The head of the Tom Green County, Texas Juvenile Probation Dept. thinks that video games, music, and the general culture of entertainment are influencing children in negative ways. Mark Williams, the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer for Tom Green County, shared his insights into what he believes is influencing kids to break the law recently at the San Angelo Rotary Club. His speech was detailed at length by San Angelo Live.
Williams, who has been working in the system for 28 years, touched on some things outside of entertainment that are affecting children including broken homes and broken families in Tom Green County, but he put most of the blame on entertainment.
“The kids that come to us [do so] because they don’t have enough self-confidence, and something or somebody’s negatively influenced them." The kids are easily influenced by negative aspects of our culture because, "they need to feel better about themselves,” Williams said.
Williams noted that "rap music and violent video games" are not the same music and entertainment the middle-aged audience he was speaking to grew up with.
“Rap music is all about hate, violence, total disrespect for women, sexual promiscuity… We just let this happen. We idolize these people [rap musicians]. But these kids I see, they really idolize these people,” Williams said. “They listen to that stuff [rap music] and there’s no doubt in my mind that it has an influence on their lives.”
But he had harsher words for today's video games.
“As the body becomes physiologically accustomed to a little lift from a gateway drug, the person graduates to harder drugs,” Williams said, “I see video games as something where once the thrill of playing a video game is gone, what’s the next step?”
Williams believes that next step is to act out in real life.
Williams also took the time to list the games "kids are playing today" including Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty, Postal 2, Postal 3, and Grand Theft Auto V. At least he mentioned two games that teens might actually be playing…
On GTA V, he said:
“The whole focus of the game is stealing vehicles. But it’s not only about stealing vehicles. If you want to, part of the game play scenarios contain the opportunity to go to a strip club and get a lap dance. And these games are not cartoons. The computer-animated characters almost look like real people in movies.”
He went on to suggest that the realism in the game is "sexually arousing" to teenage males and that "every successive version of GTA gets more and more like real life."
You can read Williams' comments about the other games listed here.
It should be noted that Williams did not cite a single case he had been involved in over the last 28 years where there was a correlation between playing video games and a crime being committed by a juvenile offender.
Source: San Angelo Live