"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." -Richard Dawkins

Friday, March 6, 2009

Humanity Finding a Foothold.

I just stumbled across an article online about one father's ultimatum pertaining to his thirteen year old son playing Call of Duty. A lot of parents are of the strict opinion that video games are too horrendously violent, and while I have been known to tell Zack to turn off Grand Theft Auto when Ro's in the room, we generally aren't people who think that games are going to make our daughter have a sudden interest in going to shoot up her school.

We're gamers ourselves, Mario, Luigi and I have a long standing relationship, I dream about Tetris (really, I mean it,) my SNES is where I got my start with digital art and I have a level 78 Warrior in World of Warcraft. It's not realistic to say that our child won't be interested by video games when she's surrounded by them every day.

So this father, a typically highly intelligent free-thinking Canadian (I've never met one who isn't.) Told his son that he could play Call of Duty (an innately violent World War II sniper game) so long as he followed the Geneva Conventions.

... You heard me.

"This is the 21st century and [video games are] a part of the universe we live in now. They're not going to go away, and they'll overwhelm us if we surrender our morals," says Mr. Spencer, a 52-year-old museum consultant. "I wanted to make sure he was playing on the good guys' side. And if he's not, he has to stop."
Considered to be the pillars of international human-rights law, the Geneva Conventions are a collection of four treaties mainly concerning the treatment of non-combatants and prisoners of war. The First Convention, which says soldiers must care for the sick and wounded regardless of what side they're on, can certainly be applied in Call of Duty, in which moral issues often arise, Mr. Spencer says. [His son] agrees. If he shoots one of his captured soldiers, he tends to feel bad about it. Often his friends don't.

I'm intrigued and amazed by this example of parenting, and the response from the child. Not only are the parents smart enough to have even thought this far ahead in the first place, but the son is open minded and kind enough to go along with it. Introducing morals and thought into what could easily become a mindless and immoral situation- real or digital- can be huge for a child at that impressionable age.

I am inspired and impressed and plan to remember this for a long time to come.

(The original article, Art of Playing Nice, can be found here.)

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