Every loyal reader should remember my co-worker Lenny, Star Trek
geek and recently discovered Microsquish millionaire
. He had an interesting weekend, it seems. His friend (whom I shall dub "Alf," or "Another Lenny Friend") came over with his son for a visit. In the course of yakking and general catching up, Alf noted that Lenny's Boy (13 years old) shouldn't be playing World of Warcraft
, since it was a "bad influence."
If you ever want to wind up a parent, just question his or her rearing decisions. Lenny, avid WoW
player himself, wished to know the logic behind Alf's proclamation. "Too violent" was the best Alf offered.
Okay, said Lenny to Alf, your son (8 years old) plays video games as well. What is he allowed to play? This list proved intriguing, coming from a guy who just slammed WoW
: Splinter Cell
, (several other First Person Shooters with which I am not familiar), and, of course, games in the Grand Theft Auto
So you're saying, continues Lenny, that Alf's Boy is better adjusted because Lenny's Boy plays WoW
? That Alf's Boy is better able to resist violence and violent actions?
Yes, says Alf.
So they decide to prove it. Though steeped in redneck land, Lenny's place does not suffer from a dearth of tech toys. While the boys were playing outside, they rigged a webcam to Lenny's living room computer. They then brought out Lenny's weapons, the full arsenal. To attract the WoW
in Lenny's Boy, they laid on the couch Lenny's Klingon Bat'leth, two Highlander-styled samurai swords, and a crossbow (without bolts). For the GTA
kid, they added the shotgun
, a 30/30 rifle, and Lenny's stainless Colt .45 automatic
. All the firearms were unloaded, the ammo stored safely away. Then they called the boys in to the house and went down to the garage and watched the boys via the webcam.
For a good ten minutes, nothing much happened. Lenny's Boy logged onto WoW
to show Alf's Boy his characters. After a while watching this, Alf's Boy gravitated to the couch and all the goodies. Alf's Boy picked up the .45.
"You better not touch that," said Lenny's Boy, "That's Dad's gun!"
"Why not?" said Alf's Boy, "It's just a toy."
The experiment was ended. Dads came upstairs. I imagine there was a bit of discipline meted.It's just a toy.
I grew up in a house stacked with firearms. I was taught at a very young age that they go boom, can do a lot of damage and they are alwasy
loaded. By stark contrast, Alf's Boy plays GTA
quite a bit, and other than the semi-automatic assault weapons available in the game, his favorite is the stainless automatic handgun. To him, a boy who had never picked up a real gun, they were all just toys.