There are a lot of things a parent can, and should, get upset about as it relates to their children, their education and things to which their kids are exposed. A lot of people were upset because of the Common Core State Standards for education that would have replaced the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in 2014. But Gov. Rick Scott recently put the brakes on those plans, so now all is wonderful in education in Florida, and tea party types can go back to sticking their heads in the sand. Seriously. Tests don’t educate our kids, and they aren’t what we should be getting worked up about as it relates to their development or education. But the tea party needed to do something to appear legitimate so it got worked up about Common Core. If there is ever something to get fired up about, or if you ever wondered why we’re raising a morally tone-dead generation of citizens, take a look at the recently released video game Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA5).
In the fifth version of GTA, players assume the role of one of three criminals, and then drive around a fictional city and commit or witness crimes including: carjacking, assault, drug use, murder, prostitution and rape. Actually the company claims the rape scene isn’t actually rape; rather, it is meant to “imply cannibalism” — because that’s so much better. The video game had sales of $800 million in its first day of release. By day five, it had broken the billion-dollar mark and is on track to become the No. 1-selling video game of all time. The game is intended for adults, but it is apparently all the rage among teenage boys who are its unspoken target audience. A mom with a 13 year-old son was over at our house last weekend and she said her son has been begging for GTA5. So she did some research on it and told him he can’t have it, and why. He kept begging for it, and she kept telling him no. At some point he frustratingly told her, “All my friends have it, mom. You’re not like other moms; they don’t read things.” And there lies the problem. Parents don’t read things, such as a description of the video game that is all the rage among their teenage boys. A quick Google search gave me all I needed to know about this game. It’s not only violent, it’s also misogynistic, with women referred to as “skanks,” and projected as being “nags.” They are also portrayed as being disposable, with one game scene allowing the player to kill a female prostitute after having sex with her so he can get his money back. Not only are there no redeeming qualities in how women are portrayed, there is nothing of value about this game at all, and teenagers should not be playing it. However, as an adult, from what I have read about GTA5, I can appreciate that it is a satire of our society, government and many of our institutions. There is even a section mocking Obamacare, saying “Thanks to recent legislation, if you receive something as harmless as a scratch or as serious as a bullet wound, any of our state-certified medical centers will patch you up and make sure the healthy (sic) bill is picked up by taxpayers.” As funny and true as that is, I’m pretty sure the societal satire will be lost on most teenage boys. Just as (hopefully), the rape and violence in the game won’t turn most of them into hardened criminals, anymore than it will turn them into big-government-loving Democrats. Grand Theft Auto 5 and the countless other games, movies and media messages our kids receive are contributing factors to who they are as individuals, and who we are as a society. As parents, we should reject these forms of “entertainment” by not allowing our kids to play or view them. Games such as GTA5 are having far more impact on our kids than something as harmless as Common Core. And that is something to get upset about. Chris Ingram is a Republican political consultant and analyst for Bay News 9. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.