the games they mention are 18 plus games, meaning technically they’re for adults, so if kids are allowed access to these games, where do we put the blame? I grew up as a young kid playing GTA games and have never smoked or gone and out and ran over prostitutes.
One particular game they make reference to is Red Dead Redemption II and its use of smoking in Arthur’s character abilities. To fill your Dead Eye Meter, there are a number of things you can do including chewing and smoking tobacco. A meaningless reference, given the fact that any kid who accesses this game, is a) doing it after an adult purchased it for them and b) going to be more invested in the goings on, rather than something that you literally do for a few seconds at a time. They make the argument that this is encouraging kids to smoke to gain desired results, but if that’s the case, why aren’t anti-smoking cancer photos on cig packets scaring them with their undesired results?
Smoking is bad for you and I do agree too many kids are doing it these days, but I will not sit here listening to the same old ”video games cause…insert bad thing here” rhetoric the media and companies like this try to shove down our throats on a regular basis. Underage smoking has been going on long before the rise of video games and the majority of kids smoking these days are more likely to have witnessed it day in day out from people around them, rather than a quick 5-second scene in a video game.
If you care to read the drivel spewed out, you can check it out here.