Forum: Arts / Debates

Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By Sumayah
On Tue Mar 09, 2010 08:37 PM
Edited by Sumayah (204191) on 2010-03-09 20:38:39

www.tennessean.com . . .

A 3 year old shoots and kills herself after picking up a handgun daddy left on the table. The article mentions her previously playing a Wii game that involved a gun peripheral.

Here are follow up articles from Kotaku:
(original article)
kotaku.com . . .
(follow-up)
kotaku.com . . .

So, in my opinion, the 3 year old a) shouldn't have been been playing a video game that requires a gun and b) WHAT THE [EXPLETIVE] WAS THE STEPFATHER THINKING!?!?!?!

The articles raise the question, does the video game community, Nintendo and the Chinese company who made the realistic gun particularly, hold any responsibility? Because it certainly sounds like the stepfather is trying to shift blame from his negligence to the fact that the little girl associated a toy gun with a real gun.

My opinion is that, obviously, the parents brought the toy, lifelike in color and style into their house and let their daughter play with it all the while knowing they had a similar real weapon in their household. Blaming the video game community really doesn't change the fact that the parents suffered a lapse in judgment in the first place.

What's your opinion? Would this horrible tragedy have happened if the girl wasn't already familiar with the gun peripheral? Does the fact that games use such a stylized type gun add to the problem? Obviously the stepfather is to blame for leaving a loaded gun with no safety in easy access of a three year old, but does he have any justification in palming some of the blame off on video games?

14 Replies to Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games

re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Mar 09, 2010 08:45 PM
I side with the first Kotaku article, regardless. The Wii should not even have been mentioned. A GUN WAS LEFT WITHIN THE REACH OF THREE-YEAR-OLD. WITH HER MOTHER A FEW FEET AWAY. Pure negligence. That's it. Period. End of story.
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By Brittanymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Mar 09, 2010 09:01 PM
Duck Hunt used a gun and I'm pretty sure I hunted me some ducks on nintendo when I was 3 or 4. I don't think that's the problem.

I'm with Heart, it all comes down to the fact that HELLO! Let's not leave a gun on a low table (or anywhere in the open!) where a 3 year old can get to it.
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By Sumayah
On Tue Mar 09, 2010 09:23 PM
No, I completely agree. Actually I hope both parents are criminally charged and punished for her death.

However, the Duck Hunt light gun (which I too played with all the freakin' time) had a cord on it and was very obviously not a real gun.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.racketboy.com/retro/lightgun1.jpg'

Which the bright orange helps show it is a toy, and not real. Pretty sure the one we had was the grey one, but honestly I don't remember the safety orange trigger, I remember mine being black. :/

The toy wii gun pictured in the story was wireless and very much more real in shape and size.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.haihonggames.com/products/UploadProductPic/20091161682541.jpg'

Much, much different from the current Wii gun peripheral I own.

Image hotlink - 'http://omgnintendo.blogfaction.com/global/radar/blog_images/66874-7.jpg'

And definitely lacking the safety orange "I'm not real" signifier of other gun toys.

Concerning the fact that she was allowed to play a game involving a light gun, none are quite so innocent as Duck Hunt:

Wikipedia wrote:

Wii
Main article: Wii Zapper

Noted that many FPS games and shooting games on Wii utilize the Wii Remote for aiming and shooting in the style of light gun games. Thus, this section will only include games that explicitly support Wii Zapper and/or rail shooter in nature. Party games that also have shooting sections are also included, but typically these do not have zapper support. Virtual Console NES Ports, such as Operation Wolf[10] have thus far not included any amount of light gun support.

Games that have Wii Zapper support (may not be on rail)

* Call of Duty: World at War[11]
* Ghost Squad (2007)[12]
* The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return[13]
* The House of the Dead: Overkill
* Jurassic: The Hunted
* Link's Crossbow Training (bundled with Wii Zapper[14])
* Mad Dog McCree: Gunslinger Pack
* Medal of Honor: Heroes 2
* Nerf N-Strike[15]
* North American Hunting Extravaganza
* Quantum of Solace
* Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
* Target: Terror (April 22, 2008)[16]
* Wild West Guns (August 4, 2008)
* Dead Space: Extraction
* Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles

Party Games with rail shooter/shooting gallery sections

* Boom Blox
* Boom Blox Bash Party
* Carnival Games
* Rayman Raving Rabbids
* Rayman Raving Rabbids 2
* Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party
* Wii Play


Because I serious doubt stepdad bought the lifelike gun to play Rayman Raving Rabbids. Just sayin'. I mean maybe I could see her playing Nerf N-Strike, but really, keep the gun like one for you to play Call of Duty after the little one has gone to bed and if the child is playing a game with light gun properties, then give her the less identifiably gun shaped peripheral.

Regardless, I think it was wholly irresponsible on the parents part and I really hope they are charged with some sort of manslaughter for it. I do agree though that the toy gun in question is far too lifelike and I can see how how if that is what the child was used to handling, how she might unknowingly reach for daddy's real gun (left on the coffee table... the COFFEE TABLE!!!! GRRRRRRR MAKES ME SO MAD!!!). Anyways.
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By Ayokamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:57 PM
I'm pretty sure kids have been accidentally shooting themselves, and each other, since long before video games were around. I don't see how there can possibly be an argument made against the game here. This is just a tragic case of irresponsible parenting, criminally so.
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By Lauretta
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 03:48 AM
No, there's no shifting of responsibility towards the game here. And even if I played devils advocate and said that the game was partly to blame, the parents still allowed this girl to play with the game, so whichever way you look at it, the blame goes back to them.
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games (karma: 1)
By CaffeinePremium member
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 04:42 AM
This whole thing sounds too fishy for me, and the Wii gun is a red herring. Sure, it's a stupid design for a gaming accessory, but it's not the crux of the story.

If someone is used to keeping his gun locked away from the kids (and the article I read earlier said he kept it unloaded in a cabinet), then they're not exactly likely to leave it LOADED on a coffee table, "forgotten" when going to bed. Particularly if worried about an intruder. ( And unless he worked shift, surely toddler should have been in bed long before that? )

I've never handled a real gun, but I understand they're relatively heavy, and require a fair amount of force to pull the trigger - much, much more than the average Wii add-on. Is a toddler capable of exerting that amount of force and manual dexterity? What about at the awkward angle one would have one's hands if pointing the weapon at oneself (as stated in the article)?

Which brings me to another point: if this kid has been playing shoot-em-up games for days on end, then surely even the dimmest of bulbs would equate a gun as something not to point at self - even if it is a cheap plastic toy. It hurts other things for points, and if you get hurt by one, your character dies. And if this little girl was used to shooting things on the TV via the Wii - why didn't she blow the heck out of IT, not herself?

Things just don't seem to add up, but whatever actually happened, it's a terrible tragedy. :(
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games (karma: 6)
By kandykanePremium member
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 07:11 AM
*Sigh*

All right, people. Listen up.

When I was about 6 or 7, I got hold of a gun and fired it. It was a revolver, maybe a .38 special. (I don't really remember the specific type of gun.) I was small for my age, and yes, the gun was heavy and took some effort to fire the round that had a bullet in it. (The empty chambers went cick, click, just like that.) Two children were hit, a girl slightly older than myself and the 16 year old babysitter who was supposed to be watching us. Fortunately, they were only grazed, not injured seriously. The police came, ambulances, etc, and I hid in the closet after because I was terrified of what had happened. They thought I had run away.

It was a very, VERY traumatic experience for me and it is still very difficult to talk about, 40 years later. I blamed myself for years. I never got any kind of counseling. No one ever talked to me about it, after. Some years ago, my mom said she thought I didn't remember the incident. (Yeah, mom. I'm going to block out a defining experience like that.) I was old enough to know what a gun was, in theory. But not old enough to truly understand the consequences of handling one.

The point here is that I was a CHILD. I was UNDERSUPERVISED. No parents at home, a mom who was working (she had bought this gun to protect herself from my abusive father, whom she had recently divorced) and just a 16 year old babysitter watching seven wild kids, by herself. Yes, I picked up the gun to show off (I took it from a linen closet in which I KNEW it was kept) but the babysitter should have immediately TAKEN it out of my hands, instead of going "oh, you shouldn't be holding that, blah, blah, blah..." Or better yet, it should have been LOCKED UP, where young kids could not get to it. To keep them safe. Because kids don't really understand consequences til they are older.

No, we didn't have video games in those days. But we watched Gunsmoke on TV and played with cap guns and BB guns. How DARE anyone blame anyone other than the father (and other adults in the house) in this case!!

kk~
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By Wicked_Elphabamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:34 AM
The game is not to blame in any way shape or form. It's the parents fault. My dad had a gun, would show it to me and I knew to never touch it. I've never shot myself or anyone else. It's amazing what supervision can do for a kid. My dad has a couple guns, as does my boyfriend, I don't touch them unless they hand them to me after making sure they are unloaded and what not. I'm 26 years old, I know how to handle a gun safely as well as shoot it. I hope the parents face charges for neglect.
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By saor_celticmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:07 PM
I agree. The game is in no way shape or form responsible for the irresponsibility of the parents.

Regardless of how "lifelike" the wii gun is, the fact is that he left his loaded gun on a table within reach of the 3 year old. (Who does this?)While the mother was close by on her computer. The crime isn't the fault of the game, but the fault of the parents for neglect and no supervision.
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By dancingdawg
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:47 PM
Video games and guns are not the problem. I grew up with duck hunt on NES and shocker, when I was 4 went to the gun range with a real gun with my grandfather and father. I work with Boy Scouts and 4-H kids and we start 6 year olds with BB guns and 12 year olds with shotguns. I am also a NRA instructor.

Every kid in those programs is taught ad nauseum that there are 3 important rules with a firearm.

Always keep the firarm pointed in a safe direction.

Never load the firarm until ready to fire.

Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

If any one of these rules are followed, no one will get hurt. Follow all three and you are pretty darn safe. Statistically kids trained in safe fire arm use are 60-75% less likely than a kid without to use the firarm inappropriately. The Georgia High School Association oversees all high school Varsity and Junior Varsity sports in the state which includes Riflery along with Football, Basketball, Golf, Gymnastics, Cheerleading, Swimming and Diving, and several others. Do you know which sport has the lowest injury rate? Riflery! More kids get hurt playing golf than do shooting. With all of the teams in the area I shot in, other that getting sent to the office for excessive abscence or tardiness, not a singe kid got sent to the office for misbehaving. Compare that to the thugs playing basketball and football.

As far as home saftey goes, check out this site. And if the story in the OPs post touches you, you can get with them about ways to support the program. It is a great program that gives free child safety locks to gun owners that render any gun unfireable without the key.
www.projectchildsafe.org

I hate to say it and no offense to you kandykane, but any parent who leaves a loaded gun availalbe to kids is an idiot and deserves to go to jail. This is on the same level as blaming the death of an infant left in the car on a hot day to global warming.
Wii killed my daughter, it taught her guns were toys. Bullcrap!!! Anyone who leaves a small child unsupervised for more than a minute deserves to have said kids taken way from them permanently.

I do not have kids and I keep a loaded pistol in my car and in my bedroom. However, I do not have kids or have any come by. When I have them over I simply hide the ammo in a location where the child would have to really thouroughly look to find both gun and ammo.

If you are tying to keep a gun for protection get a concealed carry permit and carry the gun with you (if your state allows). Buy a lockable case or safe that you can easily open if the need for protection arises. Or keep the gun and ammo seperate and keep a lock on the gun. Place it on a closet shelf or area easily acessible to you, but very difficult for a kid to get to it. You have it locked so if they do get to it, they can't use it.
You would not leave medicine, poisonous substance, or knives in easy reach to your child, don't leave guns out either. If they see a gun and ask about it, explain that that can hurt them and to be safe they should not touch it.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Prevention and Education if everyone did this the problem would never happen again.
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By kandykanePremium member
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 02:17 PM
Edited by kandykane (157761) on 2010-03-10 14:20:11
^ No offense taken. Like I said, I blamed myself for many years. It wasn't until I was older and had kids of my own that I realized I wasn't really to blame. The adults in my life failed me. My mom was... struggling in those days. Even if she had been charged, I'm sure she would have been let off with probation. We were quite the pity case, then.

Things were different in those days and the incident was officially labeled "an accident" by the authorities. Ideas have changed about guns and kids, thank goodness. At least, I thought they had changed. Incidents like the OP posted make me wonder.

I have been accused of being overprotective of my kids, but I don't really consider that a fault, after all I went through growing up. This was not the only incident that happened because my siblings and I were undersupervised. Video games were the least of our problems.

kk~
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By dancingdawg
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 02:59 PM
Seriously though if you are goign to leave a loaded gun around, why not give the kid a box cutter, a jug of gas and lighter.

^KK, Where these the days of lead paint, no seatbelts, and doctors who smoking while pregnant? haha
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By kandykanePremium member
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 03:04 PM
^ Lol! Oh, yeah. It was indeed.

kk~
re: Appropriate Parenting v. Video Games
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Mar 10, 2010 04:02 PM
KK, thank you so much for sharing your story. I cannot imagine how hard that must be. US culture expects children to be so independent and so mature, and it's ridiculous. Children absolutely need their parents to supervise them, to regulate what they're allowed to play with, to keep them safe. Yet responsible parenting is so often referred to as overbearing, which makes me furious.

I'm pretty anti-video game in general (we had one console with a few games, but that's it...I'll probably be the same with my kids someday), but to blame it on wii is insane. Why can't people dish out blame when blame is due? A gun that is loaded and in full reach of a child, left there by the parents, is beyond irresponsible. I don't care how "mature" a child is, or how well they can handle a gun. They're a child. My mom and her siblings started hunting at a very young age, and were completely competent with a gun. However, my grandparents weren't big on risks, so the guns have always been unloaded and locked in the gun safe, with the bullets stored elsewhere. Even when their gun savvy kids were teens.

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