Should parents be worried about their children playing GTA V? – David Blakemore

Not related to coursework, but with media theories and explanations, should parents really be worried and strict when it comes to letting their children play GTA V?

throughout the media, it has been led to believe that Grand Theft Auto games lead to violent and aggressive behavior from their children, however that is true if you believe that the hypodermic needle theory is true and that it effects the mind of every child playing the game.

The hypodermic needle theory implies that mass media had a direct and powerful effect on audiences, this suggests that audiences are passive and highly influenced by the messages shown within the media text.

If you were to apply the hypodermic needle theory to Grand Theft Auto games, it would suggest that if the audience were to kill hookers and run around shooting people for their entertainment, then this would been seen as acceptable for the audience to then go around in real life, pick up hookers, then shoot them dead, well how many of your friends that play Grand Theft Auto do this?

I believe that the audience is no longer passive and the hypodermic needle theory is not effective within modern society, i also believe that the search for simulated violence is part of the uses and gratifications theory, it is in our interests to search for entertainment in the form of violence, simply because it is socially unacceptable and the law to be violent in public, Grand Theft Auto simulates desires the audience cannot by law to re-create.

However, post-modernism would suggest that reality is only definable in terms of the reflections of that mirror. This means that it is no longer a question of distortion since the term implies that there is a reality within the game, outside the surface simulations of the media, which can be distorted, therefore if young children would start to copy and represent a distorted reality therefore being influenced by a fake reality that is being portrayed within Grand Theft Auto and this leads to a hyperreality being created.

This then leads to Pure reality being replaced by a hyperreal where boundaries between the real and imaginary can be eroded, therefore young children may see this violent and aggravated world as the ‘norm’.

However, primary socialisation plays a key role on what influences a child as they grow up, primary socialisation is is the acceptance and learning of a set of norms and values established through the process of socialisation, traditionally through the family. This leads me to believe that if the parent/parents of the family socialised their children into accepting the norms and values of society successfully, would the young children be able to be manipulated into a hyperreality, although Marxists would argue that these norms and values create global hegemony, but that’s a whole different argument.

Overall, i believe that parents should not be to worried about their children playing the new Grand Theft Auto, as long as they know that their children know the boundaries between what is real and what is fake.

However, i am not encouraging parents to rush out and buy their 12 year old sons and daughters the latest in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, it has a 18 certificate for a reason, due to pretty much everything in the game (e.g. violence, drugs, etc.) therefore, i would not recommend any young children and teens to play the game as they are still seen as subjective to certain media text.

David Blakemore


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