Online Gaming has Gotten Scary

My daughter was searching for kid-friendly free online games tonight. She came across one named Short Bus Rampage. The description of the game is as follows:

Drive over and murder all the school children as you get your own back on them for bullying you! Drive over them all and then out of the scene by the time the timer runs out or the police’ll be on you! Good luck killing all the bullies!

She showed it to me, and said “Mommy, this just isn’t right”.

Not “Right”? You’re damn straight it isn’t right. Who in their right mind thinks it’s ok to have a free kids’ game where the child is encouraged to kill others? Some people may argue “but it’s only a game!”. ONLY a game? Right. And Columbine was “only a game”. Georgia Tech was “only a game”. Shall I continue?

Do I honestly feel that video games in any capacity will lead kids to shooting sprees? Not necessarily, no. However, I DO feel that games like these send the message to kids that it’s funny, and ok to want to kill bullies or others in their school. It shows them that they are allowed to have these feelings, and express them. Instead, kids should be encouraged to talk to a trusted adult about things like this, and learn how to properly resolve them. Why the HELL would I want my child to learn that it’s a barrel full of laughs to use a bus to run over your enemies? That’s just insane.

Instead of a game like this, why can’t we come up with one that teaches kids manners? Why not show them how to deal with conflicts in a civilized manner? Heck, maybe… just maybe… we could even teach them how to get along with others!

We sit and wonder “how can this happen?”. We say to ourselves “MY child would never do that”. We pretend it doesn’t really exist.

The sad reality is that it COULD be your child. It CAN happen in your community. You, as a parent, have the power to help stop it. Know what your children are really doing. Talk to them… REALLY talk to them. Become involved in your child’s school life. Set boundaries… and follow through on enforcement. Being an active parent can and will go a long way towards making sure that your child grows up happy, healthy and well-adjusted.

Do us all a favor: keep your child away from negative influences such as games like these.