Way to breed terrorists, Mom and Dad!

Way to breed terrorists, Mom and Dad!

Do four-year-olds really need to play violent video games?

This past Wednesday was not nearly as crowded, and therefore unbearable, as our first week at my daughter’s gymnastics studio. We were actually able to find a spot to park it where we could really watch her, and though I was pleased that she was having a good time (she smiled the whole time, even when she struggled with certain moves), there were plenty of things that still irritated me—from the surrounding parents and their cruelty toward their own children (one mom kept flicking her little girl, who had to be younger than three, in the mouth for spitting on her!) to the examples of why we have such violence in our culture.

A little boy who looked about four—he was definitely much younger than my six-year-old—sat down next to us playing some sort of video game. I think it was on his mom’s phone, but I didn’t get a good look and I’m not familiar with most game systems. The game this kid was playing wasn’t flying fruit or Angry Birds or Spongebob; it was a violent Lego game that involved shooting everyone in sight. It even included blood spatter to make it look more authentic.

Really, Mom and Dad? This is what you give your four-year-old, who certainly doesn’t need these images in his mind? This is what you provide as entertainment, even as studies show that violent video games alter brain function in boys, even as bullying is rampant in this country and the world’s not getting any more peaceful from our part? Are you trying to raise a terrorist, folks?

Surveying this room of people—parents who ignored their kids to play on their own cell phones as said children dangerously perched on the bars of the mezzanine viewing area or the stairs or the bleachers, falling and being told by distracted parents as they cried, “See, told you not to do that;” the flicking mom, the violent video game kid, and everyone else in the room—I tried not to feel judgmental (even as I could feel their fat-hating judgment from afar, as I always can; we all have something to judge, don’t we?). I tried to remind myself that everyone is doing the best they can with what they know, that I don’t know any of them personally and have no idea what they are going through.

But then I just turned to my husband and said helplessly, “This is why we’ve stopped evolving.”