- Posted August 15, 2014 by
Swedish Dad takes kids to warzone. Quality life lessons?
If you have nieces or nephews, it's natural to feel a little bit on the sidelines when watching someone get raised. It's rare to have a direct impact on anything they learn or the people they see. This is also the same for activities, and as video games are becoming today's pop culture, there's a paradigm shift. The question no longer exists if, do you play video games, but which video games do you play? Whether it is candy crush on the metro to work, another mobile title, console or PC, everyone has a scene. For many, this scene is the FPS genre, or first person shooters. You're pretty hard pressed to come across an FPS that isn't either M rated or cartoony with its graphics and even sometimes both. There are a lot of misconceptions about gaming and violence and the correlations between the two. A lot of research has been done on both spectrums "proving" that certain violent actions in games can cause violent actions in real life. It wouldn't be too large of a challenge to postulate which side of that coin Carl-Magnus Helgegren lands on. He's the Swedish dad who took his two young gamer kids to Israel to give them a firsthand glimpse of a warzone. While they spent 10 days on a trip, it wasn't a vacation. The response that Helgegren received really wasn't pleasant either. He wouldn't have been as open about the trip and what he was trying to accomplish if he had known he'd be attacked by a pack of rabid wolves on the internet. Helgegren is also a university teacher and journalist so it's clear that the his intentions were of a didactic nature, rather than a malefic one, and he told his kids that only after seeing the effects of real war could they continue to play a game that is known for its screaming teenagers despite flaunting the rated M sticker, Call of Duty. What started this? Undoubtedly the depictions Helgegren saw and the worry of an impact on his children’s' psyche. It's a fair question, how would my children feel after seeing a real warzone? At the end of the trip, they didn't feel like playing Call of Duty anymore, but that's not where the attention is. Many are livid at Helgegren for even suggesting this trip. Is it so horrible to show your children what's really going on in the world? Having an out of country experience to witness the happenings that are affecting the lives of people normally out of your visual and cognitive reach can't be anything but informative, but was Helgegren's heart in the right spot? It's easy to note that there's millions of adolescence who are under a rock and have no clue what's going on in neighboring countries and probably not even their own. How many children would you postulate had no clue what 9/11 actually meant? Middle school and younger probably had no concept of what was going on and still thought the biggest problem was some kind of drama in their tiny social circle.
But what is the lesson Helgegren wanted to prove? Christopher J. Ferguson of TIME doesn't think video games are doing harm, and posits that it's the person and their upbringing that ultimately have the larger effect. If it was solely video games causing school shootings, why have there been tragedies in every culture of every country of every age of man since the beginning? This is neither the time nor the place for a debate on whether or not humans are inherently evil, but what Helgegren set out to accomplish, may have been on the wrong foot with a bias against video games, and Call of Duty in his sights. Why does the public eye view a literal crowbar through the face on shows like The Walking Dead okay (because it was a zombie?), yet if you show an exposed breast (even in the most tame or artistic fashion) it switches to, "oh my god cover your eyes, kids" with allegations of child corruption and people get up in arms. So why is it the exact seemingly the exact opposite in video games? The majority either enjoy or don't even flinch to the over sexualization of women in video games, and violence is the enemy. It's rarer today to see nudity in most big games, though it exists, sure. Even explicit sexualization in The Sims is admissible. For example, it's a rated T game and they can cover it with laughs and cute animations all they want, but your sims are having sex in that bed because you told them to. Helgegren wanted to teach his kids, and video games were just in the crossfire.