“Preventing Desensitization Through Sensitization” or “GTA Continues to Drive Video Game Violence Dialogue”
Why is it that every time you hear about violence in the context of video games, Grand Theft Auto manages to rear its head without fail. It is almost as if the internet gods have eternally linked the GTA franchise with the concept of violence as a result of video games.
The Guardian, which has suddenly become my top source for all manner of bizarre video game related news, reports that primary school children between the ages of nine and eleven are being shown images of a violent persuasion from the Grand Theft Auto series, in an effort to prevent them from turning violent. The objective is to prevent the prevent desensitization from violence.
The children have to categorize images into “good real life”, “bad real life” and “not real” categories. The goal here is to provide a disconnect from the violence they witness on TV and in video games and categorize them as detached from reality. Seems like an interesting concept, until you realize that these kids are being kept from getting desensitized by sensitizing them to images of violence, which, one might argue, is a tad counter-intuitive.
Love it or hate it, Grand Theft Auto inevitably continues to shape the dialogue around violence and freedom of expression in (R-rated) video games.