GTA Being Shown to Children to Keep Them From Being “Desensitized”

April 11, 2010Written by Kyle P.

Ever since the first game, the Grand Theft Auto series has come under fire for its depiction and glamorization of murder and violence. Coupled with the “Hot Coffee” incident a few years back, multiple organizations have made it their duty to bring down the popular series and to ensure that the mature level of violence never gets into the hands of children. Someone forgot to tell the educators at eight schools in Merseyside, UK, as they are actually showing off violent GTA footage to keep the school children from being “desensitized”.

The program, which is being organized by the Home Office and run by the Merseyside branch of Support After Murder and Manslaughter (SAMM), is trying to get children to understand that what they see on the screen cannot happen in real life. Gaynor Bell, who is a chair of SAMM Merseyside, called the program important, as the children used to believe the violence is “normal life”.

“They’re getting that much of it they’re desensitised. They think it’s normal life. We’re telling them this is not real, this does not go on and it should not go on.”

Paul Brooksbank, a teacher, cited the potential of this program, if it was vastly expanded.

“If implemented at these age groups across the country, it could have an outstanding impact. The fact it was peer-led allowed the children to talk through their thoughts and ideas when identifying the difference between what is good real-life and what is bad real life.”

The children were also shown Itchy & Scratchy, the classic violent cartoon found in The Simpsons. Bell continued, calling the addition of Itchy & Scratchy important to make children realize that kind of violence “doesn’t happen in real life”.

“You see one of them get hit with a hatchet, and he floats up to heaven with the big wings and come back with a plaster on his head. It’s about making the children realise this doesn’t happen in real life.”

The irony of this program is striking. Showing violence to impressionable children to show them violence is bad, is certainly a radical idea. Hopefully the program can be heavily expanded and funded so that children of all countries can realize that only violence in games is fun, not in real life.